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China, once officially atheist, now booming with religion

Many religious practices now take place in China, which was once officially athiest. Screenshot from “The Souls of China” video

DAVIS, Calif. (RNS) When Ian Johnson first went to China as a student three decades ago, he pronounced religion there “dead.”

But Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist now based in Berlin and Beijing, has witnessed a transformation, one he documents in “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao,” published in April.

China is experiencing “one of the great religious revivals of our time,” Johnson writes. “Across China, hundreds of temples, mosques and churches open each year, attracting millions of new worshippers. … Faith and values are returning to the center of a national discussion over how to organize Chinese life.

“This is not,” he continues, “the China we used to know.”

No, it is not. Once officially atheist, China has roared with growth since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. The upheaval of mass migrations from the countryside to the cities has disrupted families and support systems. Many have grown distrustful of the government since the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Globalization has brought outside influences — despite tight governmental control — through the internet and popular culture.

The result, Johnson said, is a society adrift, confused and looking for mooring.

Author Ian Johnson. Photo courtesy of Sim Chi Yin

In the new China, “churches and religious societies provide a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of being in a group of people who share your values,” Johnson said between bites of carrot cake at an outdoor campus cafe before talking to a group at the University of California, Davis.

“Chinese people perceive society to be so corrupt and so chaotic, without any center of gravity or morality,” he said. “Religious associations are refuges from the radical secular society they find themselves in.”

As one person Johnson interviews in the book says: “We thought we were unhappy because we were poor. But now a lot of us aren’t poor anymore, and yet we’re still unhappy. We realize there’s something missing and that’s a spiritual life.”

That has not always been true. At the end of the 19th century, there were 1 million temples in China and religion flavored every aspect of public and private life. Mao destroyed half of the country’s temples. Religion — what was left — went underground.

“The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao” by Ian Johnson. Image courtesy of Knopf Doubleday

A 2015 WIN/Gallup poll found China to be the least religious country in the world, with atheists making up 61 percent of the population. Only 7 percent said they were religious.

But, as Johnson writes, Western pollsters often botch their Chinese numbers. Because religion is so highly politicized in China, most Chinese respond “no” when asked if they adhere to one. Instead, when questions focus on religious behaviors — do you attend a church or believe in heaven? — the level of religiosity rises.

A 2005 survey conducted by a Chinese university found that 31 percent of the population — about 300 million people — are religious. Two-thirds of those are Buddhists, Daoists or members of other folk religions, while 40 million people said they are Christian.

In the book, Johnson experiences the ongoing revival firsthand. An Episcopalian, he attends church with Protestants in Chengdu, participates in Daoist ceremonies in Shanxi and travels with Beijing Buddhists to meditate in caves.

Critics have been generally rapturous, citing his reporter’s eye and writer’s patience in illustrating China’s journey from underground “house churches” to open religious revivals in the space of about 35 years.

“I think what Ian conveys is the diversity of religious beliefs that are being revived,” said Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a University of California, Irvine, professor of history who specializes in China and appeared with Johnson at the Davis talk. “He does ethnographic work — getting to know people who practice these beliefs, where an academic would probably just specialize in one of the traditions.”

But the boom has its limits. The Chinese government recognizes only five faiths — Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. And it still bans Falun Gong, the suppression of which Johnson reported on for The Wall Street Journal, coverage that earned him a Pulitzer. There are state-run churches led by clergy in the government’s employ who give government-sanctioned sermons. Other houses of worship are monitored — one of the most chilling segments of Johnson’s book describes a Christmas Eve service with government agents watching from the back.

Still, the recovery from the time of Mao is significant. Johnson likens it to America’s own Great Awakening, the widespread 19th-century revival that led to many new religious movements, including evangelicalism and Mormonism.

Johnson thinks the religious boom in China will continue and predicts Christianity will see the most growth.

“When the Cultural Revolution — a 30-year period — ended, people wondered, ‘Are there any Christians left in China?'” he said. “But what is happening is Christianity, especially Protestantism, exploded underground during the Mao period. There were 1 million. Protestants in 1949 and there are 50 million today. That is huge.”

But Christianity — and any other religion — may only blossom so far. The state will not relinquish its role in controlling religion.

“Even though the government is officially atheist, they see themselves as wanting to have a hand in religion. They fear religion,” Johnson said.

“It is a force that is outside of political control. You can try to control it, but if you are religious your allegiance is partly to this world but the allegiance to God is higher and sometimes stronger.”

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

89 Comments

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  • As an atheist, I must say, the “officially atheist” form of government is abhorrent to me. Government should be entirely neutral to religion, neither for it nor against it, no religious test to hold any office, etc., etc., as our founding fathers did their best to set up and guard against. It engenders the identical problems as having an “official religion”. If you don’t agree you can be found guilty of a “thought crime”, and you certainly can be shunted out of public life because you don’t fall in line with the official position. And as we know from long experience, and can see here, what’s the best way to make something popular? Ban it. Russia has done an entire 180 turn and is now buddy-buddy with the Orthodox religion, which is having an entirely predictable terrible effect, particularly on gay people, and in general those who don’t adhere to the Orthodox tenets. It’s such a tiresome waste of time, and causes such enormous, pointless suffering.

  • The attendance figures published by businesses of religion in the now predominantly secular developed world indicate that fewer than 18% of Americans and fewer than 6% of Europeans are active members of any cult or sect of religion and those numbers decline ever more rapidly as congregations age and die without replacement causing empty, rotting redundant churches to litter our villages, towns and cities.

    Religion always preyed upon the ignorant and the gullible and the peasant classes of China (and other developing nations) are the current target for the threats and menaces accompanied extortion of cash from the poor and the simple minded.

    The millennial generation benefit from better education and ever improving world-wide communication and news access. The millennial generation of all ethnicity and religious heritage are ignoring or shunning religion in ever greater numbers as indicated by over 80% of millennials ticking the no religion/not religious” box in polls and surveys and the absence of younger people among the shrinking congregations of the western world.

    Freedom, education and democracy appears to be proving to be the antidote to what Chris Hitchins called the “poison” of religion. As freedom, education and democracy spreads to totalitarian religion or communism dominated tyrannies – that antidote may soon be applied further afield than merely in the developed west.

  • Good examples: The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Disciples of Christ, the United Church of Christ, etc.
    And of course – the atheistic state, China!
    And I think this decline can be traced back to the fact that they do not preach the Gospel (especially atheists- they only have bad news to preach, lol).
    What about evangelical churches that are in decline – they only preach 1/2 the gospel. They may preach Christ and him crucified and they may preach that people should receive Christ as Savior but they fail to preach that the gospel frees us from sin, too. Seems like a lot of evangelical churches are more concerned about implementing contemporary christian music program than making disciples.

  • I’m not sure I agree Millennials are better educated. Likely more cynical and apathetic. Forgoing religion and yet possessing a voracious appetite for violence, fantasy and the supernatural in TV, movies, books, games and online pursuits.

  • Jesus returning to the Earth and destroying all but the chosen few? I’ve read the Book of Revelation. Armageddon doesn’t sound like good news to most people.

    Atheist only preaching bad news? Based on worldwide statistics I claim the world is getting better. I believe most people are more good than bad. I suspect that I am not a lone atheist in this viewpoint.

  • Communists used atheism to unify and control people, substituting the State for god(s).

  • “…most people are more good than bad…”
    I respectfully disagree. We are beasts (as Freud reputedly said).
    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God…
    The bible portrays mankind as enslaved by sin and under the judgment of God because of our sin. But Christ came to redeem us and to reconcile us to God through His death on the cross.

    Look at history: it is one long narrative of man’s brutality to man. Only through Christ does this change.

  • Here’s what American Church Leaders have to say on the subject of America’s accelerating decline in religion:

    “Less than 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church—half of what the pollsters report.

    While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage—about 40 percent of the population—of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given Sunday.

    Initially prompted to discover how church plants in America were really doing, Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church (covchurch.org), began collecting data in the late ’80s, gradually expanding his research to encompass overall attendance trends in the church. In his study, he tracked the annual attendance of more than 200,000 individual Orthodox Christian churches (the accepted U.S. church universe is 330,000). To determine attendance at the remaining 100,000-plus Orthodox Christian churches, he used statistical models, which included multiplying a church’s membership number by the denomination’s membership-to-attendance ratio.

    The Numbers

    His findings reveal that the actual rate of church attendance from head counts is less than half of the 40 percent the pollsters report. Numbers from actual counts of people in Orthodox Christian churches (Catholic, mainline and evangelical) show that in 2004, 17.7 percent of the population attended a Christian church on any given weekend.

    Another study published in 2005 in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion by sociologists C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler—known for their scholarly research on the church—backs up his findings. Their report reveals that the actual number of people worshipping each week is closer to Olson’s 17.7 percent figure—52 million people instead of the pollster-reported 132 million (40 percent).

    “We knew that over the past 30 to 40 years, denominations had increasingly reported a decline in their numbers,” Marler says. “Even a still-growing denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention had reported slowed growth. Most of the mainline denominations were all reporting a net loss over the past 30 years. And at the same time, the Gallup polls had remained stable. It didn’t make sense.”

    For full report – See: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

    The whole christianity scam is childish fiction and debunked bunkum to the third largest and fastest growing human cohort and the good news of peaceful, humanitarian, charitable and egalitarian atheism spreads ever more rapidly throughout the free secular democracies of the developed world and beyond.

  • That’s not the picture many of us among the older generation recognise.

    More and ever more younger folk are graduating from ever more busy and popular universities and violence and crime in general is declining in Europe and other more advanced civilizations that recognise the wisdom of restricting gun ownership to police and members of the armed forces. The signs are good the even backward and superstition blighted America has a youth that has better standards and higher ideals than their elders.

  • Your pitiful self opinion and self hatred is sad., but if it is only your evil old book and childish superstitions that divert and constrain your evil tenancies – please don’t stop believing whatever garbage it is that constrains you from running amok and committing all sorts of evil acts.

    One of the greatest minds of the 20th century put it well:

    “It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere…. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

    – Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930.

    Those of us among the peaceful, loving cohort of the “godless” pity you as you appear to confess to being in (what Albert calls) a “poor way” as an example of humanity. The rest of us live peaceful lives of humanitarianism and egalitarianism undisturbed by the evil propaganda you appear to absorb and recycle.

    The third largest and fastest growing human cohort shun and despise your vile self opinion and rely upon what we call “the human conscience” (look it up if you have never heard of it) to be our moral and ethical guide. That has resulted in the least religious nations and regions also being the most peaceful and law abiding.

    As for the legend of “Jesus”? There is not a single shred of historical evidence that such a person ever existed although several other “messiahs” did leave their mark on history between Circa 4 BCE and Circa 140 CE.

    Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Mindless denial and anti-humanitarian sentiments of the type you express are typical of a religionist – but convinces no one of anything but the apparent ignorance, evil nature and gullibility of the religionist concerned.

    You have my sincere sympathy – but earn no respect for your dishonesty, slander and anti-humanitarianism.

  • You got a frog in your pocket?
    And Einstein on Jesus Christ (and I love this – so stick this in your pipe and smoke ro)

    When interviewed by the Saturday Evening Post in 1929, Einstein was asked what he thought of Christianity.*****

    “To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?”
    “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”
    “Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?”
    “Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrase mongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot!”
    “You accept the historical existence of Jesus?”
    “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”7

    Thank you ro for bringing up Einstien!
    Booyah! LOL!

  • Yes., Albert was a consummate diplomat when talking to religiots. Although no one has ever produced evidence that supports the christian propaganda item you recycle here. That prose hasn’t the style or text type of authentic Einstein quotes as follow:

    Here he contradicts the lies of the type you recycled:

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    – Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman.

    As you can see – Albert was more honest in his private communications and later public utterances:

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

    “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

    – Albert Einstein to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sept. 28, 1949, quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2.

    “It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere…. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

    – Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930.

    I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.

    – Albert Einstein, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman.

    Next..??

  • Oh please, don’t even try that atheistic hide-behind-science jive. Einstein was a genius on space-time physics — but **not** a genius on the existence of God.
    (…But also notice Harry’s sharp quote! Unlike you, Einstein at least believed in a historical Jesus. So you did get yourself busted there. Heh!!)

    Anyway, for true science aficionados, are you looking for a scientist who got ALL his brain-cells lined up good? Then get with Dr. George Washington Carver:

    “God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”

    Now THAT’s how to get your science on, folks!!

  • Dr. George Washington Carver?? Really?
    Opinion is not evidence.
    Denial is never rebuttal.

    As for the legend of “Jesus”? There is not a single shred of historical evidence that such a person ever existed although several other “messiahs” did leave their mark on history between Circa 4 BCE and Circa 140 CE.

    Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Mindless denial and anti-humanitarian sentiments of the type you express are typical of a religionist – but convinces no one of anything but the apparent ignorance, evil nature and gullibility of the religionist concerned.
    You have my sincere sympathy – but earn no respect for your dishonesty, slander and anti-humanitarianism.

  • Oh c’mon people. Even PhD skeptics Bart Ehrman and Dominic Crossan concede the historical Jesus issue. And that’s on top of Albert Einstein’s concession, which Harry proved in one blinding punch.

    So here’s some friendly career advice: If you hope to gain traction as a serious atheist, you MUST drop this line of argument. If you’re determined to go to Hell and fry like a pork chop, at least don’t embarrass yourself on the way down!!

    Now, you asked for evidence. So come get your evidence, and deal thusly.

    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/

    https://bible.org/article/ancient-evidence-jesus-non-christian-sources

  • You funny guy, ro. You tell lie: “…during a talk at Union Theological Seminary on the relationship between religion and science, Einstein declared: “the situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

    Walter Isaacson quoted Einstein in the article “Einstein and Faith,” Time 169, April 5, 2007, 47): “The fanatical atheists … are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’ – cannot bear the ‘music of the spheres.’”
    (sounds like some who post here – lol)

    from freethoughtpedia
    The following comes from “What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck,”The Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 26, 1929, p. 17. The questions are posed by Viereck; the reply to each is by Einstein. Since the interview was conducted in Berlin and both Viereck and Einstein had German as their mother tongue, the interview was likely conducted in German and then translated into English by Viereck.
    Some portions of this interview might seem questionable, but this portion of the interview was explicitly confirmed by Einstein. When asked about a clipping from a magazine article (likely the Saturday Evening Post) reporting Einstein’s comments on Christianity taken down by Viereck, Einstein carefully read the clipping and replied, “That is what I believe.”[6]
    “To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?”
    “As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”
    “Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?
    “Emil Ludwig’s Jesus,” replied Einstein, “is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot.”
    “You accept the historical existence of Jesus?”
    “Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus. Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus.”

    “Ludwig Lewisohn, in one of his recent books, claims that many of the sayings of Jesus paraphrase the sayings of other prophets.”
    “No man,” Einstein replied, “can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful. Even if some them have been said before, no one has expressed them so divinely as he.”

    You’re comments on AE portray him as a one dimensional person. He wasn’t. No he wasn’t a Christian – never said he was. But he seems to believe Jesus was a historical figure.
    At least be honest.

  • Floydlee: “Even PhD skeptics Bart Ehrman and Dominic Crossan concede the historical Jesus issue. And that’s on top of Albert Einstein’s concession, which Harry proved in one blinding punch.”

    RO (with hands over ears): “Lalalalalalalalalalalalala – can’t hear you – can’t hear you – can’t hear you lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala etc.

    ;-D

  • I Kings 19:13ff And a voice came to him and said, “Why are you here, Elijah? 14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, Lord of Hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”
    18 Still, I have preserved seven thousand men in Israel for Myself, all of whose knees have not bowed to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

    I’m not too concerned about what the pollsters show. And I don’t doubt them. Why?
    Zechariah 4:6 And he said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.

    God is sovereign in the affairs of men. Even the devil is a screwdriver in the hand of God.

  • Go to page 386 in Walter Isaacson and there you’ll find the above quote by AE about his acknowledgment of the historical Jesus. Apparently your self proclaimed rationality doesn’t extend to telling the whole truth. I am disappointed in you – so go stand in the corner.

  • If you read an earlier post on this article I stated I believe the world is a better place and getting better, as worldwide statistics indicate. This progress shows that there is more good than evil in the world.

    My point – obvious poorly stated – was they are abandoning religion but not necessarily discarding interest in superstition and the supernatural. My experience is that while more people are graduating college they are generally focused on their field of study and they, as well as Americans in general, are not as knowledgeable in civics, history, or geography as my generation.

  • No. Fewer people in poverty. Higher literacy and education for women. Fewer people killed in wars. Less starvation. Higher life expectancies and lower infant mortality. The world is a better place. Forget the news and Google for statistics. You don’t want it to be true because your bible says it will get worse.

  • What any one person believes is irrelevant. I am not aware of any external evidence for Jesus’s existence. If he did exist – and it’s possible – he was just one of many responding to the political situation. Just a man and not ad described in the Bible.

  • I’ve always found your comments to be honest, forthright and well thought out even if I didn’t agree with you.

  • Jim – first, you may have me confused with dispensationalists – which I am not. I would say parts of the world are better places but not all. Compare Lebanon of the 1950’s with the Lebanon of today. Or Syria. Or any of the countries in Africa and the Middle East. But the final chapter has not been written. And the threat of nuclear war has never been greater.
    And where in the above thread did I ever say I wanted the world to get worse? Since Jesus, Paul and John wrote what they did 2000 years have passed with oscillating periods of peace and war, plenty and famine. It will continue until Christ returns.

    (erratum: Jesus did not write anything personally.)

  • We appear in broad agreement on many things, Jim.

    Our recently evolved species of ape continues to evolve and – as you know – evolution is not necessarily “improving” or “progressive”.

    That said – it appears that our group intellect is improving and with additional intellectual capacity comes skepticism and – as a recent scientific appraisal reveals – folk of higher intellect are most likely to be atheists.

    America (or at least the retarded “bible belt” of America) stands out as a beacon of ignorance although the number of millennials who are in the closet regarding their rational non-belief in magic and super-spooks may not be known for a generation or two.

    Meanwhile – all over the world resistance to theocratic totalitarianism appears to be the undercurrent and a desire for secular democracy was demonstrated by the (failed) “Arab Spring” – but those millennials will become the next generation of elders when the current dictators die so who knows what the future holds for freedom, education, rationalism and secular democracy in the developed and developing worlds?

    Best wishes to you and yours.
    RO?

  • I always find it peculiar that christian fundamentalists reference the ex (and still recovering and somewhat delusional) christian fundamentalist Prof Bart Ehrman.

    Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original 4th century fabricated Greek texts and noticed thousands of discrepancies between the much modified and exaggerated modern bibles and the oldest/first versions written shortly after christianity was cobbled together in the 4th century..
    Bart says: “The Bible we now use can’t be the inerrant word of God, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.
    When people ask me if the Bible is the word of God I answer ‘which Bible?'”

    Ehrman is still fixated upon the many diverse and different, confused and internally contradictory versions of bibles that have been written, rewritten, edited and amended during the past 1600 years or so since the 4th century foundation of christianity and writing of the oldest bibles (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus – look them up).

    Ehrman says the question of the possible actual existence of a human man named “Yeshu/Yeshua/Jesus” is “an issue for scholars of antiquity”. His evidence for Jesus in a recent talk is simply that “no such scholars doubt that a historical Jesus existed”. That is a lie since many have gone in search of evidence of a historical “Jesus” but none (NO EVIDENCE!) has ever been discovered. Ehrman admits that that the opinion of some religionists is not really evidence, but says that there is plenty of evidence in his books for a Jesus-figure, and if you want to claim otherwise, you have to muster some “evidence.” I would have thought that what we need to do to doubt Jesus’s existence is emphasize the lack of evidence, and critically examine the evidence that is offered. And that in fact is what the “mythicists” are doing.
    Bart is nearly as much a money grabbing charlatan as the obscenely wealthy institutions of religion.

    There is no 1st century originates historical trace of any “Jesus”.

    No text.
    No artifact.
    No inscription.
    No Graffito.
    No archaeological trace of Jesus or even of a 1st century “City of Nazareth” beneath the modern Jesus theme park town of Nazareth.

    Myths and legends are not evidence.
    Opinions are not proof.

    Your turn to insert fingers in your ears perhaps..??

  • There is no 1st century originates historical trace of any human man or god-man named “Jesus”.

    No text.
    No artifact.
    No inscription.
    No Graffito.
    No archaeological trace of Jesus or even of a 1st century “City of Nazareth” beneath the modern Jesus theme park town of Nazareth.

    Myths and legends are not evidence.
    Opinions are not proof.

    Regarding Einstein’s atheism? He often spoke and wrote for himself:

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    – Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman.

    As for the legend of “Jesus”? There is not a single shred of historical evidence that such a person ever existed although several other “messiahs” did leave their mark on history between Circa 4 BCE and Circa 140 CE.

    Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Mindless denial and anti-humanitarian sentiments of the type you express are typical of a religionist – but convinces no one of anything but the apparent ignorance, evil nature and gullibility of the religionist concerned.

    You have my sincere sympathy – but earn no respect for your dishonesty, slander and anti-humanitarianism.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Albert was a consummate diplomat when talking to religiots. Although no one has ever produced evidence that supports the christian propaganda item you recycle here. That prose hasn’t the style or text type of authentic Einstein quotes as follow:

    Here he contradicts the lies of the type you recycled:

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
    – Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman.

    As you can see – Albert was more honest in his private communications and later public utterances:

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
    Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

    “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”
    – Albert Einstein to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sept. 28, 1949, quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2.

    “It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere…. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”
    – Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930.

    I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.
    – Albert Einstein, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman.

    If “Jesus” was an historical figure as you claim – why is there not a single shred of original and authentic, 1st century originated evidence of “his” existence?

    Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?
    (Your constant failure to address the above condemns all your denial as unsupported debunked bunkum.)

    Mindless denial and anti-humanitarian sentiments of the type you express are typical of a religionist – but convinces no one of anything but the apparent ignorance, evil nature and gullibility of the religionist concerned.

    You retain my sincere sympathy – but still earn no respect for your dishonesty, slander and anti-humanitarianism.

    Next..??

  • Quoting garbage from one of many diverse and different, confused and internally contradictory books full of garbage fails to validate or excuse that garbage.

    Your opinion is as valid as your indoctrinated delusions and that’s not valid at all.

    Again:
    Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?
    (Your constant failure to address the above condemns all your denial as unsupported debunked bunkum.)

  • Why can’t you tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Thanks for making me smile by linking to an article titled:
    “Did Jesus exist?”
    The answer to that question is – of course – NO EVIDENCE exists of the existence of “Jesus”.

    There is no original and authenticated, 1st century originated historical trace of any human man or god-man named “Jesus”.

    No text.
    No artifact.
    No inscription.
    No Graffito.
    No archaeological trace of Jesus or even of a 1st century “City of Nazareth” beneath the modern Jesus theme park town of Nazareth.

    Myths and legends are not evidence.
    Opinions are not proof.

    As for the diverse and different, confused and internally contradictory legends of “Jesus” that can be traced back to the 4th century – but no earlier? There is not a single shred of historical evidence that such a person ever existed although several other “messiahs” did leave their mark on history between Circa 4 BCE and Circa 140 CE.

    Why can’t you (or anyone) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • You know you sound EXACTLY like the Victorian and Edwardian optimists, with perfect faith in science and progress, sounded on the eve of WW I?

  • When anyone starts the Jesus-myth business, there’s no longer any reason to take them seriously from an intellectual standpoint. Jesus-myther spells “crackpot in Mommy’s basement.”

    Sad that this is all the so-called “better-educated” millenials (most of whom can’t even name their basic 1st Amendment rights) have to show for all their increased “access” to both information and misinformation. But hey, they have “selfies” down to an art! 😀

  • You fundamentalist atheists are a hoot.
    You have already been pointed to the agnostic scholar (one time Christian) Bart Erhman for evidence of Jesus historicity. He’s one of your ilk. Why don’t you believe him? I heard BE in person once and he just recycled old arguments that were easily debunked. I spoke with him afterwards and he was a complete gentleman. You should spend some time around him for much needed character development.

    B/c the facts state otherwise.

  • AE didn’t think Jesus was a myth. You smarter than AE or Bart E? Don’t think so.
    LOL!

  • Yawn….
    Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is more probable than not,[4][5][6][7][nb 1][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4] although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.[nb 5][13][nb 6][15]:168–173 While scholars have criticized Jesus scholarship for religious bias and lack of methodological soundness,[nb 7] with very few exceptions such critics generally do support the historicity of Jesus and reject the Christ myth theory that Jesus never existed.[17][nb 8][19][20][21]

  • Yawn…
    If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.[47]
    Michael Grant (1977), Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels

    The Christ myth theory is the proposition that Jesus never existed, or that if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels.[113][114][115] This theory has very little support among current scholars.[116] Historically however, mythicist viewpoints were noted to varying degrees within academia[117][118][119][120][121] and some even became part of the mainstream scholarship, such as the viewpoint of David Strauss.[122] The theory enjoyed brief popularity in the Soviet Union, where it was supported by Sergey Kovalev, Alexander Kazhdan, Abram Ranovich, Nikolai Rumyantsev, Robert Wipper and Yuri Frantsev.[123]

    Yawn….

  • Update your resume, ro. BE will retire some day and you can apply for his job.

    LOL!

  • Ummmmm… I’m on your side, 100%? I have been saying this for decades. Please check my comment history. I have always believed that it is time to do away with the “authority” of these ancient texts.

    My comment was directed at a one of our resident hyper Christians, and was sarcasm.

    😜😘😍🙄😇

    And for dirty: 😈😜

  • I am aware of the unsupported opinions of the indoctrinated.

    The burden of proof and the onus of convincing the rest of us of the validity of the “proof” is always upon the religionists and the rest of the rapidly declining membership of fraudulent religions. All religionists, fail too rise to meet that challenge and therefore your myths, legends and human businesses of religion remain debunked in the minds of most young folk and a large and growing number of us older folk who saw through and rejected the bunkum at some time in our life..

    Why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Please reveal the evidence supported facts that you claim “state otherwise”.

    I am aware of the unsupported opinions of the indoctrinated.
    The burden of proof and the onus of convincing the rest of us of the validity of the “proof” is always upon the religionists and the rest of the rapidly declining membership of fraudulent religions. All religionists, fail too rise to meet that challenge and therefore your myths, legends and human businesses of religion remain debunked in the minds of most young folk and a large and growing number of us older folk who saw through and rejected the bunkum at some time in our life..

    Why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • I have been researching religion longer than Bart and have pointed out the inconsistencies in his unsupported opinions to him. He merely smiles and indicates the profits in selling his books and making personal appearances.

    I am aware of the unsupported opinions of the indoctrinated and the myths, legends and lies that those opinions are based upon.
    Opinions are not evidence.
    Denial is not rebuttal.

    The burden of proof and the onus of convincing the rest of us of the validity of the “proof” is always upon the religionists and the rest of the rapidly declining membership of fraudulent religions. All religionists, fail too rise to meet that challenge and therefore your myths, legends and human businesses of religion remain debunked in the minds of most young folk and a large and growing number of us older folk who saw through and rejected the bunkum at some time in our life..

    Why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • So why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Copy and paste the unsupported opinions of the indoctrinated if you must – but it fails to convince and does not represent evidence of anything but the naivete of those indoctrinated individuals.

    Your inability to present a single shred of authentic and original evidence debunks your bunkum yet again.

    Why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • I don’t make any claims, Shawnie5.
    I observe that there is no evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and ask why that could be if the legends that were written and endlessly rewritten centuries after the time in which they are set are based upon actual history..

    Why can’t you (or anyone else) tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Your feeble attempt at ad hominem fails.
    Your egotistic bunkum is debunked.

  • Been there, done that, gave you the evidence.

    You atheists live in an incredibly tiny world. You won’t accept any evidence that does not comport with your circumscribed narrative. And after the AE “discussion” you have no credibility. LOL.

    And your silly analysis of who Jesus is is simply the discredited notions found on youtube videos. LOL. (I think your tin foil hat is on too tight.)

    Grow up and do serious research.

    Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”

  • You will need to repeat that “evidence” since I cannot find any among the opinion and denial you have repeatedly posted.

    Why can’t anyone tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • About the only “expert’ the Jesus-mythers have left is Richard Carrier, who has never been able to find a position in any institution of higher learning but ekes out a living writing and giving speeches on this nonsense — with the help of his long-suffering wife, until he divorced her to follow his newly discovered polyamorous “orientation” and thereby live “ethically and honestly.” I kid you not.

  • At least that has been the party line among the western atheist intelligentsia ever since the atrocities and failures of communism were exposed and could no longer be ignored or explained away.

  • I would still rather see people he part of “any cult or sect of” Christian religion
    than “any cult or sect of” atheism

  • Your agreement and support is appreciated.
    It has long been my duty to educate and inform the ignorant and the gullible..,and..
    You’re welcome my friend.

  • There is no 1st century originated, original and authentic historical evidence that a man named “Jesus” existed and no historical evidence that supports any of the many centuries later written legends of “Jesus”.

    There is not even any archaeological trace of a “City of Nazareth” (with a temple) under the modern Jesus theme park town of Nazareth that was founded in the 4th century.

    Why can’t anyone tell you (and the rapidly growing legion of the happy, peaceful, intelligent and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Your inability to find and present evidence renders your sneering pathetic, my friend.

    Claiming there is evidence supporting the centuries later written legends of “Jesus” is a lie that is often repeated but never justified or excused.

  • Now you must have been looking in he mirror as you dragged your knuckles off of the floor to type…

    Thanks for keeping me laughing though…

    Still no thoughts regarding Why no one tell you (and the rapidly growing legion of the happy, peaceful, intelligent and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    THINK about it while others contemplate who are the “pathetic losers”..

  • Who told you Nazareth was a “city?” Or that there was a “temple” anywhere except Jerusalem? Perhaps Christopher “Hitchins” and his evil “tenancies?”

    You have no clue how many ways you’re giving your ignorance away. Your fellow atheists here would be upvoting you in droves if your remarks weren’t so embarrassing. Back to Mom’s basement.

  • Your unsupported opinion is noted.

    I guess you’re already in thrall to one of the hundreds of cults, sects and tax exempt wealthy businesses of christianity. Many have been corrupted and much murder, terror, torture and oppression was the result of that enthrallment in the barbaric times before free, secular democracy replaced tyrannical regimes of christian theocratic totalitarianism.

    As an aside: What are these peaceful and law abiding cults and sects of modern western atheism, where do they meet and what do they call themselves internationally?

  • Why can’t anyone tell me (and the rapidly growing legion of the happy, peaceful, intelligent and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • I regret that your weird (hillbilly?) rhetoric is meaningless to me as I am a world traveled but English native scholar.

    Why can’t you tell me (and the rapidly growing legion of the happy, peaceful, intelligent and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set in meaningful and recognizable English?

  • Thanks for once again making me laugh out loud with your demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect and accusations of ignorance while displaying such deep and appalling ignorance yourself.

    You ask “Who told you Nazareth was a “city?”
    No one “told me”. I read it in several places IN several versions of BIBLE.

    The Gospels tell us that Jesus’s home town was the ‘City of Nazareth’ (‘polis Natzoree’):

    And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a CITY of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
    (Luke1.26,27)

    And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the CITY of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David:
    (Luke 2.3,4)

    But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a CITY called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
    (Matthew 2.22,23)

    And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own CITY Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
    (Luke 2.39,40)

    The gospels do not tell us much about this ‘city’ – unlike the modern Jesus theme park town of Nazareth – it has a synagogue, it can scare up a hostile crowd (prompting JC’s famous “prophet rejected in his own land” quote), and it has a precipice – but the city status of Nazareth is clearly established, at least according to that source of nonsense called Bibles.

    However when we look for historical confirmation of this hometown of a god – no other source confirms that the place even existed in the 1st century AD.

    • Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

    • The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

    • St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

    • No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

    In short order, Christian apologists fall over themselves to explain, ‘But of course, no one had heard of Nazareth, we’re talking of a REALLY small place.’ By semantic downsizing, city becomes TOWN, town becomes VILLAGE, and village becomes ‘OBSCURE HAMLET’.

    Yet if we are speaking of such an obscure hamlet the ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ story begins to fall apart.

    For example, the whole ‘rejection in his homeland’ story requires at a minimum a synagogue in which the godman can ‘blaspheme.’ Where was the synagogue in this tiny bucolic hamlet? Why was it not obvious to the first pilgrims like Helena (see below) – it would, after all, have been far more pertinent to her hero than a well? In reality, such a small, rustic community could never have afforded its own holy scrolls, let alone a dedicated building to house them. As peasant farmers almost certainly they would have been illiterate to a man.

    If JC had grown up and spent thirty years of his life in a village with as few as 25 families – an inbred clan of less than 300 people – the ‘multitude’ that were supposedly shocked by his blasphemy and would have thrown him from a cliff, would not have been hostile strangers but, to a man, would have been relatives and friends that he had grown up with, including his own brothers. Presumably, they had heard his pious utterances for years.

    Moreover, if the chosen virgin really had had an annunciation of messiah-birthing from an angel the whole clan would have known about it inside ten minutes. Just to remind them, surely they should also have known of the ‘Jerusalem incident’ (Luke 2.42-49) when supposedly the 12-year-old proclaimed his messiahship?

    Indeed, had no one mentioned what had happened in Bethlehem – star, wise men, shepherds, infant-massacre and all? Why would they have been outraged by anything the godman said or did? Had they forgotten a god was growing up in their midst? And what had happened to that gift of gold – had it not made the ‘holy family’ rich?

    If Nazareth really had been barely a hamlet, lost in the hills of Galilee, would not the appellation ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ have invoked the response ‘Jesus of WHERE?’ The predictable apologetic of quoting gospel John (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” – 1.46) implies that the questioner, Nathanael, had indeed “heard of” the vanishing small hamlet (Nathanael was supposedly a local boy from Cana). But would anyone outside of Galilee have recognized the name?

    Then again, if Nazareth had really been a tiny hamlet, the nearest convenient ‘mountain’ from which the god-man could have been thrown – a cliff edge (Luke 4.28-30) – would have been 4 km away, requiring an energetic climb over limestone crags. Would the superman really have been frog-marched so far before ‘passing through the midst of them’ and making his escape?

    Of course, all these incongruities apparently exist because the ‘Jerusalem incident’ and the two diverse and different nativity sequences were late additions to the basic messiah-in-residence story.

  • Yes, your pitiful attempts at insults merely denote your ongoing inability to answer any questions or support any of your nonsense.

    Keep it up, hillbilly. It makes you look even less credible with every failed denial and infantile attempt at an insult.

    Why can’t anyone tell me (and the rapidly growing legion of the happy, peaceful, intelligent and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • The reputable scholars – liberal, agnostic, conservative and all points in between – view your position with scholarly amusement as a scientist would some one who believed in a flat earth. I’ve given you evidence for this on this thread. Now go outside and get some sunshine.

  • You’ve been reading Rene Salm. 😀 He’s too weak for even wacko Carrier to take seriously — he’s not even an archaeologist. Suffice it to say that Nazareth definitely existed before during, and after the life of Christ. Coins and pottery from the proper time have been found there, and a year after the publication of Salm’s book on the subject a modest family home dating from the time of Christ was excavated on the hillside of Nazareth. The mythicists lose again, like they always do.

    And if you want to call a village of perhaps 50 homes a “city,” go ahead, but be aware of what you’re talking about. The “city” of Bethlehem consisted of only about 300 people and Nazareth far less.

    Back to the basement, sonny.

  • No doubt this “scholar” has been traveling the world studying the evil “tenancies” of religion. Perhaps his mom’s computer has Google Earth.

  • I suppose if we generalize people of certain beliefs, there has been plenty of murder, terror, torture and oppression by those espousing atheism.

  • Right! Two thumbs up. He’s a youtube scholar and part of a growing “legion” of peaceful atheists.
    And did you notice his second paragraph was one long, very long sentence?
    Maybe I should recommend to him Strunk and White’s Elements of Style —- nah.

  • The failed and dishonest propaganda you link to is unconvincing at best and dishonest in it’s non-historical inaccuracy.

  • Why can’t you, or anyone else, tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

    Your denial of the evidence is pitiful and your absence of any validation or excuse for your primitive superstitions is damning.

    Denial is not rebuttal.

  • Both my parents died long ago after happy and fulfilled (godless) lives of service to our family and to the wider community of humanity.
    I have many more summers behind than ahead of me – but find your witless assumptions amusing nonetheless, kid.

    Rather than make these mindless assumptions and puerile comments – how about attempting an answer to the question that all religionists ignore?

    Why can’t you, or anyone, tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • So why can’t anyone tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • You continue to lie about that evidence, son.

    You offer your own unsupported indoctrinated opinion and the indoctrinated opinion of others – but never any evidence.

    Opinion is not evidence.

    Denial is not rebuttal.

    Why can’t anyone tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Only a well and some ancient burial pits existed at the time in the 4th century when the modern town of Nazareth was founded.
    There is no evidence of the foundations of a city with a temple beneath the modern Jesus theme park town.

    I had never heard of this “Salm” you refer to and will look him up. Your ad hominem against him is noted but not supported by evidence I notice.

    DENIAL IS NOT REBUTTAL.

    Kenneth Humphreys has done extensive research and his findings have not been contradicted by anyone.

    It is also significant that Christian archaeologists have dug and scratched away for decades and found no trace of a 1st century Nazareth in the ground or in any map, text or inscription.

    Back to your studies child..

  • Actually very few atheist psychopaths have gained power and committed mass murder against all who resisted their ideology.
    Religious tyrants called Popes, Bishops, Kings, Queens, Ayatollahs etc on the other hand…

    I wonder if you can name any historical figure who killed purely and exclusively in the name of atheism or anyone among the third largest and fastest growing living human cohort who have killed exclusively in the name atheism?

    It’s a remarkable coincidence that the gods of the nation in which any religionist is born is always the real and true one.

    Fewer than 18% of Americans and fewer than 6% of Europeans (under 2% in the UK and Sweden) are active members of any cult, sect or business of religion according to the remaining religions own published attendance figures while the vast vast majority of the millennial generation shun all religion and ignore all phony gods, goddesses and god-men (including christian gods and god-men) and redundant churches litter our villages, towns and cities.
    To the non-indoctrinated – nothing appears to distinguish one god, goddess or god-man/”messiah”., from any other of the many thousands of undetected and undetectable, entirely and exclusively hypothetical gods, goddesses and god-men/”messiahs.

    Christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their (originally Canaanite) god, “Jehovah/Yahweh” and their (Roman) god-man/”messiah” “Yeshu/Jesus”, but they shouldn’t be. Christians deny many tens of thousands of the same gods that atheists deny. Atheists just deny one more ridiculously unconvincing god and one more stereotypical and entirely mythical god-man (among many hundreds of thousands of extremely similar undetectable and imaginary gods, goddesses and god-men) than Christians.
    Many among the declining cohort of the religionists join those christians who fail to justify their enthrallment to their specific brand of religion by pointing out that the non-existence of any of the gods cannot be proved.

    If inability to prove the non-existence of deities is enough for christians to believe in them.,they must be very busy worshiping Amun-Ra, Apollo/Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, (Buddhist goddess of context analysis) and Acat, (Mayan god of tattoo artists) and Tsa’qamae, (North American god of salmon migration) – and many thousands of other undetectable hypothetical entities among which the ridiculous “Yahweh” and “Jesus” remain merely mythical and of which no one ever provides proof or reason of (or for) existence and therefore non-existence may be sensibly and rationally assumed by default – as the third largest and fastest growing cohort of humanity (the godless / non-religious) conclude.

    All the evidence appears to indicate that the “christian” religion was cobbled together in the 4th century from mainly “pagan” components and exclusively “pagan” feast days and festivals.

    The burden of proof and the onus of convincing the rest of us of the validity of the “proof” is always upon the religionists and the rest of the rapidly declining membership of fraudulent religions. All religionists, fail too rise to meet that challenge and therefore your myths, legends and human businesses of religion remain debunked in the minds of most young folk and a large and growing number of us older folk who saw through and rejected the bunkum at some time in our life.

    It’s very noticeable that no one can tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set.

    Best wishes to you and yours, Rich.

  • Your complete facade is propaganda – deception is in your veins. “UnconvincinG” – ooh wow you make a lot of sense. Failure belongs to you my irrational Comrade. Come to Russia – we’ll show you the truth you’re perverting. In the meantime try to not salvitate so much on your keyboard.

  • Mine too. Wonderful mom and dad a boy could never have wanted any better. Christians both. Loving, charitable, forgiving, nurturing, sober (neither smoked or drank), hard working, never complaining about my or my brother’s foibles. Always there for me. Always on my side. Always encouraging. And even though my religious convictions later changed from theirs I have nothing but good memories of my religious upbringing.
    Family history over.
    You have never provided any scholarly evidence for your discredited views. Save us both some time and trouble – get your poop together and present it, then we can go on from there. (Ignore the fact that I used the word “then” as a conjunction which is grammatically incorrect – but nobody is perfect – some verb tenses)

  • After following up ever claim of evidence presented to me during the past 4 decades – I have found no authentic evidence. Many hoaxes and fake stories that are always revealed as untrue, but no evidence.

    Maybe you have had better luck? If so reveal the evidence for authentication or debunking.

    Your lies and pathetic empty claims will always catch you out…

  • Why can’t you, or anyone, tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Most of us despise the totalitarianism of communism as much as we despise the similar totalitarianism of religion.

    Your petty little tirade fails to present anything at all convincing,

    Why can’t you, or anyone, tell me (and the growing legion of the happy, peaceful and humanitarian godless) about (the originally Canaanite god) “Yahweh” and (Roman god-man) “Jesus” through logic and actual authenticated historical and scientific evidence and without any reference to the confused and internally contradictory mythology within any of the many diverse and different versions of human authored bibles, papyri, manuscripts and texts that were written centuries after the time in which their tales are backdated and merely set?

  • Culture is different . In China, god is useless for most of people. Because we believe: You guilty, pray useless, you innocent , no need pray. Gods(actually human who be immortal) in ancient Chinese books also said same meaning in different words.

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