The Rev. Franklin Graham speaks at the Ghana Jesus Festival in 2012. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Defending Islam, gays and Blackpool, Brits oppose Franklin Graham's UK visit

(RNS) — The Winter Gardens Center in the English seaside town of Blackpool is best known as the venue for stemwinding speeches by prime ministers at party conventions or for hosting the now annual BBC TV extravaganza “Strictly Come Dancing.”

But for three nights next weekend, people will pack the auditorium at Winter Gardens to hear the American evangelist Franklin Graham preach at the culmination of the Lancashire Festival of Hope.

It’s been 36 years since Graham’s father, Billy Graham, visited Blackpool, and more than 60 since his famous visit to Britain in 1954 when he filled London’s Harringay arena every night for three months.

According to the festival’s website, local Christians have been preparing for the younger Graham’s visit for the past two years, with prayer meetings, prayer walks and leadership training events.

"Franklin will come with a positive message of hope," said Steve Haskett, vicar of the Anglican church of St. John’s in Blackpool, one of 200 independent and Anglican churches that helped bring Graham to the festival. "There are few people around who can share the Christian message with the clarity and conviction that Franklin does and that’s why we’ve invited him."

But many people in the town oppose Graham’s visit, citing comments he has made about gay people and Islam.

While Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse has done humanitarian work in Muslim countries, Graham, who now runs his late father’s Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has a history of calling Islam a “wicked and evil religion.” He has also called homosexuality a sin and has spoken against same-sex marriage and adoptions by gays.

In response to complaints, a local transit company in Blackpool removed advertising for the event from its buses, and some 8,000 people signed a petition requesting the home secretary to deny Graham entry to the country.

Blackpool’s two ministers to Parliament have also expressed their concern, with one suggesting that Graham’s comments amounted to hate speech.

The Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson. Photo courtesy Church of England

Criticism has also been focused on the Church of England’s local bishop, the Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, for refusing to take a position on Graham’s visit. Henderson defended his stance in a statement last weekend, saying that his neutrality enabled him to conduct an ongoing listening exercise with people from both sides.

“However, I must be very clear that, while I am always supportive of mission work that proclaims the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, I do not support any kind of ‘hate speech’, including the language of Islamophobia, Christianophobia and homophobia.”

The bishop added that neither he nor members of his leadership team would be attending the festival.

Only 1 percent of Blackpool is Muslim — compared with 5 percent of the U.K. population overall — but it has one of the largest LGBT communities in Britain, with approximately 10 percent of residents identifying as LGBT. Nina Parker, who runs the inclusive Liberty Church Blackpool, said, “Our message is for progressive Christians, for the LGBT community and indeed the wider community – Franklin Graham does not preach in our name.”

"We’ve been very clear that nobody has been excluded or will be excluded," said Haskett, noting that the churches involved represent "different flavors of Christianity."

Some Blackpool residents have also taken exception to Graham’s description of the town on the BGEA website as “one of the darkest cities in that nation,” and referring to epidemic levels of drugs, gambling crime and violence. Graham says in a note on the site, “Alcoholism is everywhere and the suicide rate is sky high.”

Blackpool indeed suffers from high levels of unemployment and poor housing, registering as the most deprived of 326 local jurisdictions in England in 2015, but Graham’s characterization has rubbed some townspeople the wrong way.

Franklin Graham addresses a Festival of Hope in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 7, 2018. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Andrew Page, an elder from the United Reformed Church, said Christians in Blackpool should protest against his comments about the town. “They’ve been out there working for 20 years or more, taking God's love into their local communities. Then an American preacher comes over and tells them that they’re in a dark place – what does it say about their work and their call from God?

But Page, who plans to keep a protest vigil outside Winter Gardens with other Christians for the weekend, also objects to Graham’s attitude toward LGBT people. “Our message is not for him, it’s for those he would exclude,” said Page. “People need to know there is an alternative to Franklin Graham's brand of Christianity.”


  1. No disrespect or disruption to you, Rt. Rev. Henderson. You’re probably doing the best you can, though it’s not like things are all spiritually peaches & cream over there.

    (In fact, whereas you Brits used to send out strong Bible-Belleving missionaries to convert all those heathen Africans, NOW the African churches are sending out strong Bible-believing missionaries to convert all you heathen Brits!! )

    So I strongly suspect whatever that American guy, Rev. Franklin Graham, happens to preach while visiting your fair land, it’s only going to HELP, not hurt, your current church efforts.

  2. Making Franklin Graham et. al. whistlers in the wind as the Great Kibosh strikes again:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • 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.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey 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?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  3. The “Rev.” FranklinBob Graham is a sleazy, dishonest, very poorly-informed “pastor” who spits in the face of Jesus every time he opens his mouth. For this reason Rt. Rev. Henderson would do well to re-consider his ideas Re FranklinBob.

    The founders of the US Gummint believed that free speech was important because when people heard speech that was “bad” in some way, they would reject the arguments proffered (or so I was taught). But lots of events in the US and elsewhere in the last 100 years (if not more) show that this is not always true.

  4. said Page. “People need to know there is an alternative to Franklin Graham’s brand of Christianity.”

    Amen. There is and it is growing. I am glad to read about those who will speak up and act to demonstrate that Franklin Graham doesn’t speak for any but a small group of extremists who have lost the heart of the message of Jesus.

  5. Does the F in LGBTFQ stand for Florence? The GW for global warming? The SOT for the sign of the times? The OJK for only Jonah knows? Time Will Tell. A million bottles of water on the tarmac and nothing to drink.

  6. For “a small group of extremists” he has a pretty large group of folks supporting him.

    If you’re interest in seeing some real live small groups of extremists, try these:

    and of course you participate in this one:

    Those are the small groups of extremists.

  7. There are people in many levels of extremism on both sides of this issue. What makes something “extreme” depends on where one stands and what is the basis one chooses on which to measure “extremism.” I think it matters where most Catholics stand on issues. And that is not with extremists but with the combined sensus fidelium – that comes with lived faith filled experience – on all kinds of questions, including contraceptives, women priests, lay involvement in leadership, the role of women, civil gay marriage and the humanity of LGBTQI people who are also part of our communities.

    It is fine with me if those extremists like Graham and those who support him get together. AND, it is fine with me that those who consider him extremist point it out. Obviously, we each consider the other an extremist.

  8. “What makes something ‘extreme’ depends on where one stands and what is the basis one chooses on which to measure ‘extremism.’”

    What makes one and one’s program extreme is how far from the Church it sits.

    The three mentioned are all by that definition extremist.

    I can name some on the other end of the spectrum, but none of their representatives post here.

    “ I think it matters where most Catholics stand on issues. And that is not with extremists but with the combined sensus fidelium – that comes with lived faith filled experience – on all kinds of questions, including contraceptives, women priests, lay involvement in leadership, the role of women, civil gay marriage and the humanity of LGBTQI people who are also part of our communities.”

    Ah, the infamous “sensus fidelium”.

    There is some bad news for you on that one.

    The very moment you reject the Church’s teaching, you’re no longer part of the fidelium (faithful) who combine for the sensus fidelium.

    That means no matter how many people join in your error, it never ever comes a “sensus fidelium”.

  9. Franklin is not Billy. Some men are actually “called” to preach the gospel as a first-generation man. Billy probably was. The sons are never, ever “called” in the same way. They are heirs to ministries, not ministries themselves. Franklin is only in a “pulpit” because of inheriting a corporation with a business model. Turn him off. He is a social political mess doing nothing but handing your country over to billionaires.

  10. Well, if the people of the Church are “the Church” then it is necessary to look at what the people of the Church believe. There is no point to the sensus fidelium if any sense of the faithful that the Church has taken a wrong step is automatically rejected. There is a purpose here, Bob, because even the Church can err – charging interest, the earth is the center of the universe, slavery is okay as long as slaves are well treated, and women as simply objects of use by men. Oh, and the idea of the infallibility of anything mankind, or any human, says about God.

  11. Except that if the Church teaches “x”, you reject it, you’re not part of the fidelium.

    At that point the only thing the Church can note is that you’re out of step and only reason it might look at what you believe is in figuring out how to get you back on board.

    No, the Church did not error on interest, or the earth of the center of the universe, or slavery, or women, or any of these things.

    I have spent many an hour walking people through those fallacies which arise by reading nonsense and internalizing it.

    Btw, IF the Church teaches error as you suggest, you might do as well joining the Rotarians, since it does not teach with authority.

    At that point you ought to take me up on my suggestion and peruse the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or one of the other pleasant diversions where you get to vote on what the denomination teaches.

    You simply can’t have it both ways.

    The singular claim of the Catholic Church is to teach with authority, and if you don’t buy that, you’re kidding yourself with all this “reform” and “sensus fidelium” nonsense.

  12. If you want to address issues of love, compassion, honesty, fairness and human dignity you don’t turn to Franklin Graham. He is a huckster of the worst kind.

  13. Billy was a grifter, but Franklin really has some screws loose.

  14. Perhaps you should move to China or North Korea where the free expression of ideas is much more available than in the US.
    it’s unfortunate that people cannot express their ideas or beliefs without being labeled with derogatory terms by those who disagree with them.
    Those who call others names usually are short on ideas.

  15. It’s interesting to see how open-minded progressives really are when they come across those who disagree with their ideas.
    They really aren’t open-minded at all; they expect everyone to see the world as they do and to agree 100% with what they are pushing – anyone who disagrees or doesn’t believe in their group think is labeled a nazi, bigot, homophobe, racist or otherwise.
    They really are not deep thinkers or open-minded at all. Worse yet, the have a relatively low emotional IQ.

  16. “There are few people around who can share the Christian message with the clarity and conviction that Franklin does and that’s why we’ve invited him.”

    Wow – either the vicar has paid no attention to anything Franklin Graham has ever utter or written or he just lied. Either one is gravely shameful.

  17. It does not matter where “most” Catholics stand on issues. What matters is how well the Catholics follow the catechism of the church.
    Any deviation from the catechism is a sin – whether “most” Catholics agree or not.
    That’s the problem, too many Catholics are modernists that rationalize reasons why the catechism is not applicable to them in this day and age.

  18. You hit the nail on the head Franklin Graham is nothing but a scumbag. He has his head so far up Trumps a$$ it is sickening. That is why religion is bull s–t.

  19. HUH?????????? What on earth are you talking about.

    Perhaps I mis-understood what Rev. Henderson said, or expressed myself poorly. To be clear: I am a very strong believer in free speech, and I believe Graham should NOT be denied entry to any country, and SHOULD be allowed to say whatever he wishes.

  20. I’ll take that pop quiz now, Rosie Dawson.

    TRUE OR FALSE: As stated by “Andrew Page … from the United Reformed Church, … ‘Taking God’s love into … local communities … is an alternative to Franklin Graham’s brand of Christianity'”.

    TRUE. But so are all the many “an alternative to [the Christ Jesus’ own] brand of Christianity”!

  21. I am not feeling particularly charitable or diplomatic towards the Franklin-haters today. However, instead of stating the grade that I would give Pete, I will simply upvote you, and leave it at that.

  22. I am not feeling particularly charitable or diplomatic towards the LGBTQ-haters any day.

    Tell your friends.

  23. I don’t see any “spit”. Are you sure “Graham … spits in the face of Jesus every time he opens his mouth”? Show me said “spit”, then, in this article’s own “Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association”, with the caption, “The Rev. Franklin Graham speaks at the Ghana Jesus Festival in 2012.”

    “He opens his mouth”, alright; I can see that. But where’s the “spit”?

    Which reminds me. Where did you get your Uber-Magnifying Glass anyway? I want one. And who did your Cataract Removal? Was it painful?

  24. And what, exactly, did Jesus say about loving one’s fellow man? What did he say about gays, about other religions?

    FranklinBob is just a person who perverts the teachings of Jesus–like almost all evangelicals. And of course, we know where he learned it–from his father, BillyBob, who loved to suck up to politicians, who shook his head in agreement when TrickyDick was expressing his stereotypical hatred of Jews.

    Yeah, a fine family….

  25. I cannot speak to your last sentence, but I have several friends who are Catholics, and they do not buy everything the Vatican hands out. One of those individuals says proudly she is a “cafeteria catholic”. That, of course, describes lots of the high-ranking folks in the Vatican–they pick and choose what they believe.

  26. That comment describes perfectly the modernist movement that resides within the church.

  27. Franklin Graham would preside over the mass extermination of gays, Muslims, and everyone else he hates, and pronounce God’s blessings on it. And millions of Evangelicals would shout their approval. Evangelicalism is a religion of hate.

  28. Not one microgram, (let alone one milligram), of truth in that entire post.

    Gotta do better, people. Gotta get it right.

  29. “27 January 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany’s death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, …is … a major occasion for … learning anew the wider lessons about the dangers of victimising people on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, social classification, politics or sexual orientation”.
    – The European Parliament, 2005.

    ‘Til Tuesday wasn’t born yet at the time. Please excuse her instinctive and learned secular bigotry.

  30. Such a post is worse than Tuesday’s (below). You can’t stop people from mindlessly hating on Rev. Franklin Graham, but you CAN insist that they post something other than goopy fake lies from Hades’ outhouse. Like, you know, try posting a super-tiny Angstrom (extremely tiny) smidgen of actual TRUTH about Franklin Graham.

    Something like,“Franklin Graham sure helped provide food, water & medicine to a lotta poor & destitute people in more than 100 countries worldwide, through the Samaritan’s Purse group.” See? There’s enough truth there to help readers begin to get an informed opinion about “love, compassion, etc” relative to Franklin Graham.

  31. No, they label those that preach hatred of Jews, blacks, gays, etc as nazis, bigots, homophobes and racists. Get it right. We are open minded but that does not mean willful speaking of hate and intentional harm to communities of people is acceptable.

  32. Franklin Graham & I are born-again Christians and I can’t stand him. Nor do The Father & Son Unlimited.

    And not just because of his religious bigotry, either, as the following proves:

    (1) “We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”
    – Franklin Graham, NBC Nightly News, November 2001.

    (2) “After 9/11, there were a lot of things being said about how the God of Islam and the God of the Christian faith were one and the same, but that’s simply not true … The God that I worship does not require me to kill other people. The God that I worship tells me I am to love my enemy, to give him food when he’s hungry and water when he’s thirsty.”
    – Franklin Graham, Newsweek, August 14, 2006.

    (3) “True Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries.”
    – Franklin Graham, interviewed by Campbell Brown, CNN, December 2009.

    (4) “The Muslim people[‘s faith] … is not the faith of this country. And that is not the religion that built this nation. The people of the Christian faith and the Jewish faith are the ones who built America, and it is not Islam.”
    – Franklin Graham, Newsmax, May 6, 2010.

    But just because.

  33. I wonder how much MONEY Franklin thinks he will get from the Flock in England.

  34. Thanks for making my point. I said nothing about preaching hate. I said having a different viewpoint.

  35. Ah okay. That is different. I thought your comment was in the context of Graham. Apologies.

  36. But I see I was actually still correct. Progressive minded people are fine with different viewpoints. I was pointing out when we actually call people bigots, etc. it is not from simply having a different viewpoint.

  37. Graham’s messages based on his viewpoint, come across as hateful and hurtful.

  38. Recently Uncle, Franklin Graham stated that God would kill LGBTQ folks. She got that part right. So she’s doing fine.

    You really should stop it with your new tactic of undercutting folks by telling them they are deficient. That’s just a more polite way of insulting folks, like telling them that they are stupid.

  39. God is finished with the brick and mortar churches and the UK is no exception. There is no one that understands the Word of God that would still be in those buildings. The evil and adulterous generation that Jesus was speaking directly to, is coming to or has reached it’s end. The Church was never meant to be just a charity. Charity was part of it’s mandate but without understanding of the Scripture, there is no church.

    Everyone sees the rising seas, but no on sees the cause of global warming.

  40. No, you are not. See any college campus, especially Berkeley.
    Conservative speakers can not speak on that campus without police protection or their being a riot.

  41. That wasn’t what I meant – that is speaking of graham. I meant liberals in general.

  42. I am afraid with a comment that commences “Recently Uncle …” your “You really should stop it with your new tactic of undercutting folks by telling them they are deficient.” rings hollow.

  43. Uncle is a term of respect for any man that one meets in many cultures.

  44. Stating that God would kill LGBTQ folks is hateful & hurtful. Period.

    Move along, as someone who isn’t LGBTQ you wouldn’t begin to know what we feel.

  45. Stating that LGBTQetc people who know better and persist in same sex physical congress will go to h-ll is standard Christian belief.

    Stating that the deity destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their perversions is also standard Christian belief.

    Pointing out that if your 30% over you’re appropriate weight and smoke, you’re likely to cut your lifespan is “hateful & hurtful” if you’re an overweight smoker.

    As you’re backing into this saying anything you happen not to like is hateful & hurtful, but you personally persist with “Uncle” knowing it simply connotes a man of color who holds positions contrary to your own.

  46. Yes, as another person of color, I find that he culturally fits that.

  47. I believe that S & G were destroyed for their perversions, I don’t find that homosexuality is any part of that.

    Any person of color supporting the perversion associated with the current US administration is an Uncle Tom.

    Are you a person of color?

  48. I know nothing about the “modernist” movement within the church.

    But I do know that the folks who I described seem to be pretty serious about trying to understand the teachings of the church, as they understand them.

    And I know as well that the overwhelming majority of folks who regard themselves as “faithful Catholics” also pick and choose, e.g. using artificial birth control.

    And especially do I know that the management of the Catholic church picks and chooses what it believes. E.g. the OT describes stoning as a punishment for adultery, and I believe for blasphemy as well.

    And the OT prescribes some pretty horrific penalties for other transgressions and sins. But somehow, the men in the Vatican are able to pick and choose what they will honor and respect.

    And doesn’t the OT also say that religious folk are required to obey the civil law of the land? Funny how again the Vatican picks and chooses: financial crimes against the church, yes, sexual abuse of minors, no….

  49. So “Jesus”, too, is a “metaphor” to you, too, then. How dare you!

  50. It’s interesting that you seriously misread my comment. Where do you see me saying I think Jesus is a metaphor?

    Hmm…I wonder if you read the bible with the same level of understanding as you use when reading material reading contemporaneously.

    And in any case, yeah, you’re right…how dare I think for myself.

  51. Lol I knew you would pick someone like milo. Again, milo is like graham. Pick someone whose viewpoints are simply different (like a bush or McCain or will or any other conservative) not someone who is blatantly promoting uncivil discourse and hate speech. Why do you religious right wing cons constantly associate yourselves with the worst of humanity? Not pretty.

  52. Of course I think with milo you all secretly live his style and look and wish he were calling you a [email protected] while you sucked him off…just love this gay boy don’t ya?

  53. Another great example! I knew she would be brought up too. Again choose some people who have respectful dialogue with different viewpoints. They are out there and the speak at campuses all the time.

  54. I’m not sure what OT is.
    The men in the Vatican (and many priests) have either lost their faith or never had any when they entered the seminary. They don’t believe in the catechism or the church; so you have apostates responsible for the souls of men ignoring their responsibilities. THAT is the cause of these scandals and the movement toward modernism in the church. BTW – Modernism is essentially a movement to make the RCC more Protestant.
    Regarding the faithful Catholics you mention – Catholics in general are not taught their faith very well. I know this from my experiences as a kid, parent and now average parishioner. There is a lot to teach, much less understand- and Catholics in general aren’t big on staying after mass or putting in additional time to learn. And, the parishes generally have poor formation programs.
    Lastly, the rules of the church (and God) are the rules. Anyone who chooses otherwise will have to answer for that at judgement. We are all human after all.
    I am generally agreeing with you by the way.

  55. Too many points to respond to in your message, so I’ll limit myself to 4:

    1. OT = Old Testament.

    2. “The men in the Vatican (and many priests) have either lost their faith or never had any when they entered the seminary. They don’t believe in the catechism or the church;. . . ”

    And you know this…how? You read anecdotes of those individuals reporting on when they lost their faith? Or a survey or other piece of research? I’d sure love to know how you know so much about the minds of those folks.

    3. “THAT is the cause of these scandals.” It couldn’t be as simple as sin, to which all individuals are subject, according to church teaching?

    4. “Lastly, the rules of the church (and God) are the rules ”

    My understanding of human nature, and of religion (anyway, brands C and J) is that all human beings can blunder in one way or another. But it appears to me that you believe that god wanted blasphemers, adulterers, and others to be executed.


  56. The question is not what YOU find, the question is whether the belief that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for for their homosexual perversion is also standard Christian belief.

    If it is, then you’re grinding your axe because most Christians won’t buy your revisionism.

    The statement that “Any person of color supporting the perversion associated with the current US administration is an Uncle Tom.” is right in there with Silk’s “off the reservation” and a group of men wearing white sheets and hoods burning crosses.

    EVERYONE is some color.

  57. 2) Search the Internet and you’ll find numerous examples of priests that have lost their way; specifically those that are caught in sexual relationships. In addition, I have religious in my extended family who I speak with frequently. Unbeknownst to most people, they struggle from time to time throughout their career, just like us regular people do. Some priests believe and teach the catechism verbatim throughout their career; others, think the catechism is only a guideline. Some priests get 10, 15 years into the priesthood and are not sure they want to continue to be priests. But what do they do? Start a new career? Or ride it out until retirement? Sometimes, they face the same life decisions that we do.
    3) sin – yes. Also a conscious decision to stray from the teachings of the catechism.
    4). Of course not, don’t be silly. God wants a good and holy people; led by good and holy priest. Most of all, he sent his son to take away our sins.

  58. I don’t understand point 4. Isn’t the Old Testament the word of god? Doesn’t it say that adulterers and blasphemers should be executed? Do you want a specific citation? TTBOMK it’s right there in black and white. You seem to be saying those provisions of god’s will should be ignored. Please explain.

  59. Getting the story correct with an updated prayer:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2018: (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
    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.

    (references used are available upon request)

  60. “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

  61. I think that “standard Christian belief” will slowly change over the rest of this century and anyone who believes as you do will be dying out and taking your discriminatory beliefs with you. Most Christians are you old folks, you’ve already lost the kids, there aren’t likely enough of them who will adopt your hateful, divisive and discriminatory beliefs to pass them on to their own children & grandchildren.

    Perhaps do a little of the research for which you pride yourself and you will find that “Everyone is the same color” is a racist statement itself. It’s most often said by white folks who want to believe that they aren’t racist. The cure for racism isn’t pretending not to see our color, but not to allow color to be used as a reason to crush others under your heel.

  62. Franklin’s daddy was a mild-mannered jerk, but Franklin is an unabashed, Trump-toadying sleaze.

  63. His thought does spew American bible belt Americano evangelist espirito de Christo conjuring; however, while I comprehend the vehement hand to face because it appears to be a self evident truth he preaches more diplomacy then Catholic Christianity comprehension, those rejections of his presence and his thought speech cannot be comprhensively described with the phrase, hate speech.

  64. It is a very deep, incisive, and potent point, though, that, in Protestantism, and especially Bible belt evangelicalism, Islaam is more of a diplomatic “holier than my neighbor that is a non going church Yankee propaganda” then a description of reality.

  65. That being said, though, if the mind that reads these words, if they are not a follower of a monotheistic religion, either Islaam, Catholicism, Christianity, Sikhism, etc., any never adheres to a congregant community, their comprehension of the situation is so impoverished. Not impoverished in derogatory or insulting linguistic manner, but, impoverished and ignorant in the way a WW2 story from a vet is much more vivid and real then a historian. Where is the knowledge held better? The vet or the historian?

  66. That’s why Mccain was so attached to his non-conformist maverick ways. Abstract knowledge of existential moments is inept, silly, and foolish to prefer over someone who has actually experienced it.

  67. I think that “standard Christian belief” will reiterate itself in the USA and that anyone who believes as you do will be dying out and taking your post-Christian beliefs with you. Most Christians actually have their kids in church, often with the grandchildren, and they breed – unlike their post-Christian brethren.

    Since I wrote “Everyone is SOME color”, not”Everyone is the same color”, your point is not well-taken.

    The cure for racism is not perpetuating with terms like “Uncle Tom” will trying to strike a pose that it is not racist derogatory bigotry.

  68. With this guy, you’ll always see Billy, just like JT in Canada. I always see his Pops socialist ideological-nationalist itch.

  69. “Pointing out that if your 30% over you’re appropriate weight and smoke, you’re likely to cut your lifespan is “hateful & hurtful” if you’re an overweight smoker.”

    Not at all. Saying that overweight smokers should be ostracized and treated poorly is hateful and hurtful. Of course, you bring this up as somehow being equivalent to being gay, which is a false comparison. But even the statement you make is so problematic it had to be corrected.

  70. Bang on.

    You left out the part where he says….

    And send me money.

  71. Or both.

    It’s not a lie if you really, really, really believe it.

  72. Are you open-minded toward racist ideas? Are you open-minded toward murderers, thieves, liars and con-artists?

  73. Preaching condemnation of entire segments of humanity isn’t “having a different viewpoint”. Talk about stunted emotional intelligence…

  74. Disguising your bigotry as “standard Christian belief” is immoral.

  75. …and that is human progress. The only way to deal with bullies is to smack them down to the ground. Get used to it.

    In WW2, we bombed the s**t out of the Nazis. Now, according to you, we’re supposed to “tolerate” them, legitimize them, and allow them to infiltrate our society. NO.

  76. OK, where does it say (in effect) “ignore those penalties for adultery etc”?

    My recollection is that there is a passage where Jesus says that all the OT still applies.

  77. Parker, how do you think the Church came to recognize mistakes they had made – oh, in condoning slavery, or on the issue of charging interest, or on the idea that yes, the earth circles the sun? It took lay people showing the powers-that-be another view.

    At this point, 1000 years after the church made celibacy mandatory, the whole picture the powerful people of the Church have of lay people, families is something they can only imagine or remember from their own childhoods. But childhood memories of family life do not include the incredible experience of those who raise children to adulthood, learn to let them go into adulthood. They never learned to let go and they never learned that children – especially grown children – have a lot they can teach their parents about life as each generation experiences it. They have not lived the life they think they can make rules about, including family life and the sex life of men and women.

    Change comes when those who recognize the problems speak up and out and to each other and to those who think they have all the answer but have some of those answers wrong.

    Grow up and accept adult responsibility. You, too, are part of the priesthood and you have a responsibility to be something other than a doormat.

  78. Why lookee here: John 8: 1-11. My my my, Jesus stops the crowd from stoning the woman for adultery, and also admonishes her to “sin no more”. Kinda like how Conservative Christians act towards homosexuals. Christians acting Christ-like. Whooda thunk it?

  79. I see a few problems with your statement.

    For starters, you are ignoring a few obvious NT passages, such as Luke 16:17 (“It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.”), Matthew 5:17 (“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill…. until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”, Matthew 5:18-19 ( “….till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” –

    and others.

    So clearly I disagree with you (and in any case, don;’t you wonder why god changed his mind?).

    But for the sake of discussion, let us say that I agree with you.

    That still leaves the matter of blasphemy. Where do you claim that Jesus softened the penalty for blasphemy?

  80. Oh for crying out loud…

    Go to Deut.4, where the narrative you are drawing from begins:

    “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.”

    Are we Israelites? No, we are not. Do we possess the land of Israel? No, we do not. Therefore, the civil law of ancient Israel is irrelevant to us. As the Jerusalem Council decided 2000 years ago, no more is expected of us than was expected of any of the descendants of Noah — and the only criminal penalty recommended for them by scripture was a death penalty for murder.

    Has no one here EVER read the book of Acts??? Good grief!

  81. Those who donated to SP provided food, medicine etc. And Franklin’s obscenely large salary. All you need to read to be concerned about Franklin Graham is his own FB account. And Calli g that concern “hate” is a lie . Tell the truth sometime .It’s basic to the faith.

  82. We are not moral relativists. Some things are wrong you know? Like bearing false witness, as you’ve just done. Any chance of you repenting?

  83. As time moves on:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the “bowers”, kneelers” and “pew peasants” are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of “worthless worship” aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

  84. I have a theory as of last night, Ben, so pardon the sounding board, please. Here goes. Remember when after 9/11 his dad rallied Evangelicals in support of President George W. Bush’s War on Terror, Franklin went seemingly berserk with religious bigotry against Islam & Muslims? Now I know why. It’s so as to rally the rest of the Evangelicals in support of the next cycle of War on Terror under another Republican presidential administration. Evangelical voters are the key to success. Billy knew it then; Franklin knows it now.

    So I would say it’s not so much “money[ed]” Evangelicals the Graham Empire has been after at the behest of the Powers That Be, but voting Evangelicals!

  85. College campuses are where the exchange of ideas are supposed to occur. Again, you prove my point – todays liberals are not about the exchange of ideas. They are about imposing their ideas on others; by force if necessary. You sir, are the nazi.

  86. See, you throw that out as a way to stigmatize others. You refuse to debate the issues because it’s easier to resort to name calling.
    On the other hand, am I for capitalism, secure borders, a strong military, conservative judges and less regulation? Yes.

  87. I think you have a portion of it exactly.

    It’s what I keep saying. The holy trinity of that kind of evangelical.

    Power. Money. Dominion. Revenge.

  88. College campuses are no place for the ignorant ideas for which you stand. College campuses are about EDUCATION. You’re an uneducated bigot.

  89. “Me! Me! (raising my hand) I’m a person of color! And guess what? I’m biblically literate too!!”

    “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”
    — Ezekiel 16:49-50

    And by the way: Jesus NEVER apologized, nor backpedaled, on this historical event.

  90. Sounds like you hated Franklin’s daddy too.
    (These libbie UU folks sure are some Graham-haters!! )

  91. It looks like he deserved it in many respects.
    “There wasn’t a major Protestant leader in America who obstructed King’s Beloved Community more than Billy Graham did,” says Michael E. Long, author of “Billy Graham and the Beloved Community: America’s Evangelist and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

    “Graham’s legacy is definitely tarnished by the way he approached racial justice.”

  92. So you complain about the label, but make no effort to show it is in any way inaccurate or an untrue assessment of the views. Meaning you are a bigot who is just thin skinned about it being pointed out.

  93. Yes, let’s get some truth in here. Can’t let the Franklin-haters have all the fun, right?

    The Charity Navigator watchdog site gives Samaritan’s Purse “4 stars” with an overall 98.23 rating out of 100 (plus a GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency.) The ECFA watchdog site (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) lists both SP and BGEA. No money scandals.

    There’s actually only a few Franklin-Haters who, though not helping SP or BGEA themselves, somehow want to dictate to the SP and BGEA donors (like the donors you mentioned), how much money their own CEO (Franklin) should receive. But the donors ain’t falling for it.

    Franklin has been working great for over 30 years at the SP helm. SP is now #22 on the Forbes List (for charities). They do totally tangible compassion in 100+ countries. Franklin also turned out to be THE correct post-Billy-Graham leader of the BGEA. So the truth? The SP & BGEA members, donors, boards, actually WANT to pay Franklin a higher amount. Ooo-Wee !!

  94. I’m as open minded as they come. I just don’t agree with liberal ideas.
    Again, name calling.
    Let’s discuss the issues.

  95. Interesting.
    Your kind of education I suppose?
    You sir are a fascist.

  96. Of course not.that being said, can you discuss illegal immigration or Muslim terrorism without calling someone racist?
    Can you discuss abortion without calling someone sexist?
    You cannot because that is the liberals go to move. Don’t debate the issues. Don’t listen to others viewpoints or ideas. Don’t even imagine that there are other viable viewpoints.
    Just call people names that don’t agree with your version of reality.

  97. Excuse me while I get up from the floor from uproariously laughing at that statement.

  98. Now c’mon Spuddie. You know good & well, that Michael Long was smoking LSD mixed with Rat Poison (while simultaneously snorting Black Mold Spores from old HazMat Dumpsters), when he said that dirty lie about Billy Graham.

    Here’s the real truth: “I am deeply grateful to you for the stand which you have taken in the area of race relations. You have courageously brought the Christian gospel to bear on the question of race in all of its urgent dimensions. I am sure you will continue this emphasis in all of your preaching, for you, above any other preacher in America can open the eyes of many persons on this question.”

    — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., letter written to Graham on 08-31-1957

  99. Graham was a gay-hater. Oddly enough, the feeling is mutual.

  100. You’re not a real person of color. I shouldn’t have to explain to a person of color that discriminating against minorities is wrong.

  101. Franklin Graham is only in it for the MONEY he is loaded with CASH.

  102. If Franklin was like normal Preachers he should preach for free if he loves God so much. But he don’t he is loaded with Money how sad is that.

  103. You’re correct, I misread some as same.

    If you are not a person of color by today’s understanding of the phrase, there is no place for your opinion. You don’t get a seat at the table for the discussion of what is racist and what is not between people of color.

  104. Again, you and the angry dog prove my point. You can’t politely discuss ideas, you go right to vicious name calling and labeling.
    You’re weak minded cowards.

  105. “If you are not a person of color by today’s understanding of the phrase, there is no place for your opinion” also doesn’t fly.

  106. Lighten up. Yeah, you’re a bastion of civil discourse, riiiiiiiight!!! 🤪

  107. There is no name calling or labeling in my comment btw. We were not discussing ideas either – well you weren’t. You were just writing “milo” 😍

  108. You have yet to bring up an ‘issue’. The issue you chose to discuss is ‘liberals are not open minded’. Sorry but you’re working against yourself….

  109. Nope. I find they are much more credible on the subject of the Civil Rights Movement than yourself. You even considered wingnut Alveeda King to be a civil rights leader despite attacking civil liberties. Your judgment on the subject is less than credible.

    Your quote was also discussed in the CNN article. Graham ran from supporting King when it started to endanger his segregationist support base.

  110. Every knee shall bow, every word shall be accounted for, millions are praying for you. Is this not the madness in your method. Surely, this is the rational conclusion.

  111. The Law stood until the time of the New Covenant (“when all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18)): “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)

    Jesus not requiring stoning for an adulteress is an indication of how the Law was fading away and becoming obsolete. Do you seriously expect Jesus to go through all 613 laws of the Old Testament?

    Because it has now become obsolete, the Law is irrelevant to Christians. In addition to Hebrews, try reading Acts (as Shawnie5 below suggests).

  112. Your reality is unreality. Can you name a single government restriction that addresses the functions of the male body?

  113. No, I am merely an American who values freedom, morality and justice.

  114. You’re a person of color too? Well, congrats. I rather like it, don’t you?

    But having said that, my reply won’t change. “You gotta do better. Gotta get it right.”

  115. The world rejects Jesus, the church is dead.

    Truth of truths summed up in 3 seconds.

  116. In what sense or associated terms “Franklin Graham … is a H.U.C.K.S.T.E.R.”?

    Hmmm that’s a toughie. ‘Me see.


    Hey come to think of it, that’s actually a yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!

  117. What you said was, “Get a dictionary and look up the word ‘metaphor’ … Graham … spits in the face of Jesus every time he opens his mouth.”

    To which I then said and say again:

    Where. Is. The. “Spit”. ?.

    But if the word “spits” is a “metaphor” in your sentence, “Graham … spits in the face of Jesus every time he opens his mouth”; then so is “Jesus” and His “face”, too.

    How dare you “think” this way!

  118. No you don’t. You only value your version of it. You’re a stain on the constitution.

  119. Once again, wisdom of the ancients:
    “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”


    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was
    a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial
    rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the
    claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

  120. Uhh, sorry, I think your understanding of “metaphor” is flawed.

    Check out this definition:

    A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.

    This comes from:

    Is your understanding of the words of the bible as good as your understanding of “metaphor”?

    For that matter…did you even bother to look up the definition of metaphor before you decided to argue with me?

    And that raises what I think is a very interesting question:

    When you read some specific verse in the bible, do you ever check with scholarly sources to see what *their* understanding of that verse is?

    And as for “how dare I?”, well, I can understand your ire at someone thinking differently than you. Not unusual among…shall we say, “very strong believers”?

  121. Jesus is god, right? God was the author of the Levitical 613, right? So why wouldn’;t Jesus go through them?

    Aren’t you saying that Jesus (god) was selective in which commandments he revoked?

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I agree with you re not stoning adulterers.

    That still leaves the matter of stoning blasphemers, or gay men. Show me where Jesus cancelled those penalties.

    Or do you mean, that your reply above means that *all* god’s commandments are no longer valid? Which would mean the prohibition on blasphemy and men sleeping with men (or however it is worded in the Old Testament)?

  122. And what have you read about the Levitical 613? Can you cite some credible *scholarly* sources?–that is, material from scholars and not the poorly-educated hillbilly preachers who seem to populate Evangelicalville?

  123. And Mussolini made the trains run on time.

    FranklinBob Graham keeps fomenting hatred about gay people, transgender people, Muslims…please show me how this is consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

    His father, Billybob, was a racist (even a leading conservative “Christian” agrees with that–his name escapes me at this moment), a man who sucked up to TrickyDick Nixon, who kept his mouth firmly shut when TrickyDick was engaging in Jew hatred….FranklinBob learned well from his father.

  124. Why, Floydlee, you didn’t tell us you were a mindreader!

    IOW…how do you know that the folks you are talking about are “liberals”?

  125. Your argument reeks of simplicity and shallowness. And those appear to be the words of hell. No offensive to you, just the words. More then welcome to throw accusations at me or the government. Long Vive freedom of speech and thought in the West!

  126. yes, if this discourse is revolving around the idea of occupation.

  127. Could fuzzy wuzzy be a bear with hair to share for all at the fair? Or is he, a she, that is not the she in the thee? East West moral comapss

  128. Can’t tell you much about Evangelicals or their preachers, and don’t care, never having been an Evangelical myself. So your attempted insults do miss the mark, and fall rather flat.

    As for there being 613 laws in the Torah, see:

    “Judaism 101: A List of the 613 Mitzvot” at Don’t think there’s many “hillbilly preachers” at that sight.

    So I did not pull that number out of my butt; it is widely recognized.

  129. Ever visit a UU church, Howard?
    Ever visit UU more than once?
    Ever read religion articles from UU’s?

    Liberals. Next question?

  130. You’re not a real person of color. You’re a paid Russian troll.

  131. Silly man, just because Jesus did not advocate stoning someone for adultery does not mean He therefore approved of adultery. He most manifestly did not, as He told her to “Go, and sin no more”.
    The same would by extension apply to cases of blasphemy, homosexuality,etc. Jesus was concerned about the conversion and spiritual healing of people from their sins, not with stoning them. Christians today must follow His example.

  132. “How dare you ‘think’ this way!”?

    I guess it’s because I try to think for myself, and not parrot what “pastors” say. But having done that for many years, I understand that it’s upsetting to certain folks.

    I’d tell you what your comment says about you, but I doubt you’d believe me, so you might learn something interesting about yourself if you asked your fellow believers.

  133. Thank you (seriously) for setting me straight about your own beliefs.

    I’ve been aware of the Levitical 613 since an evangelical mentioned it to me, years ago. I never meant to suggest in any way that you made that up. What I did mean to suggest (and clearly I suspected you were an evangelical–my apologies) is that for the most part, evangelicals are (? blissfully?) i(? or perhaps willfully?) ignorant of the benefits of scholarship and reading the views of scholars when it comes to biblical matters.

    To *fully* understand any portion of either testament (or, indeed, any ancient religious document) takes more than “simple reading”.

  134. I am fond of UUs. There are a few classic jokes about UUs, the gist of most of which is (accurately) that UUs are highly curious and non-dogmatic. Perhaps that is what you’re referring to? Actually….it probably is.

    My experience has been that most of the time, those who don’t like liberals are disturbed by and experience anxiety from their non-dogmatic approach to issues, their willingness to question “accepted ideas”, and so on. And I suppose that ap[proach to life and to issues *can* be very disturbing to some folks.

    I cannot recall ever reading any material from any UU source. But I am on the mailing list of the Baptist Joint Committee, and enjoy the material I get from it. And I do occasionally read material from Catholic sources; and even from evangelical sources, too.

  135. BillyBob preached his own…shall we say, “peculiar”, “non-mainstream” version of Christianity.

    Are you aware of his (in)famous performance in the Oval Office when Pres. TrickyDick Nixon was ranting about Jews?

  136. I think it would be useful, and educational, to take this discussion of “libs vs conservatives” to some forum where it’s more appropriate (i.e., some forum other than one devoted to religious topics).

    Do you (or anyone reading this message) know of any such?

    Pending that info, if would be useful to me if you could identify a few beliefs that in your view characterize “libbies”. Say, 5?

  137. Your phrase “by extension” tells us a lot about your wishes for what Jesus said, and your understanding of the text.

    Similarly, your calling me “silly man” reveals an enormous amount about the way you understand and follow the teachings of Jesus.

    This is one of the things I love about fora like this–it allows believers to demonstrate for all to see how they understand the teachings of Jesus.

    Why don’t you say a few words about your understanding of the way Jesus said to treat others?–including those who disagree with you?

  138. Sorry, I disagree. Any particular reason you didn’t mention the following?

    Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished’ (Matthew 5:18).

    That one strikes me as particularly strong.

    Or this: The Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35)

    Maybe best of all, this:

    In Matt. 15:3, he refers to scripture as ‘the commandment of God’

  139. Go back and read what I wrote again. It appears to have flown directly over your head.

  140. On the contrary, I read it carefully, but it does not address the points I made above.

  141. Most certainly it does. It matters not one whit how long the Law stands if one is not among those to whom it was given.

  142. The words of Jesus I quoted–in at least 3 places, and I believe there are more–could not be more plain.

    There are some people who find them inconvenient, and want to be able to pick and choose what words of god from the Bible are applicable: stoning for adultery, no, hating gays and transgender people, OK, non-marital sex, no, and so on.

    I’ve run into lots of folks who claim to obey the New Testament. Funny thing, only a tiny minority of them–those mostly in West Virginia–are willing to handle poisonous snakes and drink poison, as the NT says is OK. And so on.

    In other words..cafeteria Christians, picking and choosing according to what their emotions (mostly hate and fear) tell them.

  143. Deut. 4 could not be more plain, either. And it is part of the Law.

  144. I have been observing religious folks for many years. One thing I’ve found–CONSISTENTLY– is that they are highly adept at picking the verses they want to honor or obey, aid ignoring the others or pretending they are not applicable..

    If you’d like, I will be happy to send you some poison that you can ingest, so that you can demonstrate how much god loves you:

    Mark 16:17: And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”.

    Whaddya say, Shawnie? Interested? Or do you maintain this verse also does not apply?

  145. Tell you what, Shawnie:

    Let’s arrange to meet. I’ll bring my camera, of course, to document the results of your ingesting the poison.

    I will bring the poison to you and watch you ingest it. If you live, I’ll give $100 to your favorite charity. If you don’t make it, I’ll contribute that $100 to your funeral expenses. And of course, I’ll publicize this matter if you survive. (If you agree, I’ll have to check out a few things with my lawyer, of course.)

    I’m available the first 3 weeks of October. Think of how much you will advance Christianity by very publicly doing what Matthew talks about. Do we have a deal?

    Mark 16:17: And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

  146. (Time-wise, this is the third of the replies to you.)

    I heard from my lawyer. He does mainly T+E (trusts & estates), so he’s basically near-totally ignorant on this. Here’s what he said:

    You zany guy! As you can appreciate, this is entirely new and foreign to me, so for sure you should check with an expert if you really plan to proceed (I believe I can refer you to one).

    I can tell you three things definitely:

    i. if you are crazy enough to proceed with this (and knowing you, I think you might be), the obvious first step is to have the other individual sign a statement about what’s going on, and have it notarized.

    ii. You should certainly obtain the poison through legitimate channels.

    iii. I do not approve of this, and you are certainly placing yourself in serious legal jeopardy if you proceed.

    No charge for this advice! Let me know what happens.

    So whaddya say, Shawnie? If you can’t show me where this verse is retracted, are you on for this demonstration of your faith?

  147. Really, Howard? “Signs” such as you describe accompanied the APOSTLES in order to authenticate the gospel and promote its spread: “The things that mark an apostle — signs, wonders and miracles — were done among you with great perseverance.” (2 Cor.12:12). We do not require these signs today for the same reason scripture is no longer being written today — the apostles are no longer among us. .

    Ran out of arguments about the “Law,” did we? Is that why it is necessary to resort to foolishness?

  148. If I were an apostle, sure. I might even contribute some scripture while was at it. Unfortunately, that era ended when John died.

    Now are you going to explain where and when the Mosaic Law was given to Gentiles?

  149. What you say about the need for reading the views of scholars is true. I would only add that one should not limit that to modern scholars, but also consider ancient and medieval scholars as well.

  150. Well, I certainly don’t claim to be a biblical scholar on these matters, so I rely on the views of serious, respected authors and scholars, such as (for example) John Dominick Crossan, or Bart Ehrman, or Randall Balmer, or a John Shelby Spong–someone of that calibre.

    My approach to matters of knowledge like this has always been that I hate to have incorrect knowledge, and I am grateful to anyone who can correct any misunderstanding I have of any subject.

    So if you could find me some serious, respected scholar who agrees with you, (and of course, cite the relevant material by that scholar or author), that would go a very long way to convincing me and educating me. And of course, I would thank you for that.

  151. I know *almost* nothing about that. It would certainly appear that Mosaic law was given to the Jews. (Though any reasonable person certainly has to wonder why god would include some of those nutty ideas in the OT. OTOH, anthropologists can explain quite a bit of it.)

    HOWEVER, notwithstanding that Mosaic law was (so it appears) given to the Jews, nevertheless ttbomk Xianity has in one form or another accepted large portions of it. A good example is the prohibition of a man lying with a man–afaik Jesus said nothing about that.

    (Indeed, that raises an interesting question: If Jesus told the adulterous woman “go thou and sin no more”, how is it that there is still a penalty for it?)

  152. I guess we differ on the meaning of “when all is accomplished”. To me, that means, literally, “the end of time”.

    If “the law” (i.e. mosaic law) was fading away, does that include the prohibition on homosexuality, which afaik is part of Mosaic law, but is not mentioned anywhere by Jesus?

  153. To all the posters here, I just want you to know that God loved you so much that he gave his only son, Jesus, so that you could be forgiven of your sins and have eternal life. I pray that you turn to Jesus, ask for forgiveness of our sins and ask Jesus to save you. personal relationship with Jesus is what we all need.

  154. Jesus said nothing about the penalty being wrong. But the charge was not brought properly under the Torah on the one hand, and on the other hand the Romans had removed from the Jews the power to execute on their own authority. Most people miss exactly what was going on in that story. It was meant to be quite a clever trap that Jesus brilliantly turned against the would-be trappers themselves.

    As for the Mosaic Law, the Jewish Christians of the Jerusalem Church retained the prohibitions on sexual immorality for Gentile converts because the Torah records that God judged and rejected the Gentile nations for these practices long before there was ever a Torah. It is part of the more generalized Noahide law which predated the Torah — indeed, predating Israel itself.

  155. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to agree or disagree with anything you state.

    However, one question did occur to me, which perhaps you can address:

    my understanding of Xianity is that it (like virtually all religions) makes masturbation a sin, because of Onan–in Old Testament law.

    So where does the NT say masturbation is a sin? (I am asking this seriously.)

  156. What, exactly, does your post have to do with FranklinBob Graham? What does it have to do with the fact that LOTS of Christians, regardless of political views, despise him for his perversion of true Christianity?

    Where does Jesus say you should hate and lie about other religions and their followers?

  157. The NT doesn’t refer to masturbation.

    The sin of Onan had nothing to do with masturbation (the text doesn’t even indicate that any masturbation was involved; he was having relations with his new wife. It was his refusal to provide an heir for his dead brother as was his familial obligation.

  158. That’s what *you* say (and I agree with what you say), but somehow, that thought does not seem to have gotten through to a few Xian denominations…such as, oh, the Catholic church, and I am pretty sure almost all Prots.

    And my best guess for that is that those denoms seek to exert some control over members, and prohibiting masturbation is a start at that.

  159. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    Were I being silly, I would want someone to alert me to that fact, so I could correct my silliness. Just as I do unto you.

  160. Of course, another important aspect of the discussion we’ve been having is the origin, and accuracy, of biblical texts.

    For example, NT texts quite often contradict each other. And we know that part of the reason for that is that (from what I’ve read in scholarly sources) many early copyists had no hesitation about inserting their own ideas into texts they were copying.

  161. The gospels were akin to depositions of witnesses. They would be LESS credible, not more, if they agreed word for word. They do not conflict, but they are not identical because they come from different people with different perspectives, who focused on different details, and were writing to different audiences with different priorities.

    I answered your objection about the Mosaic law, and do not wish at this time to be drawn into a long back-and- forth about the reliability of the gospels, which can go on for days but has been addressed on this site many times already. I wish you good day.

  162. It would be VERY interesting & useful to me if you would explain in more detail.

    It seems to me that, all other things being equal, more recent scholarship has (at least) 2 benefits over older scholarship: more info is known, and later scholarship has the advantage of taking advantage of ideas about reasoning that might have been unknown earlier. (I’m thinking of concepts such as the difficulty of proving a negative, which, at least formally, dates only from ~1960 or so.)

  163. I’m having a great deal of difficulty understanding your argument.

    Here are the problems I have with your argument:

    1. It seems to me that you could argue either that god inspired the gospel writers, OR that they were simply observers who reported what they saw.

    If god inspired them, why would he “inspire” accounts that disagree?

    If god did not inspire them, why do you accord such credibility to them?

    And if they agreed in every detail, the argument would be just the reverse of the conventional argument which you used. The argument would go something like this: “Eye witnesses are notoriously bad at observing and remembering. What are the chances that 3 eyewitnesses would agree in every detail?…”

    Does it seem to you that there’s something very wrong with 2 arguments that comes to the same conclusion even when the starting premises are totally opposite?

    2. In any case, how do you decide which account to believe on which matter, given that they disagree?

    3 The gospels are NOT statements of eyewitnesses. To the best of my knowledge, all serious scholars agree that they were written 40 years and more after the death of Jesus.

    If you can find any claims by serious scholars that they were written contemporaneously, by eye=witnesses, I’d love to see citations to those argument.

    Meanwhile, here are 3 citations I found (among literally hundreds) to material claiming that serious scholars agree the gospels are NOT contemporaneous eyewitness statements; these strike me as worth reading and an excellent starting point:

    Wiki, of course, is hardly a scholarly source, but you will find lots of citations to credible sources at the end of the article.

    4. TTBOMK *all* serious scholars agree that the gospels were re-written by copyists who had no compunctions about altering what they read, and then they were re-written and altered again by other copyists, and so on, numerous times.

    If you disagree, see if you can find me a SERIOUS scholar to accepts them as original, eyewitnesss accounts.

    5. In any case, police, and scientists who study memory, will tell you that after the passage of even ONE HOUR, memory starts degrading.

  164. You might have spared yourself a lot of typing if you had read what I wrote more carefully. I never conceded that the gospels “disagree,” for they do not. I said they are not IDENTICAL. In the gospel of John, where Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, He never said that the Spirit would dictate to His witnesses outside of their experience but would bring everything they had experienced to their REMEMBRANCE. And no two witnesses are are going to remember an event in exactly the same manner for each will focus on different details of the same scenario. This does not mean that they disagree. Word-for-word agreement would indicate collusion, and that would reduce credibility.

    But you have certainly bought into considerable atheist propaganda, Howard. I had to laugh when I read that “ALL serious scholars agree” that the gospels were written at least 40 years after Jesus. Most assuredly there is no lack of “serious scholars” who accept both earlier dates of the gospels AND the traditional authors. Scholars like Univ. of St. Andrews’ N.T. Wright, Cambridge’s Richard Bauckham, Denver Seminary’s Craig Blomberg, Duke Divinity school’s Richard Hays, CTU’s Donald Senior to name a few off the top of my head. Not to mention the work of the late scholars John A.T. Robinson, Fr. Reginald Fuller and Carson Thiede that shed light on previous assumptions about the dating of the gospels which inevitably leads to reconsideration of assumptions about authorship.

    The one and only reason why so many “scholars” reject the traditional authors of the gospels is simply because they do not believe that Jesus could have foretold the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and therefore the accounts must have been written after that fact. That’s it. That is all the objections stand upon. Everything else is window-dressing designed to convince one’s scholarly peers that one is presenting some “fresh” and “innovative” new view of the subject, because that is how things work in academia which has its own kind of “rat race” just like the corporate world does. Do not be so easily impressed.

    Now, Howard, by your own admission you do not know a great deal about this subject. Why, then, is it important to you to sell the atheist propagandist’s view of it?

  165. Typical response for those who have a desperate need to believe a non-ambiguous interpretation of a text, in this case a biblical test–cry “atheist!”

    Out of curiosity (which *I* have, and which most folks with a “strong need to believe” lack) I shall check out the references you cite, to see what they say and to see how many are accepted as serious scholars. Me, I am very fond of folks like Spong, Ehrman, et al.

  166. Fine, but you did not answer my question. Why is it important to you to sell the atheist propagandist view of the gospels?

    I would also add, why in the world would you go into what is clearly, for you, not an honest request for information but a debate about a subject without already substantially knowing your opponents’ arguments, evidence and sources? That is a very careless approach to argumentation, FYI.

  167. I’m sorry, but your comment about “atheist propagandist” is itself silly propagandist nonsense.

    Serious, respected scholars, some of them believers, –in fact, one of them an evangelical, if I’m recalling correctly!–agree that the gospels were written many years after the death of Jesus. As well, you did not dispute my comments about things like memory, about the fact that it is widely believed to be true that copyists inserted their own ideas, that you can decide that either god inspired the gospels or they were written by mortals, that the bible as we know it was a result of negotiations conducted 300 years later, when the canon of the bible was decided, and so on and so on.

    So it’s **extremely** interesting that you regard views that differ from yours as “atheist” and “propaganda”. WOW, talk about fear and judgementalism! That reveals an enormous amount about your thinking . Just about everything I need to know about you and your abilities to reason clearly and accurately, in fact.

    So thank you for reinforcing once again phenomena and characteristics we’ve all seen, many times, in evangelicals and literalists and other “strong believers”.

  168. So far I’ve checked out one of your claims, regarding Bauckham, who you claim is a scholar.

    I have not yet checked out his “scholarly credentials”. However, I did find one item he’d written, at this link:

    I have not yet read the whole thing, but here is one very revealing sentence from his paper:

    So the role of the women in Mark’s narrative not only shows that they were key eyetienesses themselves on whose testimony Mark drew (perhaps via Peter), but it also supports the view that Mark’s principal eyewitness in the rest of the Gospel narrative was Peter.

    So do you see that, Shawnie? Even this Bauckham, who you cite in support of your ideas, does not cite Mark as an eyewitness!

    Please do post more material in support of your arguments. Your material is in fact most enlightening!

  169. No duh Mark was not an eyewitness. No one has ever claimed that he was. You actually had to look that up to find it out? Why did you not know all this already?

    By traditional accounts two of the gospel writers were eyewitnesses and two wrote from the accounts of eyewitnesses.

    Howard, I’ve already stated that I do not wish to dialogue for days about the reliability of the gospels. I’ve done that before and so have others, and at present I do not have the time for it. But by all means search for more information. A few scholars will lead you to more scholars and more evidence.
    There is far more out there than you would gather from reading atheist echo chambers — or worse yet, people who read people who read atheist echo chambers.

  170. It’s quite interesting that you used the word “propagandist”, because my research so far regarding Craig Blomberg shows that *he* is in fact a propagandist!

    His organization, this “seminary”, is in fact a bunch of evangelical/literalist/inerrantist propagandists, as is he!

    That’s fascinating to me because so often, those who make allegations against others are engaging in what’s called “projecting”, i.e. attributing their views to those who are in one way or another their opponents. (We see this exceptionally clearly in the case of our president Don-the-con, who, every time he makes an allegation against someone else, is actually talking about his own behavior and ideas.)

    I’ve done very preliminary research on Hayes, of Duke Divinity, and he appears to be the real deal–serious, respectable education, and a very lengthy list of publications. I’ll look for a publication of his in which he argues for the credibility of the Synoptic gospels.

  171. So, now it’s “serious, respected scholars,” which no one disputes. Before, it was “all serious scholars agree..” which is demonstrably propaganda.

    And the oft-repeated claims about the “bible as we know It” being negotiated 300 years after the fact is more propaganda, probably a result of the popularity of The Da Vinci Code and the belief of gullible people that it was fact-based. We know from ancient writings, most notably the Muratorian Fragment, that the canon of the NT was already set (with the exception of James and the Petrine epistles) by the middle of the 2nd century AD. The “cutting room floor of Nicea” is 100 percent pop myth.

    I know I am a big meany for interrupting the scoffers’ love fest around here and requiring them to actually examine their assertions and assumptions that they happily upvote each other for all day long. If I seem judgmental about all of this it is because I have seen and heard all these tired canards umpteen times over the years and the same people who get them refuted today will offer them tomorrow without skipping a beat. That is because most are not at all interested in getting at any truth but in selling the atheist view and converting more of the unlearned to it.

    Perhaps you have a different reason for wanting to sell it…for the third time, what is it?

  172. 1. I have no knowledge whatsoever of the Da Vinci code and the other things you mention.

    2. A few moments ago I contacted Prof. Hays to ask for references to his work in the areas we’ve been discussing.

    3. I commend you re your use of language. (Please do not interpret this as condescension. Your use of language certainly deserves an accolade.)

    4. Your last sentence is quite interesting, and once again is very typical of evangelicals, “true believers”, etc.

    My interest is *purely* curiosity, and enhancing my understanding of these matters. PURELY. I have no POV to sell in any way. But thank you for once again demonstrating one of the reliable characteristics we’ve seen many times in true believers–in this case, skepticism of the motives of others.

    And FYI, I am devout: I am a devout empiricist, pragmatist, realist, curious person.

  173. Shawnie, here is another interesting thing I read in that material written by Bauckham
    ( at ) :

    He writes “. . . two of the Gospels do, on the face of it, claim to be closely related to eyewitness testimony . . .the author [of GLuke] says he received his traditions ‘from those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning’ “.

    In other words, Bauckham admits even Luke (who I have not read in a long time does not claim to have been an eyewitness!

    Another name for that is “hearsay”.

    Thank you for helping me educate myself. I look forward to reading more of your comments in these pages of material from

  174. I was thinking about your phrase “atheist propaganda”.

    Is everyone who disagrees with you on some religious issue a victim of “atheist propaganda”?

  175. I never said you have any knowledge of the Da Vinci Code. I said that the pop myth about Nicea, which you have clearly bought into wholeheartedly, probably comes from it.

    As to skepticism of the motives of others, allow me to refer you to your previous posts to me, as well as your slander of Dr. Blomberg, whose prestigious educational record surpasses even that of Dr. Hays.

    But good luck getting a response from Dr. Hays. Ask him about his opinion of the ideas of John Boswell, while you’re at it. Once you do, you’re probably going to have to come up with a reason to slander his credentials, as well. 😀

    I’m glad you are curious, for you have a long way to go.

  176. And who claimed that Luke was an eyewitness?

    As I already stated, neither Mark nor Luke were ever alleged to be eyewitnesses but gathered their material from eyewitnesses. It is rather funny that you present this like it is something new.

    As for hearsay… for some purposes the gospels are not hearsay at all. For other purposes, they fall within a number of well-known and accepted exceptions to hearsay.

  177. No, just people who make patently false statements about what “all serious scholars” believe.

  178. It’s hearsay. Therefore as “fact” it’s highly questionable. Except, of course, to true believers.

  179. There are a bunch of criteria that are usually used to evaluate the workd of scholars. One of them is how much the individual has published. Another is whether or not the individual works at a serious, widely-respected institution known for its objective approach to scholarship.

    No doubt I should have said something like “the vast majority of scholars believe…”

  180. Regardless of how much education he might have, once you join an institution like that seminary where he works, you have given up all pretense of objectivity and serious scholarship.

  181. Apparently you are unaware that hearsay is introduced into evidence in court every single day. Lawyers are well trained in how to get it in.

  182. If his studies have led him to positions which are in general agreement with the values of the institution that employs him, that does nothing to disparage his credentials — or make him a propagandist like you have proved to be.

    I don’t hold Alan Dershowitz’s work on the Dream Team against him — the man certainly knows his stuff backwards and forwards even if he’s put it to use in ways I don’t care for.

  183. The problem is not that his studies have led him to positions etc….it’s that his values, and the values of his employer, are what have led him to his positions. It’s well-known that if you arrive at the “wrong” conclusions while working at such a place, your job is over.

    As to Dershowitz…a very sad situation indeed. Makes me wonder if he’s got some sort of mental problem. (Are you aware that, for example, certain kinds of brain tumors can turn perfectly normal folks into folks with a strong interest in child porn? To state that more broadly, disease, esp. tumors, can exert horrible effects on people.)

    I will probably be out of touch for the next 6 days.

  184. But I have not “bought into” it. My views have not changed since I first learned of this stuff probably 30 years ago. I form my own conclusions. As I stated, I am a devout empiricist and realist. I know how to read texts critically. And I know about human behavior, especially including things like the fallibility of eyewitnesses, fallibility of memory, and so on.

    It certainly appears that you regard anyone who differs from your views on theology/religion matters as (at the very least) sadly mislead–if not worse.

  185. “I form my own conclusions.” And several of them have been demonstrably false.

    “I know how to read texts critically.” You might do better to learn to read for comprehension first.

    “It certainly appears that you regard anyone who differs from your views on theology/religion matters as (at the very least) sadly mislead–if not worse.”
    No, as already stated, only people who make patently false and propagandist statements. Again, read for comprehension.

  186. Dr. Blomberg wrote his book The Historical Reliability of the Gospels immediately after his doctoral studies at Aberdeen and during a stint at Cambridge.

    It wasn’t a brain tumor that put Dershowitz on O.J.’s defense team or he would be dead by now.

    No need to post further to me when you return. I have other things to do and have lost interest in the exchange, which has meandered far from the original point and into very old and tired ground. Goodbye.

  187. If you are open minded then read what God has to say about being gay. I got news for you ..He doesn’t like it .. read your Bible and pray the Lord have mercy on you. It’s God,man, woman, and family. If you don’t agree you are fighting against God Almighty.

  188. He actually doesn’t say anything about being gay (newsflash – he can’t write). But what men have written about gays in the Bible certainly doesn’t indicate he God has anything against gays.

  189. He who has ears to hear let him hear. I guess you don’t hear Gods’

  190. I thought I had made it clear that I was from from knowledgeable about the contents of the OT & NT–which is why I rely on experts to help me understand what I’m reading.

    I am not a lawyer, and I certainly would never claim to have any expertise on the subject of hearsay.

    My understanding of hearsay is that it is *generally* inadmissible. though there are some clearly-specified exceptions.

    Since you say elsewhere that the synoptic gospels are such an exception, it would help me better understand them, and indeed the bible in general, if you could tell me the basis for the exception.

  191. Obviously, we differ as to your and my level of comprehension. Differences in the understanding of texts occur constantly–especially when the texts are so old, and have been translated several times.

    So it’s interesting that you are so sure that your understanding is right and mine is wrong.

  192. 1. For most court testimony, hearsay is prohibited. Whether the lawyer on the opposing side detects hearsay, and objects to it, is a matter of human performance and skill and competence, not of law.

    2. As I commented elsewhere, my (admittedly small) knowledge of law is that *some* exceptions to the prohibition on hearsay are in fact legally acceptable. I hope you will tell me what aspects of the synoptic gospels meet those criteria.

  193. There are more than twenty different exceptions to hearsay in the Federal Rules of Evidence alone, one of which, ancient documents, takes care of the gospels nicely along with most other documents that date from before 1998.

    Other statements recorded within the gospels fall into other hearsay exceptions such as excited utterances, present sense impressions, statements of physical or mental state, statements of family history (the genealogies of Christ), and others. And that is not even to mention the final exception to hearsay, which is simply that the judge finds it sufficiently trustworthy and probative that its admission serves the interests of justice.

    The hearsay argument, however, is usually offered up by “Jesus-mythers” who want to claim that there is no “credible evidence” that Jesus ever existed but who almost universally know nothing about the nature of hearsay. For their purposes the gospels do not meet the definition of hearsay at all, for they are not offered to prove that all of the statements contained within them are true but simply that the person whose life they describe existed — for the mere existence of four different 1st century biographies of a 1st century person is strongly indicative that such a person existed.

    I do not expect this to get through, as it is a subtle difference that even law students, who have through extensive admissions testing demonstrated reading comprehension and logical thinking skills, often find difficult to get their heads around when beginning their studies of evidence.

    Feel free to lodge any parting objection to this you please, as I have already told you I have lost interest in the subject and shall not respond to you again.

  194. Uhh, sorry, not exactly. You are so eager to accept the historicity of the gospels that you overlooked a key phrase.

    from :

    (16) Statements in Ancient Documents. A statement in a document that was prepared before January 1, 1998, and whose authenticity is established [is exempt from the prohibition on hearsay]

    Do you see those last 4 words?–“whose authenticity is established” ?

    In order to make your case, you have to demonstrate that the authenticity of the gospels is established.

    Please tell me where the “authenticity of the gospels is established”. I think it;’s only in the minds of true believers.

    I don’t care if you answer this or not; but I have to thank you for bringing up this matter and helping me educate myself.

    It’s fascinating to me how folks who are “true believers” so often manage to miss important words and phrases.

  195. Rule 901(b) (8): Ancient documents are sufficiently authentic to be admissible if they are (1) in such a condition as to create no suspicion concerning their authenticity; (2) in a place where, if authentic, they would be expected to be; and (3) have been in existence 20 years or more at the time they are offered into evidence.

    The earliest known copies of Luke and Mark, to which you have primarily objected, date to no later than AD 225, and were found in Egypt. Even earlier fragments of Matthew have been found in the holy land itself and of John also in Egypt. When compared to the thousands of existing copies of the gospels that we have from antiquity and from diverse places, it is clear that we have the same gospels that the early church had.

    The founder of Harvard Law School himself, during the absolute lowest point in the history of “higher biblical criticism,” when scholars believed all sorts of claims about the gospels that archaeology has debunked, found no problem with the gospels and the ancient documents exception. There is even less problem now.


  196. Once again, Shawnie, I must thank you. Our discussion has raised my curiosity about this entire matter ([grin] perhaps I should curse you, since I already have curiosity that’s so high it’s robbing me of time), and I am writing to several major denominations and looking for the views of serious, respected scholars re the authenticity and accuracy of the gospels.

    I believe also you are skipping entirely over the matter of the authenticity of the gospels. The research to whichg you allude is very old, obviously; and a date of aD 225 is awfully old relative to the life of Jesus.

Leave a Comment