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10 Reasons the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense

I’m afraid that the crucifixion story doesn’t strike me as that big a deal.

The Christian will say that death by crucifixion was a horrible, humiliating way to die. That the death of Jesus was a tremendous sacrifice, more noble and selfless than a person sacrificing himself for the benefit of a butterfly. And isn’t it worth praising something that gets us into heaven?

Here are ten reasons why I’m unimpressed.

1. Sure death sucks, but why single out this one? Lots of people die. In fact, lots died from crucifixion. The death of one man doesn’t make all the others insignificant. Was Jesus not a man but actually a god? If so, that has yet to be shown.

It’s not like this death is dramatically worse than death today. Crucifixion may no longer be a worry, but cancer is. Six hours of agony on the cross is pretty bad, but so is six months of agony from cancer.

2. What about that whole hell thing? An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison, and it counts for nothing when you consider the billions that are apparently going to hell.

3. Jesus didn’t even die. The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection. If Jesus died, there’s no miraculous resurrection, and if there’s a resurrection, there’s no sacrifice through death. Miracle or sacrifice—you can’t have it both ways. The gospels don’t say that he died for our sins but that he had a rough couple of days for our sins.

4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric. We didn’t do anything to get original sin. We just inherited it from Adam. So why do we have to do anything to get the redemption? If God demands a sacrifice, he got it. That’s enough. Why the requirement to believe to access the solution?

5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense. Why blame Adam for a moral lapse that he couldn’t even understand? Remember that he hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so who could blame him when he made a moral mistake?

And how can we inherit original sin from Adam? Why blame us for something we didn’t do? That’s not justice, and the Bible agrees:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal. Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill. It’s unremarkable since he’s only acting out his nature. What else would you expect from a perfect being?

But imagine if I sacrificed myself for someone. In the right circumstance, I’d risk my life for a stranger—or at least I hope I would. That kind of sacrifice is very different. A selfish, imperfect man acting against his nature to make the ultimate unselfish sacrifice is far more remarkable than a perfect being acting according to his nature, and yet people make sacrifices for others all the time. So why single out the actions of Jesus? Aren’t everyday noble actions by ordinary people more remarkable and laudable?

7. What is left for God to forgive? The Jesus story says that we’ve sinned against God (a debt). Let’s look at two resolutions to this debt.

(1) God could forgive the debt of sin. You and I are asked to forgive wrongs done against us, so why can’t God? Some Christians say that to forgive would violate God’s sense of justice, but when one person forgives another’s debt, there’s no violation of justice. For unspecified reasons, God doesn’t like this route.

And that leaves (2) where Jesus pays for our sin. But we need to pick 1 or 2, not both. If Jesus paid the debt, there’s no need for God’s forgiveness. There’s no longer anything for God to forgive, since there’s no outstanding debt.

Here’s an everyday example: when I pay off my mortgage, the bank doesn’t in addition forgive my debt. There’s no longer a debt to forgive! Why imagine that God must forgive us after he’s already gotten his payment?

8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology. Jesus’s sacrifice was small compared to the Greek god Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to humanity. Zeus discovered the crime and punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock so that a vulture could eat his liver. Each night, his liver grew back and the next day the vulture would return, day after agonizing day. The gospel story, where Jesus is crucified once and then pops back into existence several days later, is unimpressive by comparison.

9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.” This is the 21st century. Must Iron Age customs persist so that we need a human sacrifice? If God loves us deeply and he wants to forgive us, couldn’t he just … forgive us? That’s how we do it, and that’s the lesson we get from the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father forgives the son even after being wronged by him. If that’s the standard of mercy, why can’t God follow it? Since God is so much greater a being than a human, wouldn’t he be that much more understanding and willing to forgive?

If we were to twist the Prodigal Son parable to match the crucifixion story, the father might demand that the innocent son be flogged to pay for the crime of the prodigal son. Where’s the logic in that?

10. The entire story is incoherent. Let’s try to stumble through the drunken logic behind the Jesus story.

God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. Living a sinless life is impossible, so hell becomes unavoidable. That is, God creates people knowing for certain that they’re going to deserve eternity in hell when they die. Why create people that he knew would be destined for eternal torment?

But don’t worry—God sacrificed Jesus, one of the persons of God (whatever that means), so mankind could go to heaven instead.

So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? I can’t even understand that; I certainly feel no need to praise God for something so nonsensical. It’s like an abused wife thanking her abuser. We can just as logically curse God for consigning us to hell from birth.

Perhaps I can be forgiven for being unimpressed by the crucifixion story.

Jesus died for my sins?
Tell him I said thanks.
(Seen on a bumper sticker)

At least when Elvis died for my sins,
he stayed dead!
(Seen on another bumper sticker)

(This is a modified version of a post originally published 11/23/11.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Jason

    I’m not a Christian , but as an exercise in understanding the Christian point of view, I am going to respond to each of Bob’s points as if I am indeed a Christian. My responses are a sincere attempt to articulate the Christian point of view. If there are any Christians in the audience, please tell me how I’m doing. Which points are strong and which are not?

    1. Sure death sucks, but why single out this one?

    Well, because Jesus was perfect and so he did not deserve death. That’s why it was such an ultimate sacrifice. Bob, just because you haven’t realized that Jesus was divine doesn’t make it untrue.

    2. What about that whole hell thing? An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison

    Yes, but those who end up in hell are responsible for not accepting God/Jesus. The death of Jesus is a free call to anyone who will accept. So yeah, eternity in hell is worse than a day on the cross, but Jesus was innocent and those who go to hell aren’t.

    3. Jesus didn’t even die.

    If you don’t think Jesus was resurrected, then you’re in denial. Way too many people testified to his existence after his public death.

    4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric.

    Jesus was the new Adam. Actually this is very symmetrical.

    5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense.

    It’s in our nature to sin as descendants of Adam. Adam had free will. So do we. Something big had to happen to reverse this, and the voluntary death of the son of God was just the thing.

    6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal. Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill…But imagine if I sacrificed myself for someone.

    Exactly, this is why it is important for us to take Jesus as a model. WWJD!

    7. What is left for God to forgive?

    Don’t question god’s plan!
    (Okay, seriously, I’m having a hard time with this one. Please help.)

    8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology.

    You said it: those other stories about Prometheus, etc are myths. Most of them have no historical evidence whatsoever and seem to have been told for hundreds of years before they were written down. You may question the reliability of the gospels, but they were written within about a century of Jesus’ death and show that many many people witnessed these events. Surely the gospels would have been rejected earlier on if they were untrue since eyewitnesses would have still been alive.

    9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.” …That’s how we do it, and that’s the lesson we get from the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father forgives the son even after being wronged by him.

    The prodigal son chooses to come home. Bob, if you truly and honestly ask for forgiveness, you too can come “home.” (i.e. heaven)

    10. The entire story is incoherent.

    Again, Bob, it’s a little presumptuous to think you can understand divine logic. All we can say is that since God chose to give us free will and thus opened the gate for us to sin, he then sacrificed himself (manifesting as his son) to undo the inevitable consequences by offering us the chance at forgiveness and salvation.

    • Yoav

      If you don’t think Jesus was resurrected, then you’re in denial. Way too many people testified to his existence after his public death.

      You do understand the difference between the bible saying there were all these witnesses seeing zombie jesus walking around (let’s ignore for a second the complete lack of evidence for the existence and/or death of said jesus in the first place) and actually having many witnesses. The Lord of The Rings mentions thousands of people taking part in the battle of Minas Tirith, does it mean we have to assume it actually happened?

      • Jason

        Everyone knows that Lord of the Rings was written as fiction. It doesn’t even purport to be true. The gospels were written as eyewitness accounts. Yoav, you’re going to have to come up with a better example than that.

        • Yoav

          The gospels were written decades after the supposed death of jesus, at the earliest, by anonymous authors who never met or seen jesus, they’re as much eyewitnesses to the events they describe as Tolkin was.

        • Jason

          An eyewitness account written decades after an event is just not the same thing as a piece of fiction written by a well known creative writer who never intended it to be taken as true. We also have more than one gospel and other historical evidence about Jesus so different sources confirm each other (Do you have anything like Josephus or Tacitus for the Battle of Minas Tirith?). I think what you mean to say is that you personally give Lord of the Rings and the Gospels the same credibility. That may be your opinion, but the comparison is still a false analogy.

        • Yoav

          Neither Josephus nor Tacitus are contemporary sources since neither was even born when jesus was supposedly died and was resurrected. The Josephus reference to jesus is almost unanimously considered to be an later addition by christians and Tacitus even by the most generous interpretation tell you that a cult referred to as christians existed at the time of Nero’s reign in Rome, no one question the existence of Christians but just because christians exist doesn’t mean that christian mythology is true any more then the existence of Mitt Romney prove the garden of eden was in Missouri.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          Jason: We also have more than one gospel and other historical evidence about Jesus so different sources confirm each other

          Except when they don’t. The four canonical gospels sometimes disagree greatly. Sometimes they agree verbatim, especially the synoptic gospels. Why, it’s almost as if certain sections were copied one from another. And then there’s the problem of the non-canonical (gnostic) gospels. So the agreement that we do see in the canonical gospels is almost as if the works that didn’t agree were rejected. See the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.

        • cken

          John, Peter, and Matthew actually knew Jesus. Prior to 1700 only a very select few could read and write. Most of history is based on oral stories handed down from generation to generation. We should either ignore all of history or accept the germ of truth which exists in all long lived stories and mythologies. Do we have any more or less reason to believe that Genghis Khan, Buddha, Cleopatra, Zarathustra, or King Hammurabi existed than we have reason to believe Jesus existed. Pick any high school science or history text and there are any number of blatant falsehoods or inaccuracies in them. Atheists have rationality and science as their God and Jesus. That doesn’t make their belief system anymore or less valid than Christianity or Hinduism.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          cken:

          John, Peter, and Matthew actually knew Jesus.

          Are you referring to the authors of the gospels/epistles? I think you’ll find that the evidence that points to eyewitnesses as authors is quite tenuous.

          We should either ignore all of history or accept the germ of truth which exists in all long lived stories and mythologies.

          So far, historians have rejected all of the many miracle stories in historical accounts of Alexander, Julius Caesar, etc. It does the same with the supernatural claims for Jesus.

        • Yoav

          Oh and one more, you still didn’t address the point that even if the gospels was written by eye witnesses you still only have one person saying that jesus came back not many witnesses. If I said that me and 500 other people, which are not around to corroborate my statement, saw you push someone of the roof of the empire state building last night, does it count as having 501 witnesses for the event or just 1?

        • Jason

          First of all, there is more than one gospel and additional references to Jesus’ resurrection in Paul, so we’re not talking about one witness citing 500. Nonetheless, you are right that 500 independent witnesses is not the same things as a handful of witnesses citing 500 witnesses. However, if you reject the gospel story for this reason, you have to reject all of ancient history as fiction. I don’t think there’s a single ancient event with 500 independent witnesses (not even the death of Julius Caesar or Cleopatra). I doubt even if early American history is documented that well.

        • Bob Jase

          Jason – please give us some contemporary evidence from non-biased sources for those claims in the gospels. And don’t cite the later Christian interpolation in Josephus either, no serious student of Christianity believes those passages authentic.

          Keep on Lying for Jesus and saying you’re not a Christian.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jason:

          if you reject the gospel story for this reason, you have to reject all of ancient history as fiction.

          In fact, we already have–the supernatural component, anyway. Ancient history has zero incidents of the supernatural. Many tales were told of the supernatural in the histories of Julius Caesar, Alexander, etc., but historians never accept these as historical fact. The contrast between the gospels and actual history is stark.

        • Bob Jase

          “The gospels were written as eyewitness accounts. ”

          Well so much for your claim that you are not a Christian because only a Christian would make that claim.

          You are a full-fledged Liar for Jesus.

        • Mika

          Dear Bob Jase,

          “Jason – please give us some contemporary evidence from non-biased sources for those claims in the gospels.”

          can you please clarify what you mean by “contemporary evidence from non-biased sources”? I think contemporary evidence is out of the question, as the gospels describe events that took place near two thousand years ago. And, more importantly, whose evidence exactly would you accept as “non-biased”?

        • Jason

          Bob Jase said:
          “You are a full-fledged Liar for Jesus.”

          I guess the Christians are right that Atheists are all amoral and mean.

        • Bob Jase

          Since when is telling the truth immoral? In fact there’s even a commandment to do just that in some old book.

        • Jason

          Bob Jase said:
          “Jason – please give us some contemporary evidence from non-biased sources for those claims in the gospels.”

          There isn’t any because modern scholars reject supernatural claims a priori. When they would otherwise consider an everyday historical event possible or probable based on limited historical evidence, they reject things like miracles and resurrection from the get go (even when there is similar evidence). As I explained above, there is basically no evidence, e.g., for Cleopatra dying by a suicide snake bite, yet this is widely accepted and never scrutinized like the resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the resurrection has more historical evidence and at least the probability of more eyewitnesses.

        • trj

          There isn’t any [evidence] because modern scholars reject supernatural claims a priori.

          In that case, feel free to point to all the extra-biblical contemporary eyewitness accounts, or indeed any other kind of sources mentioning the person Jesus – regardless of whether the context is supernatural.

          You can’t, though. The reason there’s no such evidence is not due to the scholars dismissing the stories because of their supernatural content; it’s due to to no such stories existing in the first place.

        • Nox

          You don’t need to reject supernatural claims a priori. We can rule out the gospels as eyewitness accounts because they were written by people who never saw Jesus. They would not be in a position to know whether Jesus existed and they would not be in a position to tell the rest of us about him.

        • Bob Jase

          So you’re blaming modern historians for the fact that none of the supposedly thousands of followers Jesus supposedly had when he supposedly lived somehow never thought to scratch out an inscription somewhere about the great miracles they supposedly saw Jesus do?

          Gee, you probably blame those same historians for the lack of contemporary documentation for the birth of Athena or the twelve tasks of Heracles too.

        • JohnH

          Nox,
          That is assuming that your claims on Matthew and John are correct. If Matthew and John really did write the Gospels attributed to them then John would mostly be an eyewitness account and Matthew would be based on a personal eyewitness combined with presumably information received from other eyewitnesses. Luke claims to have other accounts (as in certainly the Matthew and Mark) and to have interviewed eyewitnesses (traditionally Mary being one of those interviewed). Mark is claimed to have come by way of Peter, who was an eyewitness, and either it or some earlier document is the source material for much of what Matthew could not have known based on his personal experience. Matthew and John not agreeing is not really that big of a problem, both are writing for different audiences at different times with John being written later then Matthew and clearly having access to Matthew as well as other Gnostic Gospels (such as probably those of Thomas and Judas, based on what is in both of those and what is in John). Of course, the later date of John and that he clearly had access to not only the synoptic gospels but also gnostic gospels does make that gospel less of an actual eyewitness account (even if written by an eyewitness).

          As I just noted, there are a multitude of Gnostic Gospels that have come to light in the last two centuries and there is no reason to suppose that we have all of the Gospels that were written (Gnostic or otherwise), and perhaps some of the Gnostic Gospels had earlier non-Gnostic counterparts. It seems that there was a massive amount written on the subject of Jesus from the first century A.D. given what has survived to this date either comes to us by transcription or found otherwise. I think it is impossible to doubt that (at the very least) there was in fact some preacher named Jesus that claimed to be the Messiah and was Crucified by the Romans (ok, just given the number of people named Jesus and that claimed to be Messiahs and that were Crucified that much is a probabilistic certainty) it also seems very clear that this Jesus preached something similar to the Sermon on the Mount as well as the Resurrection of the Dead; and likely that Jewish authorities didn’t like Him very much. That much we have more evidence for then for a lot of events in history, whether one believes in the supernatural aspects (such as Him actually rising for the dead) isn’t a matter that can be determined by historic accounts either way.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH:

          I made a short video on the weak claims that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses here.

        • Nox

          JohnH,

          I’m not asking you to assume they’re correct. Just don’t assume they’re incorrect without even looking. I explained why Paul and the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John couldn’t have been witnesses. I gave you chapter and verse. It would be easy to look up anything I claimed there.

          They are writing for different audiences at different times. And they are also saying mutually exclusive things.

          They can all be completely untrue, but they cannot all be completely true. If they were all completely true that would mean Matthew was completely true, which would mean John was not.

          They don’t just focus on different things. They don’t just narrate different events. They give massively conflicting versions of the same events.

          Our only sources for the existence of Jesus are sources we already know were making stuff up about Jesus. Why is it such a stretch for them to make up a resurrection? Why would it even be a stretch for them to make up Jesus?

          Jason,

          A text that presents itself as an historically accurate eyewitnesses account should not be put in the same category as a creative piece of fiction that does not even claim to be any kind of historical document

          And a text that presents itself as a historically accurate eyewitnesses account but is riddled with historical innaccuracy and was written by someone who did not witness the things they record, should also not be put in the same category as actual historically accurate eyewitnesses accounts.

        • Greg G.

          First of all, there is more than one gospel and additional references to Jesus’ resurrection in Paul, so we’re not talking about one witness citing 500. Nonetheless, you are right that 500 independent witnesses is not the same things as a handful of witnesses citing 500 witnesses. However, if you reject the gospel story for this reason, you have to reject all of ancient history as fiction. I don’t think there’s a single ancient event with 500 independent witnesses (not even the death of Julius Caesar or Cleopatra). I doubt even if early American history is documented that well.

          If you read Paul’s writings, he says that the revelation to him is via the scriptures. The Acts accounts are exaggerations invented by Luke. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul does not suggest that the others had any other type of revelation. He uses the same description as he does for his own. You should separate his writing to the later gospel accounts.

          The Epistles talk about the crucifixion and resurrection a lot but never give any details. They never mention a ministry, teachings or anecdotes of Jesus. They often quote scripture to support their own arguments when they could have simply said “This is what Jesus taught” and made a much stronger case.

          I understand that there is debate whether or not they are *actually* eyewitness accounts. My point is that they are presented internally as eyewitness accounts (and have been considered that by the Church for a long time). A text that presents itself as an historically accurate eyewitnesses account should not be put in the same category as a creative piece of fiction that does not even claim to be any kind of historical document (i.e. Lord of the Rings, as mentioned above).

          Where does LotR say that it is creative fiction? Several scholars have independently traced Mark’s sources to the literature of the day rather than to oral traditions. Robert M. Price has combined these studies in The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems and there is very little not accounted for. Some of it is so obviously taken from Greek literature that Matthew, Luke and John omitted those passages but they still take other fictions invented and borrowed by Mark.

          (Do you have anything like Josephus or Tacitus for the Battle of Minas Tirith?)

          All of the extra-biblical evidence at best tells us that there were people who believed there was an early first century Jesus but they were a generation or two too late to actually know. The Gospels show that they are fiction. The Epistles do not support that the authors thought there was a first century Jesus. Why should we?

        • Natalie

          About Cleopatra dying from a snakebite — I just read an article that said it was most unlikely that she and her 2 handmaidens could have died at the same time of snakebite in the short period during which they were unobserved. First off, the snake couldn’t have had that much venom, and second, it takes hours to die from the venom of the snake that was the most likely candidate. On the other hand Octavius was the one who found them and reported their deaths. So, ergo, he must have murdered them. Think maybe so?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jason:

          The gospels were written as eyewitness accounts.

          I don’t think so. We don’t know who wrote them, and we have no good reason to imagine that they’re eyewitness accounts–in particular because they contradict.

        • Jason

          I understand that there is debate whether or not they are *actually* eyewitness accounts. My point is that they are presented internally as eyewitness accounts (and have been considered that by the Church for a long time). A text that presents itself as an historically accurate eyewitnesses account should not be put in the same category as a creative piece of fiction that does not even claim to be any kind of historical document (i.e. Lord of the Rings, as mentioned above).

        • Kodie

          Why not? The honest fictions could go in one category and the dishonest fiction could go in its own category. That’s actually why, at the heart of it, people are atheists. This dishonest fiction is in a category by itself because followers of it are presented it as fact and believe it seriously, and determined to be not only indulged for not being able to tell fantasy from reality, but regarded as an authority on everyone else’s life.

          People who read honest fictions, on the other hand, are immersing themselves in a fantasy while they read, and emerge back into reality when they are not reading; they are not confused. If they were, you would be able to observe their detachment and think that there was something wrong with them. You certainly wouldn’t go along with their thoughts or be influenced to believe it yourself, although you might read it. It is presented as honest fiction.

          You are basically saying since the bible was presenting itself as real, we have to give it the benefit of the doubt and trust that it’s not lying to us, even when we read something unbelievable. Do you believe all non-fiction books either? 100% of them classify themselves as true, but that classification is not what makes it true. You might notice something these books have, like footnotes and bibliographies so you can follow the trail to the source yourself and see if the author interpreted the sources fairly, and researched thoroughly, and the veracity of their sources, of they just pulled a giant steaming heap out of their butt and put a glossy cover on it. Might be an interesting read nonetheless, but that isn’t what makes it true.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jason:

          they are presented internally as eyewitness accounts (and have been considered that by the Church for a long time).

          Yes, they have been considered so by many Christian denominations. No, there is little good reason to think that they are or to even pretend that they claim to be so.

          A text that presents itself as an historically accurate eyewitnesses account should not be put in the same category as a creative piece of fiction that does not even claim to be any kind of historical document (i.e. Lord of the Rings, as mentioned above).

          Agreed–the gospels weren’t written as fiction. Still, I don’t think there’s much reason to see the gospels as any more accurate. The gospels make far more incredible supernatural claims than Tolkein.

        • Jason

          Bob quoted Jason:

          if you reject the gospel story for this reason, you have to reject all of ancient history as fiction.

          Bob said:
          In fact, we already have–the supernatural component, anyway. Ancient history has zero incidents of the supernatural. Many tales were told of the supernatural in the histories of Julius Caesar, Alexander, etc., but historians never accept these as historical fact.

          I say:
          Exactly, that’s why I can’t produce mainstream scholarly evidence that the gospels are historical fact. Historians reject the supernatural regardless of evidence.

        • Yoav

          I say:
          Exactly, that’s why I can’t produce mainstream scholarly evidence that the gospels are historical fact. Historians reject the supernatural regardless of evidence.

          That is not what historian do, what they do is look at ancient sources and compare them to the other available evidence in order to separate the record of actual events from the fiction added to make the king look good or fluff some god’s fragile ego.
          Do you give the same pass you want us to give the christian bible to other book that claim to be the absolute true based on eyewitness reports and divine revelation, such as the quran or the book of mormon, should we consider mohammed flying to jerusalem on a magic donkey to be an historical fact?

        • Greg G.

          Exactly, that’s why I can’t produce mainstream scholarly evidence that the gospels are historical fact. Historians reject the supernatural regardless of evidence.

          Historians reject unsupported claims of the supernatural. They have never rejected supported claims of the supernatural. There has never been a reason to reject evidence of the supernatural.

          The reason you can’t produce evidence that the gospels are true is that the gospels themselves show that they are not true.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          The gospels were written as eyewitness accounts.

          No they were not. Stop lying.

          My point is that they are presented internally as eyewitness accounts

          No they are not. They are not written in the first person. They record events which could not possibly have been witnessed, such as conversation between Jesus and others when the purported author was not present.

          A text that presents itself as an historically accurate eyewitnesses account should not be put in the same category as a creative piece of fiction that does not even claim to be any kind of historical document

          Oh fucquinet! Fictional accounts, much better-written than the gospels, frequently present themselves as eyewitness accounts. This is a well-understood literary device not deserving of the respect you demand.

    • Carol

      The Church has taught that Jesus is truly human as well as truly Divine, but has focused on the implications of his humanity to much greater extent than those of his divinity.

      In the asumption of our humanity Jesus has become the Archetypal human. We find our true selves in the New Adam. Since Jesus is truly human like us in all things but sin, then sin cannot be intrinsic to our humanity, it is an aberration, a disorder.

      In the biblical story of the “Original Sin”, Adam and Eve did not experience “guilt”, they experienced shame. They experienced life apart from a participation in God’s life and, as a result experienced their incompleteness as autonomous creatures. They were no longer “clothed” by Grace, their finite vulnerability had been revealed.

      The substitutionary death of Jesus on the Cross is not a juridical satisfaction for human sin. It is the putting to death of the Old Adam by the New Adam which may now be apprehended by a mystical participation in in his life which restores the Original Blessing of godlikeness that can only be sustained through an intimate relationship (spiritual union) with God.

      The Eastern Church is right, the Latin/Western Church is too rationalistic and too juridical.
      “Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life.” ~Orthodox Study Bible

      http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=2971

      “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.” –Karl Rahner

      Spiritual Development Program

      30. Living Paschal Mystery

      Central to understanding Christ is to understand the Paschal mystery. However, we tend to think of it only as Jesus’ passion and death. Actually, the Paschal mystery is Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection and Pentecost. What were historical events became ongoing process and is at the heart of Incarnational spirituality.

      No longer limited by time or geography, the Risen Christ has created through His ongoing Incarnation in us real-time, on-line continuity with Jesus’ earthly Incarnation. Especially with His passion, death, resurrection and gifting us with His Spirit. When we enter deeply into this Paschal mystery, we experience Christ on two levels.

      First, we are connected more intensely with Jesus in His passion and death. When we prayerfully meditate on Jesus’ passion and death, not as something outside of us but as something inside of us, we are not just creating concepts and images of the suffering and dying Christ in our minds. We are unleashing a dynamic process. We are unleashing the indwelling of the Risen Christ, Who gifts us with His Spirit Who pours the love of God into our hearts. Through this process, we identify more closely with the sufferings of Jesus such as those in the Garden of Gethsemane and His death on the cross.

      Second, in encountering the Paschal mystery we are connected more intimately to the Risen Christ as we live our own lives with their many passions, deaths, resurrections and transformations by the Spirit. In his book, Intimacy with God, Cistercian Father Thomas Keating explains the connection in this way.

      As Christians, we believe that Jesus in His passion and death has taken upon Himself all of our pains, anxieties, fears, self-hatred, discouragement and all our accumulation of wounds that we bring from our child hood and our childish ways of trying to survive. That is our true cross. That is what Jesus asks us to accept and share with Him. When we enter deeply into our experiences of the Paschal mystery, we are entering into something that has already happened, namely our union with Jesus as He carried our crosses. Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross is our cry of a desperate alienation from God, taken up into His, and transformed into Resurrection and gift of the Spirit.

      Again, we unleash a dynamic process as we identify our many passions and deaths with those of Jesus. Gradually we place our faith in the Indwelling of the Risen Christ and place our hope in Jesus’ victory, entrusting our wounded lives to Him. Gradually, the Spirit strengthens our faith through the gifts of wisdom and gradually enlightens us with self-understanding, enabling us to fathom our compulsions and weaknesses. Gradually we experience being healed of our emotional wounds and the wounds we have inflicted on our conscience. All of which leads us to greater love of Christ.

      However, the impact of our entering deeply into the Paschal mystery does not stop at our own self-healing. As the love of the Spirit is poured forth in our hearts, we bond with others in the Body of Christ and act as channels of the Spirit’s healing of the world. Fr. Keating writes “We will not know the results of our participation in Christ’s redemptive work in this life. One thing is certain: by bonding with the crucified One we bond with everyone else, past, present and to come.”

      In our spiritual journey we will invariably encounter many deaths—the death of our youth, the death of our wholeness, the death of our dreams, the death of our honeymoons. They can be Paschal deaths, deaths that are real but do not end possibilities if we take them to the crucified One and set in motion the process of identifying with Jesus and allowing the Spirit to empower us to live our new lives. If we allow them, our Paschal deaths will open up Paschal resurrections and achieve greater intimacy for us with Christ.
      First Posted June 19, 2001
      2001 NY Cursillo (English).

      That is why the Eastern Church teaches

    • SparklingMoon

      It’s in our nature to sin as descendants of Adam. Adam had free will. So do we. Something big had to happen to reverse this, and the voluntary death of the son of God was just the thing.
      ————————————————————————————————————-
      Where human nature possesses many excellent qualities, it is also subject to the defect that on account of its weakness it is prone to commit sins and defaults. The Almighty Who has made human nature has not invested it with the inclination to commit sins so that He might condemn man to torment, but so that His attribute of forgiveness might be manifested. Sin is doubtless a poison, but the fire of repentance and converts it into an antidote. Thus after repentance and remorse, sin becomes the means of progress and roots out from inside a person the feeling that he amounts to something and stamps out arrogance and pride and self-exhibition.

      The doctrine that God loved the world, and to provide salvation for the world He arranged to put the burden of the sins of the disobedient ones and of disbelieves and of wicked ones on His beloved son Jesus, and made him accursed in order to deliver the world from sin and hanged him on the accursed rood, is false in every aspect . If it is appraised from the point of view of justice, it is obviously wrong that the sin of X should be fastened upon Y. Human conscience does not approve that the punishment of an offender should be inflicted upon an innocent one. If one reflects upon the reality of sin from the point of view of spiritual philosophy, that also condemns this doctrine. Sin is a poison which is generated when a person is deprived of obedience to God, His eager love and His loving remem- branch. As a tree which is uprooted from the earth and is unable to suck water begins to dry up and loses its greenness, the same is the case with a person from whose heart the love of God is uprooted so that it begins to dry up and falls into sin. In God’s law of nature there are three remedies for this dryness. One is love; the second is to realize one’s sin and to desire to suppress and cover up, for so long as the root of a tree is firm in the earth there is hope of its greenness; and third is repentance, that is to say, to turn humbly towards God in order to draw the water of love and to get close to Him and to pull oneself out of the darkness of disobedience with the help of good deeds. Repentance is not merely by word of mouth but is completed by good deeds. All virtues are for the perfection of repentance, for the purpose of all is to approach close to God. Prayer is also repentance for through it we seek nearness to God. That is why God having created the life of man and called it the soul, inasmuch as its true comfort lies in the affirmation of the existence of God and His love and His obedience, He also called it self inasmuch as it seeks union with God. To love God is to be like that tree in the garden which is firmly planted in the ground. This is man’s heaven. (Answer to the Four Questions of Sirajuddin, , pp. 2-3).

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Moon:

        It’s in our nature to sin as descendants of Adam.

        And whose fault is that?! We come out of the box fallible, and then we’re sent to hell … for being fallible. God has an odd sense of justice.

    • Apathostic

      This is a “yes, he did/no,he didn’t” discussion. It is an exercise in contradiction not a reasoned debate. It isn’t an argument. There are no facts here, just wishful thinking. If there was a Jesus (and the jury is still out on that little piece of information) then the reason he died on an ancient Phoenician torture device was because he didn’t know when to keep his idiot mouth shut, he surrounded himself with semi-literate Jordanians who sold him out and he believed in incoherent prophecies passed by word-of-mouth from sun-baked desert-dwelling nomads who had trouble explaining the existence of dirt. Herod and the pharisees then got annoyed with him because he threatened their power base (and because he was also a self-righteous little upstart), thus turning to the Romans to off him. Start bringing in the magic sky fairy and you have a pre-medieval episode of “Supernatural”.

    • http://ourladyyoftheisland.org lisa vigliotta

      Dr. (?) Robert
      you are not connecting the dots at all. Many holes in your analysis. At the very least you have missed the Hebrew scriptures which will clarify the New Testament. You will have a lot to study before you can make an intelligent argument.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        lisa:

        Not a Dr., but thanks for holding open the possibility.

        Your comment devolves into, “Whoa–your argument sux.” Yeah, could be, but you’ve done nothing but assert that. You need to actually make an argument to participate in this game.

    • http://carm.org Matt Slick

      Perhaps you atheists might want to call my radio show sometime and we can talk about whether or not your arguments are logically sound and if you understand the historical facts. It is easy to hide behind your computer with anonymous nicknames and make accusations that are ill-informed. It is another to have those assumptions examined and challenged. Call me… http://www.carm.org/radio

      • John Kesler

        “It is easy to hide behind your computer with anonymous nicknames and make accusations that are ill-informed.”

        Seems like an interesting criticism in light of the following in your bio, which is found here:
        http://carm.org/matt-slick
        “Matt also uses pseudonyms when exploring, gathering information, testing ideas, and generally does not affirm or deny who he is or isn’t regarding pseudonyms on the internet.”

        • Bob Seidensticker

          John K:

          I hadn’t heard that, but it does fit with what else I’ve seen and heard. Maybe Matt enjoys the cloak and dagger approach?

          About 18 months ago, I wrote something (in response to something that he’d written, I think) and encouraged him to respond on his blog. A straightforward request, right? Maybe he’d find that a fun challenge; maybe he doesn’t have the time to respond or doesn’t think that such a response would suit his purposes. Either way is reasonable.

          So he responds and says that he’d like to reply but insists on all sorts of legal-ish permissions first. (I quote bits of others’ posts all the time and respond. That approach is common. Could anyone see a copyright violation here??)

          Having a civil back-and-forth between blog posts was a lot harder than I expected. I can’t imagine how he got the impression that atheists like to sue people. I guess we hang out in different circles.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Matt:

        Hide? Who’s hiding? If you have found errors, go ahead and show them to us. This is a public forum; everyone will see how successfully you’ve destroyed my argument … if you can.

        I don’t know how using a computer to make my arguments makes it easy. My posts take hours or research–it sure ain’t easy for me, anyway. And as for anonymous nicknames, I’ll come out from behind my “Bob Seidensticker” handle. My actual name is Bob Seidensticker.

  • avalon

    Bob,
    “So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? ”

    Are you familiar with the history of the ransom theory?
    ” The ransom theory was the main view of atonement through the first thousand years of Christian history…”
    “Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that grace pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransom_theory_of_atonement

    “This theory was developed by Origen (a.d. 185-254), and it advocated that Satan held people captive as a victor in war. This theory, which was also held by Augustine, advocated that because Satan held people captive, a ransom had to be paid, not to God, but to Satan.”
    http://carm.org/dictionary-ransom-theory

    avalon

    • Bob Seidensticker

      avalon:

      No, I hadn’t heard of the Ransom theory. Thanks.

      • Nerdsamwich

        The reason you’ve never heard of the Ransom Theory is that modern theology would have to regard it as heretical. If Satan is capable of demanding ransom from the Almighty, how Almighty is he, really? The whole idea assumes that Satan is at least as powerful as Yaweh.

    • SparklingMoon

      “Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that grace pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip.”
      ————————————————————————————————————-
      If we accept this theory of “death on the cross for saving” for a short time then how the people who had born before Jesus had saved themselves from their sins and clutches of Devil? Second, if according to God Almighty the death of Jesus on cross was the only source of saving human beings from the inherited sin of Adam and Eve and the clutches of Devil then why He had not sent Jesus just next to Adam and Eve to save their generations coming just after them?

      “According to Biblical account of what actually happened at the time of the sin of Adam and Eve and the consequences that ensued the punishment. According to Genesis, God accepted their apology only partially and an eternal punishment was meted out to them, prescribed as follows:
      To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.’
      To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ (Genesis 3:16–19)

      If this be the punishment prescribed as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin, then one wonders what would happen after Atonement? If Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the sinful human beings, was the punishment prescribed for the Sin abolished after the Crucifixion? Did those who believed in Jesus Christ as the ‘Son of God’, if they were women, cease to have painful childbirth? Did the believing men start earning their livelihood without exerting manual labour? Did the propensity to sin cease to pass on to the future generations and innocent children started being given birth to? If the answer to all of these questions were to be ‘yes,’ then of course there would be some justification in seriously contemplating the Christian philosophy of Sin and Atonement. But Alas, the answer to all these questions are no, no and no. If nothing seems to have changed since the Crucifixion, both in the Christian and non-Christian worlds, then what would be the meaning of Atonement?”( Christianity facts to fiction chapter 2.)

      Jesus himself had never suggested this theory of his death on Cross in New Testament on Cross as a source to get rid of the clutches of Devil. Devil is not a person that exists somewhere but the name of a force exists in human nature. Human beings possess two forces in their nature as one of them motivates towards goodness and the other one pulls towards evil and the force that pulls towards evil is called Devil in religious books. The only method, that was suggested by all Prophets to their followers to get rid of this Devil, was to practice more and more good morals and to reject the inner voice of this force of evil of one’s nature.)

      • Kodie

        If we accept this theory of “death on the cross for saving” for a short time then how the people who had born before Jesus had saved themselves from their sins and clutches of Devil?

        If we accept, for argument’s sake, that there’s a god, I don’t think he gives a rat’s ass what happens to anyone when they die. For all you know, it’s a trap!

    • SparklingMoon

      “Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that grace pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip.”
      ————————————————————————————————————-
      Jesus himself had never suggested this theory of his death on Cross in New Testament on Cross as a source to get rid of the clutches of Devil. Devil is not a person that exists somewhere but the name of a force exists in human nature. Human beings possess two forces in their nature as one of them motivates towards goodness and the other one pulls towards evil and the force that pulls towards evil is called Devil in religious books. The only method, that was suggested by all Prophets to their followers to get rid of this Devil, was to practice more and more good morals and to reject the inner voice of this force of evil of one’s nature.)

      If we accept this theory of “death on the cross for saving” for a short time then how the people who had born before Jesus had saved themselves from their sins and clutches of Devil? Second, if according to God Almighty the death of Jesus on cross was the only source of saving human beings from the inherited sin of Adam and Eve and the clutches of Devil then why He had not sent Jesus just next to Adam and Eve to save their generations coming just after them?

      “According to Biblical account of what actually happened at the time of the sin of Adam and Eve and the consequences that ensued the punishment. According to Genesis, God accepted their apology only partially and an eternal punishment was meted out to them, prescribed as follows:
      To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.’
      To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ (Genesis 3:16–19)

      If this be the punishment prescribed as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin, then one wonders what would happen after Atonement? If Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the sinful human beings, was the punishment prescribed for the Sin abolished after the Crucifixion? Did those who believed in Jesus Christ as the ‘Son of God’, if they were women, cease to have painful childbirth? Did the believing men start earning their livelihood without exerting manual labour? Did the propensity to sin cease to pass on to the future generations and innocent children started being given birth to? If the answer to all of these questions were to be ‘yes,’ then of course there would be some justification in seriously contemplating the Christian philosophy of Sin and Atonement. But Alas, the answer to all these questions are no, no and no. If nothing seems to have changed since the Crucifixion, both in the Christian and non-Christian worlds, then what would be the meaning of Atonement?”( Christianity facts to fiction chapter 2.)

  • machintelligence

    Whether you examine it on the cosmic scale or the fine scale, religion doesn’t make sense. Martin Luther was right when he observed that reason was the enemy of faith.

  • http://www.msclair.com Clair Maurice

    haha, so true! Just wrote the same thing a few days ago, although not quite as eloquently as you… http://msclair.com/he-died-so-that-i-could-live/ . Because I even wondered about this when I was a Christian. Difficult to feel grateful for something you didn’t know you needed.

  • kagekiri

    Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

    Ah, but you forget the Ten Commandments’ comments on sins and punishment.

    Exodus 20:5-6
    5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    Exodus 34: 6-7
    6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

    Add that to the idea of original sin put forth by Paul and in Genesis, and the punishments against people’s children (David and Bathsheba, Egypt, all those genocides) and it’s obvious: God DEFINITELY punishes people for the sins of their parents and ancestors in the Bible, even if he tells humans not to (other than telling them to slaughter children born to their enemies…..).

    Ah, Christian double-standards, hard at work.

    You already called the one about forgiving without memory or payment, which God apparently is unable to do, but this is another one that stuck with me.

    My former church basically took these verses at face value, saying all children were cursed with/by the sins of their parents and that you had to cutoff this bloodline of sin.

    It was one of the hardest beliefs to morally justify in my mind as a Christian, and so helped with my deconversion.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      kagekiri:

      You are correct–I was picking and choosing. (But Christians do it, so why should they have all the fun?)

  • JohnH

    1. I realize that others make a big deal about the Crucifixion, and being crucified definitely doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to go. The point isn’t that Jesus died, as everyone dies, but that he died for our sins; He was a voluntary sacrifice for what we of ourselves have knowingly done wrong, the lamb of God. The cross finished the suffering for our transgressions with the final request death and shedding of blood as found in the law of Moses and allowed for the Resurrection.

    2. You have a misunderstanding of Hell according to both my church and the ‘orthodox’ position of the Catholics/Orthodox/etc. You especially have the wrong idea in terms of how many will go to hell.

    3. Makes no sense, to resurrect their must be death, without the death on the cross there was no Resurrection.

    4. Considering that my position on Original Sin doesn’t match what you are presenting this point is mote. However, you also seem to be missing that Resurrection and Judgement before God are free gifts to all. We will all live again and we will all be brought back into the presence of God making Christ Atonement a complete and free wiping out of the effects of the Fall. In being brought back into the presence of God we will have a complete realization of everything that we have knowingly done wrong, which if we have not accepted the grace of Christ which is offered freely to all will awaken in us a fullness of guilt and shame and we will remove ourselves from God’s presence, thereby placing ourselves in a hell of our own making as we go to the place prepared for those that choose to reject God’s infinite love for them.

    5. doesn’t represent my faiths understanding of the Fall at all; I suggest reading up on LDS understanding of the Fall and Original Sin.

    6. shows you either have a completely wrong understanding of Jesus or are just a pathetic human being. When a person spends their life serving the poor and needy we generally applaud them instead of saying “well that is just their nature”. When a person loses their life trying to save others from a murderer or when priests choose to go down with the ship after doing everything in their power to save others we hand out medals, put up monuments, and try to remember the courage, dignity, love, and sacrifice of those people rather then claiming their actions were amoral as they were just following their nature. Jesus was mortal and was subject to temptation and was capable of sinning meaning that His sacrifice actually is a moral act rather then an amoral act that you claim it is.

    7. Jesus has paid the price for our sins and is willing to freely forgive everyone that is willing to stop sinning and come to him. Jesus will not force us to stop sinning and will not force us to not condemn ourselves when brought to stand before God, forgiving and forcing into heaven those that do not want to give up their sins would violate the sinners agency and make them more miserable then they would be in Hell, as they would know that they do not belong in heaven, they do not want to be in heaven, and yet are forced, against their will, to be heaven.

    8. Prometheus is certainly not the best example. I suggest reading Justin Martyr on the subject as he attempted to explain it something like 1900 years ago; I don’t even agree with Justin Martyr completely but at least if you read him you would be more familiar with Christianity then you ever were previously (apparently).

    9. The prodigal son returned to the father and asked forgiveness, the father did not send out a swat team to go capture the son a drag him back against his will.

    10. I suggest reading about the Plan of Salvation as understood by the LDS, as your story is what is incoherent and whatever religion you previously belonged to was clearly negligent in explaining things, or you were negligent in understanding. I could also point to the CCC on the subject but I am biased so I won’t.

    • Bob Jase

      Oh man, you really had me going until I came to where you said, ” I suggest reading about the Plan of Salvation as understood by the LDS”

      Like something cooked up by that fraud Joseph Smith is really going to convert me.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Bob J:

        I share your skepticism, but keep in mind that the evidence for LDS is better on every count (more plentiful, shorter oral period, more recent, less cultural gulf to cross, more of it, etc.) than the conventional Christian story.

        (Doesn’t make the conventional argument look particularly good … )

        • Bob Jase

          I’ll grant you there was a real Joseph Smith but he was also a real con man and none of his contemporaries was an eye-witness for the existance of the golden plates.

          Not to forget that archeology and genetics have shown his whole ‘Israel in America’ story is codswallop.

        • JohnH

          The Book of Mormon contains the Testimony of the Eight and Three Witnesses who were all eye-witnesses for the existence of the golden plates, as well as a handful of other peoples whose accounts are also had.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          but keep in mind that the evidence for LDS is better on every count…

          It does not compare well in some respects, such as the number of anachronisms (e.g. horses and metal weapons in pre-Columbian Americas)

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Reginald:

          I see your point, but consider: the Mormon story makes claims, some of which can be tested. The traditional Christian story makes claims that can’t be tested. I don’t see how that makes the traditional story stronger.

      • JohnH

        I really am LDS, I don’t believe that Joseph Smith was a fraud, and I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and follow the council (all of it) given in Moroni 10:3-5 and see for yourself.

        • Bob Jase

          So you reject the reality that the whole ‘Israel in America’ story has been disproven by archeology and genetics – believe your myth but I live in the real world.

        • JohnH

          I am very familiar with the state of Archeology in the Americas, it hasn’t been disproved in the slightest. Genetics as well; The only thing that has been disproved is a theory which was not even supported by internal evidence within the Book of Mormon.

        • Compuholic

          Well I have news for you. Joseph Smith was a fraud. He was arrested convicted as such in court. Now we even have the court documents to prove that.

          You also might want to look up the “Kinderhook plates”. Joseph smith claimed to have translated them and made up an elaborate story about them. It turned out they were created by some jokers who wanted to make fun of Joseph Smith. They even were examined by scientists and proven to be a forgery.

          As for archeology just examples:
          Are saying it has not been disproved that the native Americans are descendants of Israelites? The genetic evidence is pretty damning, they originated in Asia.

          We know of gold and silver manufacturing in the Americas but not of iron and steel.

          The pearl of great price has been proven to be complete bullshit. Because nowadays scientiest can actually read the manuskript and it does not say anything remotely like Joseph Smith claimed it says.

        • JohnH

          Compuholic,
          Sorry, Joseph was never convicted of any crime, I assume you are referring to the 1826 examination which was not a trial and could have no conviction, as the most reliable records that we have from that examination clearly demonstrate.

          I have looked up everything there is on the Kinderhook plates. Joseph Smith compared them to a grammar that was made earlier and a few of the symbols matched, the rest don’t, that is all he did.

          I am saying that if there is a singular descendent of the Lehites then nearly everyone on the continent at the time of the contact would have been related to Lehi, and that given the small size of the group involved the genetic impact of this would be minimal.

          Actually in South America there was also copper and bronze, including the smelting of copper in Peru. Also, you are assuming that we know of all metal working that ever went on in the Americas and of all cultures that existed, given how much is not known and how little archeology has been done in the Americas (especially outside of a few cultures ceremonial urban centers) then while there is no current evidence of iron working I can continue to assume (based on the evidence of the existence of the gold plates) that there was (which is also assuming that what is translated as steel is steel and not bronze *which is often what is translated as steel in the Bible*).

          You mean that the small fragments of the many papryi and scrolls that Joseph Smith is described as having which we have today are not the Book of Abraham? Even assuming that what Joseph was doing was a literal translation and not translating in the form of the Book of Moses from Genesis there is very good evidence that we don’t have the actual scroll which was purported to contain the Book of Abraham.

        • Compuholic

          Just looked up the arrest record. You might actually be right on this one. We don’t know if he was convicted. But we know that he was formally accused of being in imposter,

          Joseph Smith compared them to a grammar that was made earlier and a few of the symbols matched, the rest don’t, that is all he did

          No he did more than that: He “translated” the plates and stated: “[...] they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.” (this is from a diary entry of his scribe)

          You mean that the small fragments of the many papryi and scrolls that Joseph Smith is described as having which we have today are not the Book of Abraham?

          Yes, the book of Abraham is a proven fraud and even LDS scholars have admitted that:

          I myself studied Egyptian hieroglyphics at UCLA several years ago in hope of resolving some of the problems connected with the ‘Book of Abraham’ in Joseph Smith’s favor. Unfortunately, as soon as I learned the language well enough to use a dictionary I was forced to conclude that Joseph Smith’s translation was mistaken, however sincere it might have been. Facsimile No.2 in the Pearl of Great Price contained enough readable writing to convince me that it had purely Egyptian significance. This was a disappointment to me, but the discovery has given me more time to restructure my thinking about Joseph Smith and the Book of Abraham than most of your readers will yet have had. My faith in the Church rest on personal feelings, but it has to find a
          place in historical facts as well.

          Lol, his translation was “mistaken”. Completely made up is more like it. And of course she takes the always available road of faith and personal feelings, isn’t that sweet.

          To summarize:
          1. We have a guy who was as least accused of being an imposter, the court documents refer to him as “the glass looker” (interestingly he later claimed to have translated the BoM with the help of seer stones. What a coincidence)
          2. We know (or at least are pretty certain) that he claimed to have translated a part of the kinderhook plates and he completely made it up
          3. We know that he made up the Book of Abraham

          That is a pretty impressive track record of fraud.

        • JohnH

          People accused Joseph of a lot of things, that doesn’t mean they are true any more then If I accuse you of being a purple elephant that actually means you are a purple elephant (no offense intended to any pachyderms reading this).

          We are saying the same thing in regards to the Kinderhook plates, look up the GAEL, a singular character of which translates to nearly precisely what the scribe wrote and is found very prominently on the Kinderhook plates.

          1. I fail to see a problem with using seer stones, or how the use of seer stones proves one way or the other that he was a fraud.
          2. See the GAEL, which is accessible online now.
          3. As I stated, this is assuming that he was translating as we generally think of translating a text; Evidence from the Book of Moses and the rest of the JST suggests otherwise. I doubt the translation was scholarly in nature, especially given the Facsimiles.

          We know he probably wasn’t translating in the traditional sense, and that this was not uncommon for him per the Book of Moses.

        • Bob Jase

          “We know he probably wasn’t translating in the traditional sense”
          translation – he made shit up.

        • Compuholic

          1. True, it does not prove anything. It is just a very strange coincidence. It certainly looks like he was pulling the same scam again with better results the second time. Like Peter Popoff: Exposed the first time and is now pulling the same scam with a slightly different approach.

          2. Well that is the first time I heard of the GAEL, so I looked it up. What exactly are you trying to show here? The GAEL was created by Smith, so he probably made it up as well. So it means exactly nothing if the translations match up. Unfortunately the archeology department of my university does not offer egyptology so I have no easy way to check it. But in the end, who cares? He translated a made up document. That is all you need to know…

          3. ROFL, good one. I have to remember this for my next job interview when I get asked about foreign languages.

          Q: “You said you are able to speak French, could you translate this article for me?”
          A: “Sure”
          Q: “Erm, What you wrote is not even close to what the article actually said”
          A: “I was not translating it in the traditional sense”
          Brilliant.

          Sorry, but you must think we are complete idiots to fall for this crap.

        • JohnH

          1. That is assuming it was a scam, which was not shown.

          2. As far as I know GAEL doesn’t line up with Egyptology. I am pretty sure it treats the hieroglyphs in a different manner and I don’t think anyone has attempted to check it out for consistency or to try and translate other documents. So he had GAEL and was given a set of plates which were attested to be of ancient date and found with a skeleton and etc., he (as documented) got the GAEL and other dictionaries and attempted to match it up, one symbol matches something in the GAEL with the meaning as given. It would be like forging an ancient document with a mash up of symbols and taking it to a linguist, the linguist may attempt to translate the forged document and come up with something that match while further examination would show that the document is gibberish. The linguist would not be greatly criticized for attempting to figure it out, even though he partially translated a made up document, so I don’t see why Joseph Smith should be criticized for doing the same thing, especially when divine revelation was not claimed in the translation and he was clearly using gammers and dictionaries available to him.

          3. The idea is that he was translating something similar to the original intent of the original author, and not whatever the document was eventually used for by way of editing, revising, transcription errors, etc. The point is not to get what is on the page but to use the document to receive basically revelation from God.

          I expect you to seek God on the subject and receive answers from Him. Again, I suggest following the council in Moroni 10:3-5, though I suppose doing similar for the Book of Abraham is also possible (but it would require actually reading and thinking about the book and what is in it rather then just criticizing it source).

        • Compuholic

          That is assuming it was a scam, which was not shown.

          True, but any person who doesn’t suspect a scam is just incredible gullible (err, of course I meant “faithful”).

          The linguist would not be greatly criticized for attempting to figure it out, even though he partially translated a made up document, so I don’t see why Joseph Smith should be criticized for doing the same thing[...]

          The linguist would however be criticized if he made up his translation table and matched the symbols. And since you said that the GAEL does not line up with Egyptology we have another instance of Smith making shit up.

          I expect you to seek God on the subject and receive answers from Him.

          That presupposed that there actually is a God. Since every religious person in the world does exactly the same thing and comes up with completely different and mutually exclusive answers this is hardly a pathway to truth. It is almost as if the God they are praying to doesn’t actually exist. And I know the drill: If you don’t get an answer you (1) were not sincere enough, (2)are a sinner and have to repent first, (3)(click here and insert random ad hoc rationalization)

          I have a better idea: Obviously you were sincere enough that God graced you with an answer. I could compile a list of scientific questions that I really would love to have answered. The reasons I would ask scientific questions: Because we could actually check whether the answers are correct. But then, anytime god is asked to actually provide useful and testable answers he retreats into vapor very quickly.

        • JohnH

          I see nothing wrong with suspecting it might be a scam as the basic approach.

          Then the GAEL is the correct thing to research as opposed to the Kinderhook plates, and not lining up with Egyptology does not, by itself, rule out the GAEL.

          Very few religious people in the world actually directly attempt to ask God questions and even fewer ask if what they believe is right. Since everyone is in some sense a sinner having to repent before getting an answer doesn’t appear to be a requirement; Repenting certainly would help and some sins could impact the ability to have real intent, or a sincere heart, and definitely ones faith in Christ. A lack of sincerity can be a problem, such as if someone is only asking God the question with the intent to mock God in public for not responding or something similar, that is hard to judge. The presupposition of there being a God and the requirement of faith in Christ would appear to be more problematic.

          I do not believe God is a fairy or genie of which answers can be demanded. I also trust the scriptures which say that faith is important, proving the existence of God to the point that faith is no longer necessary appears to be contrary to what God intends. Having someone ask that is able to understand the question and the answer would be necessary for this to work but then how does one control for the person coming up with the answer themselves? Also, what happens if God responds not with the answer itself but with how to find the answer? God provides plenty of useful answers all the time, but it appears that what He finds useful and what you find useful are two very different things.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JohnH:

          I do not believe God is a fairy or genie of which answers can be demanded. I also trust the scriptures which say that faith is important, proving the existence of God to the point that faith is no longer necessary appears to be contrary to what God intends.

          Imagine a false religion–could’ve been invented deliberately or it could’ve just grown organically. But there’s no god behind it.

          That religion would use faith to explain why the god wasn’t obvious. In other words, faith is a clue to a false religion.

          Hey … your religion uses faith. Indeed, it celebrates faith. It handwaves that faith is the desire of the god behind it.

          Does that tell us anything?

        • JohnH

          Bob,
          Faith is something that can and is tested, see Alma 32.

          Also, as I have pointed out before there are empirical evidences for the existence of God and for the truthfulness of my religion, some of which are in some sense undeniable. Those evidences however do not (and I believe can not) produce faith, but they may cause others to question, just as lack of evidence in somethings causes believers to question; I, personally, think the questioning on both sides is good if it happens as we are all supposed to come to know God personally rather then trusting in what is in a book or in logical “proofs” or in tradition or social pressure or whatever else causes one to believe or disbelieve without an actual personal knowledge on the subject.

        • Compuholic

          [...]and not lining up with Egyptology does not, by itself, rule out the GAEL.

          It doesn’t? Because it certainly looks like that to me. Of course one can always make up excuses for it. But it is remarkable that whenever Smith made a testable translation he always has to resort to excuses why the translated texts don’t match up with the real translation.

          I do not believe God is a fairy or genie of which answers can be demanded.

          It is like I said: He always retreats into vapor whenever he is asked to do anything that is relevant in the real world. That is too bad. Because the only two options I can think of that would convince me of his existence is

          1. If he chose to show himself to me (preferrably in a group because my first reaction would be that I was hallucinating. But if everyone saw the same thing that would be something)
          2. If for some reason he is shy, he could at least demonstrate that an intelligent agent is working behind the scenes. There would be many ways to do that. Answering questions whose answers are known to no one would be one of them. Another strong hint would be if he could predict the results of probabilistic processes.

          But then, maybe my standards of evidence are too high and god only wants to settle for the more gullible part of the population.

          [...]proving the existence of God to the point that faith is no longer necessary appears to be contrary to what God intends

          Right, so the only people who god wants to know his truth are the ones who are willing to set aside reason and evidence and simply take his existence for granted.

          Faith is something that can and is tested

          Can you distinguish faith (in the religious sense) from gullability for me? Because I fail to see the difference. You said that proving the existence of god so that faith is not required is not one of his objectives. That means that faith is belief in absence of evidence and that sounds like the definition of gullability to me.

        • JohnH

          “It doesn’t”
          Not necessarily, if the GAEL produces consistent intelligible results from even a subset of documents then it would be possible that the hieroglyphs have dual meanings, which is the case in some other instances that I am aware of.

          “If he chose to show himself to me”
          Depending on the circumstances that would be receiving an end to your faith, or the second coming. Otherwise this could possibly happen if God happens to agree that you need this as there are instances that are recorded where this happened.

          “intelligent agent is working behind the scenes”
          By say putting in a 3000+ year old prophecy that a certain small group of people would get scattered and persecuted for a very long time before eventually being gathered back into the land that they originally occupied as is done in the Bible? Or even more recent prophecies that have come true? Sorry, but I have yet to meet anyone that was convinced by modern prophets prophesying the gathering of Israel 100 years before the event, or of Word of Wisdom actually being a good law of health, or of the Civil War and world wars, or of the Spanish Flu, or of housing market collapse, or of a long list of other things; People appear to hold true to those at the time of Jeremiah, mocking prophecy before it happens, and ignoring that it occurred afterwords.

          “standards of evidence are too high ”
          Perhaps if you actually listened to the words of God on what He desires to give as evidence and then tested that out you wouldn’t be so disappointed when God refuses to give you something that you demand which He hasn’t promised?

          ” set aside reason and evidence and simply take his existence for granted.”
          Actually, no. I can use reason to say that there is a God just as much as you can use it to try and claim there isn’t, it proves nothing either way. I can point to tons of evidence for the existence of God and you can discount it all and try and present evidence for God’s non-existence, it proves nothing either way.

          God does not reserve knowledge of Himself, but desires all to come, but to come requires not thinking that you are smarter then 99.9…% of people that ever lived and they were/are all gullible idiots but to have the smallest amount of humility and realize that maybe, possibly, there might actually be something to it and to test God in the things which He, and those that believe in Him, hold as being what is testable instead of demanding proofs which God has shown no desire to give. That is the start of faith, recognizing that other people may not all gullible idiotic liars when they claim that they of themselves know that there is a God and that if you would actually and sincerely test it in the way that God has decreed, not to satisfy your lusts, not to bring God to open shame, or mock Him, but actually desiring to know if He is real and being willing to actually change belief and action if a response is given then a response will be given, perhaps not the response that you demand or desire but the response that God is willing to give you according to His will and your need.

        • Compuholic

          it would be possible that the hieroglyphs have dual meanings

          Yeah, a lot of things are “possible”. It is possible that for every instance he had a convenient excuse, that excuse is actually true. It is just not very likely. The easiest answer (which also lines up with all the other instances of him failing to provide evidence) would be that he made it all up.

          that would be receiving an end to your faith, or the second coming
          Another really convenient excuse. You either have to already believe in order to get your evidence or the evidence is postponed after your death. Again, this could in theory be true. It is just that it has fraud written all over it.

          if God happens to agree that you need this as there are instances that are recorded where this happened

          It has also been recorded that lots of people saw Mohammed fly on a horse. Just because somebody has written down something does not make it believable. And we even have cases where we have independent written accounts that we dismiss as fiction: I take it you also don’t believe the cccounts of the Fatima-Miracle or the accounts of alien abductions. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And miracles are extraordinary by definition. By contrast, people being mistaken about their experiences or even deliberately lying about them is very ordinary. So we already know which option is more likely.

          By say putting in a 3000+ year old prophecy

          Oh boy, prophecies are always spun in retrospect to mean pretty much anything. Now if there was a prophecy in a 3000+ year old document that was actually specific like: “3000 years from now in a country the people will call the United States of America a man called Barack Obama will be elected as the 44th president of the country” I would be genuinely interested.Of course no prophecy ever mentiones any concrete information. They are always of the kind “3000 years from now a war will take place” which can mean pretty much anything since somewhere in the world there is always a war going on.

          [...]persecuted for a very long time before eventually being gathered back into the land that they originally occupied[...]

          You have similar stories for any country that had at some point fugitives of any sort who later returned home. That covers pretty much every country on earth. Hardly an impressive prophecy.

          That is the start of faith, recognizing that other people may not all gullible idiotic liars when they claim that they of themselves know that there is a God[...]

          Since you reject all the other religions on earth you implicitly say that most people are either gullible, deluded, liars or simply mistaken. So we already have a very good prior probability that people are deluding themselves about their religion.

          [...]and sincerely test it in the way that God has decreed, not to satisfy your lusts, not to bring God to open shame, or mock Him[...]

          I like to take things one step at a time. First I need to be convinced that something like a god actually exists. Then and only then I will entertain thoughts about what this god wants (and if I want to have anything to do with him, because after all I heard he sounds like a giant asshole)

        • JohnH

          Compuholic,
          Again, that is fine.

          You may not be dead for the second coming; if Luke 21 has been accurately transmitted to us and my reading of it is correct then it would appear that Christ will probably come sometime before 2087 based on the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem, unless life extension technology actually ends up working before then in which case I have no idea.

          I don’t accept Fatima as valid but think it is possible those that experienced it were honest, I believe that there is life on other planets, I believe that there are lots of atmospheric and solar Phenomenon as well as lots of experimental aircraft and people playing hoaxes, I think it improbable that there are actual alien UFO’s and abductions.

          The prophecies seem more specific then you make it out to be but I think you are getting back into trying to get proof of God so that faith is not at all required.

          I am not aware of prophecies of scattering and gathering outside of the Bible and related texts in regards to Israel. Perhaps you can find the many you say exist and share?

          I believe that God grants to all nations that portion of His word that He sees fit that they should have, meaning I don’t actually reject all other religions on earth no do I think they are deluded but I do think they are lacking a fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          I believe that convincing is the wrong way to go about it and I am sorry that you feel that God has offended you and your sensibilities.

        • John

          If I understand the instruction, the question to be asked sincerely with real intent and faith in Christ is “If these things are not true.” Derived from that, a Christian would receive the witness of the Holy Spirit the truth of it that indeed, they are not true.
          Mormonism has another jesus, not the Christ Jesus of the Holy Word of God. Mormon literature not unlike the many contributions of unbelievers here make plain that the Holy Word of God commonly referred to as the Bible, The Jewish Tanakh, and the Gospels are not without corruption and may not be trusted. You may as well be reading Tolkein.
          That being said, “The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay.”

        • JohnH

          An amusing reading of it.

          I think you have completely the wrong idea about LDS feelings on the Bible, generally I find that I trust the Bible quite a bit more then even most fundamentalist evangelicals, excluding some literal interpretations in Genesis. If you really wanted to test this out I am sure Bob Jase would get great pleasure out of it.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      JohnH:

      The point isn’t that Jesus died, as everyone dies, but that he died for our sins

      As I mentioned, he didn’t really die.

      He was a voluntary sacrifice for what we of ourselves have knowingly done wrong

      We come out of the box incapable of living a sinless life. And so, by the end, we’re not sinless. Who’s surprised? If anyone should be punished, it should be our creator, I suppose.

      You especially have the wrong idea in terms of how many will go to hell.

      So how many are going?

      Makes no sense, to resurrect their must be death, without the death on the cross there was no Resurrection.

      You do know the story, right? Jesus was dead and then, a day and a half later, he was not dead. If he resurrected, then I guess he’s not dead anymore.

      Being dead for 36 hours isn’t “dead.”

      you also seem to be missing that Resurrection and Judgement before God are free gifts to all.

      Free gifts that I can’t take. I can’t just believe in Jesus, just like you probably can’t “just believe” in leprechauns.

      In being brought back into the presence of God we will have a complete realization of everything that we have knowingly done wrong

      No need for hell then, right? Everyone is enlightened in heaven.

      shows you either have a completely wrong understanding of Jesus or are just a pathetic human being.

      No third option? Dang.

      When a person spends their life serving the poor and needy we generally applaud them instead of saying “well that is just their nature”.

      Yeah, and why is that? Because it’s hard. We’re all at least a little good, and we know that this is difficult and laudable.

      It’s not their nature. Jesus, on the other hand, was perfect. It wasn’t like he had to agonize over decisions—he knew with crystal clarity the correct decision. And then he took the correct decision. Am I missing something?

      Seems like, “OK, that donut looks pretty tasty, but I know that the sugar is actually cyanide, and I’ll die if I eat it. Hmm … suddenly my appetite for sweets is gone.”

      The prodigal son returned to the father and asked forgiveness, the father did not send out a swat team to go capture the son a drag him back against his will.

      The father didn’t demand a sacrifice to satisfy his justifiable wrath; he just welcomed the son back home, no strings attached. Nothing difficult to believe in, and no sacrifice. He just forgave.

      • JohnH

        Again, you are arguing against a version of the Fall and Original Sin that I don’t hold, so I am not sure what the point is in responding. Also creation, you have the wrong idea about creation from my perspective.

        Each of us is perfectly capable of making the correct decision all the time. Each of us willingly chooses to do something that we, of ourselves, know to be wrong, not because of something Adam did and not because we couldn’t have done better but because we choose to and we know it.

        “So how many are going?”
        What do you mean by Hell to begin with?

        If you mean those that end up eternally cut off from God (which is what it appears you mean) then very few as to get sent there one has to do the equivalent of deny the existence of the sun while staring at it at noon day; Only those that choose to sin with a certain knowledge of God and Christ can or will get completely cut off, everyone else will eventually be redeemed to that level of glory which they are willing to receive.

        You appear to have a very odd definition of death.

        Being redeemed from the Fall has nothing to do with accepting it or taking it, that will happen to everyone regardless of acceptance, deservedness, belief, whatever. What happens afterwords is dependent on what we choose to do both now and then. Having a perfect knowledge of right and wrong, of God, and so forth does not change who we are or who we have become. It just makes us have a perfect realization of what it is we have done and who we really are based on our own actions, and seeing that light will certainly cause those that have chosen darkness to again choose darkness in order to hide from the light if they could.

        Pathetic human being was as gentle as I could think of phrasing that, and I can’t think of a third option that doesn’t fall into one of those two.

        Again, your appear to not understand that Jesus was in fact human, just like any of us. That He did in fact agonize over decisions, even knowing what was the correct decision, just as we agonize over decisions when we know what the correct one is. Perfection without the possibility of imperfection is meaningless, constantly making the correct decision despite being hungry, exhausted, public ridicule, pain, and perhaps doubt, and a lack of complete knowledge is very meaningful; Jesus just like anyone of us had to be taught and grew in wisdom and was not all knowing when born.

        God has forgiven us and will forgive us if we return to Him.

        • Bob Jase

          “Again, you are arguing against a version of the Fall and Original Sin that I don’t hold”

          So you are choosing which interpretation fits your own world view rather than believing in the traditional, supposedly correct, view. Pick a few cherries for me while you’re at it.

          And again, you said you aren’t a Christian yet clearly you are so once again I have to say you are a liar.

        • JohnH

          Bob Jase
          Do what? I think you have me confused with someone else. I am LDS, which I consider to be Christian.

    • Slow Learner

      Justin Martyr – you know, the one who said “For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, [wicked demons] put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvelous tales, like the things which were said by the poets.”
      So, Christianity didn’t draw on other stories as inspiration, the other stories are devilish mimicry designed to discredit Christianity.
      And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

      • Yoav

        So, Christianity didn’t draw on other stories as inspiration, the other stories are devilish mimicry designed to discredit Christianity.

        That’s one neat trick they had, writing all these stories mimicking cristianity centuries (and occasional millenia) before the invention of christianity.

      • JohnH

        I actually completely disagree with Justin Martyrs conclusion that the stories of the sons of gods and suffering gods come from the devil; I think it much more likely that such tales, similar to the Popol Vuh (which can not have had contact either way), probably mostly originally came from God and were corrupted in the retelling (and falling away) that happened.

  • smrnda

    If I grant that Jesus is god (or a god) who has existed eternally, then his entire time on earth would have been a tiny blip given the length of time given eternity. To compare it to something – if I walk outside in the winter with no coat on to get the mail, I’m cold for a few seconds and suffer a little bit, but it isn’t like spending a winter homeless or a lifetime in Siberia. Is a god with great powers really capable of physical suffering?

    The notion of universal condemnation or ‘everybody is a sinner’ never really made that much sense to me, since I can’t conceive of how a person can exist without eventually doing something wrong – even between two good options, how do you know you chose the right one? I think the other is, in the post-Enlightenment world, we’re used to the idea that people choose the rules they are held accountable to (at least ideally) and that they have a right to reject overly restrictive or draconian legal systems, and to reject rules that seem to be based on taboos that make no sense. If god loves us, why doesn’t he let us make up the rules we want to live by? Would make sense.

    • Mr. X

      “If god loves us, why doesn’t he let us make up the rules we want to live by?”

      For the same reason that parents don’t let their children make up the rules they want to live by.

      • smrnda

        Seriously? I run across lots of parents who negotiate rules with their kids. My grandparents were kind of shocked that their grandchildren (at least me and my brother) didn’t have assigned bedtimes, mealtimes, and nobody checked our homework or our grades. We all turned out fine anyway, so I guess that even kids in grade school can figure out that if you don’t want to throw your life away, the best plan isn’t skipping school and getting in trouble. The Christian view of ourselves as lost little kids who have to be told what to do and can’t be told why isn’t just insulting to adults, it’s insulting to actual kids.

    • JohnH

      The problem isn’t choosing a wrong option, it is knowingly choosing something that we, of ourselves, know to be wrong.

  • Mr. X

    “8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology. Jesus’s sacrifice was small compared to the Greek god Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to humanity. Zeus discovered the crime and punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock so that a vulture could eat his liver. Each night, his liver grew back and the next day the vulture would return, day after agonizing day. The gospel story, where Jesus is crucified once and then pops back into existence several days later, is unimpressive by comparison.”

    Prometheus being chained to a rock wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a punishment imposed by Zeus. You can’t really compare the two.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      X:

      Prometheus being chained to a rock wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a punishment imposed by Zeus. You can’t really compare the two.

      Jesus dying and then popping back into existence wasn’t much of a sacrifice, and in terms of agony, it counts for far less. Didn’t Prometheus take one for the team in a much bigger way than Jesus did?

      • Mr. X

        It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that Christianity has never taught that Jesus was “just” crucified, he also took on the burden of the whole world’s sin. The precise details of how this works are disputed, but treating the crucifixion as if it were just an ordinary death rather undervalues the sacrifice Jesus is supposed to have made.

        • Greg G.

          But taking on a finite amount of sin for a day and a half should be child’s play for part of an omnipotent being.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          X:

          Yes, I’ve heard this, but where does this come from? Is this supported in the gospels?

        • John Kesler

          Mr. X:
          It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that Christianity has never taught that Jesus was “just” crucified, he also took on the burden of the whole world’s sin. The precise details of how this works are disputed, but treating the crucifixion as if it were just an ordinary death rather undervalues the sacrifice Jesus is supposed [...]

          Bob Seidensticker:
          Yes, I’ve heard this, but where does this come from? Is this supported in the gospels?

          KESLER
          John 1:29
          29The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

        • Bob Seidensticker

          JK:

          The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

          Thanks for this, but I don’t think this verse does it. Mr. X talked about Jesus taking on “the burden of the whole world’s sin.” In other words, the more people and the more sin, the more anguish Jesus went through in his “death.”

          Your verse doesn’t address this.

  • Kodie

    I came to a conclusion in my post about the soap thread: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/03/why-does-the-bible-have-no-recipe-for-soap/#comment-29130

    This bothers me because missionaries travel to places where everyone is starving and thirsty and bring them bibles to teach them what’s important. It seems to me that is the true feature of the bible – how much life really sucked and instead of passing on the knowledge to fix it, god had himself killed instead.

    The crucifixion doesn’t make sense because it’s not actually useful in any way. A man who died 2000 years ago in any fashion, executed for being a radical, whatever, cannot do anything for me now. Sacrificed himself because he loved me? I wasn’t born yet. It’s a diversion from the fact that the earth and life on it still has a lot of flaws and difficulties that we solve ourselves or go unsolved. The only thing that “god” has to offer is a grand gesture that’s supposed to floor me, and stand in lieu of actual assistance. It has got so many people thinking that that’s what is even more important! To channel their energies into this cult to try to get more people to believe it. And if you don’t believe it, and you aren’t grateful, the punishment is eternal torture.

    Giving your life isn’t the same thing as ending your life either. An alive Jesus who lived a really long time and gave us everything his life had to give would have, might have, been a better sacrifice. Dying is stupid. He becomes symbolic and useless. But martyrdom is dramatic and manipulative and tugs at the heartstrings. Only gullible fools believe death is the greater sacrifice. All I can think of death is a release of obligations. People who believe they have souls and go on after death should be the least impressed. Death is your doorway to the palace of extraordinary delights you can’t even imagine. What kind of sacrifice is that? He got homesick and finally got to go home.

  • http://nw-politics.blogspot.com/?spref=fb Virginia Fitzpatrick

    Ever since I was forced as a kid to listen to the story of Abraham and Isaac, I have never approved of the notion of human sacrifice by Yahweh and the all the other ancient male gods I have read about. Still I had to listen to the “lamb of God” theory in Sunday School. However, I don’t remember reading in the gospels that Christ was being sacrificed for our sins – only for some strange reason Jesus knew that God wanted him to go through crucifixion. Happily I came across another theory about the Crucifixion. I read a book by a Japanese Zen monk who converted to Catholicism. Cardinal Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict) asked him to teach a course at the University of Tubingen on Buddhism. The converted monk had a totally different interpretation of the crucifixion which ignored the “lamb of god” thesis. (Unfortunately I lost the monks book in Seattle over a decade ago and forgot the his name). I thought the monk had a much nicer explanation of the the life and crucifixion of Jesus i.e. God just did not understand why humans were doing all the evil and crazy things they were doing. So to have a better understanding and empathy for humans God transformed himself into a human -Jesus – trying to tell people how they should behave as in the beatitudes. Those in power felt threatened by Jesus’ influence and forced God into a painful transition back to his former state.

  • SparklingMoon

    Was Jesus not a man but actually a god? If so, that has yet to be shown.
    ————————————————————————————————–
    Can reason accept that a humble creature who possesses all the qualities of a man should be called god? Can reason tolerate that creatures should flog their Creator and that the servants of God should spit in the face of the Powerful God and should seize Him and should nail Him to the cross and that He should be helpless in their hands? Can anyone understand that a person should call himself God and should supplicate a whole night long and his supplication should not be accepted? Can any heart draw comfort from the idea that God should spend nine months in a womb and be nourished on blood and should be born wailing through the usual channel? Can any reasonable person accept that after an eternity of time God should assume a body and one part of Him should take the form of man and another should take the form of a pigeon and that these bodies should confine Him for ever. [Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 13, pp. 86-87]

    • SparklingMoon

      No doubt Jesus is called in Luke 1:32, the son of the Highest and in 1:35, the son of God; but these expressions in Bible do not at all connote Divinity or partnership in Divinity. As it states:
      I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalms 82:6)
      There are many examples in the Bible the expression son of God is applied to prophets, to the righteous and to believers:
      Israel is My son, even My first born. (Exodus 4:22)
      Also I will make him (David) My first born, higher than the kings of the earth. (Psalms 89:27)
      He (Solomon) shall be My son, and I will be his Father. (1. Chron 22:10)
      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Matt. 5:9)
      Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. (John 3:1)
      There exists in New Testament a significant example about the use of this word that is explained by Jesus himself, as it states :
      Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; because that thou, being man, makest thyself God. (John 10:31-33)

      Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? If he called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemeth; because I said, I am the son of God (John 10:34-35)
      Here the question was posed directly to Jesus. Did he claim to be God, or the part of God as is presented in the theory of Trinity. ”No.”
      The answer of Jesus answer must be accepted by all those who claim to believe in him and follow him.This example make it clear that the expression, son of God, when applied to Jesus, by himself or by others, meant no more in his case than has been expressed for other people in scriptures. He was son of God in that sense only, but in no way at all God, or the part of God.

    • Bob Jase

      Say, how about you and our Mormon & Lying Non-Chrisitan above get together and debate here why each of your religions is the one true one and why only the miracles you believe in are real while the others are false.

      You may begin.

      • JohnH

        Bob Jase,
        You are apparently conflating me with Jason, as I have never said I was not a Christian and I have not lied, it is not my fault you are unable to distinguish between JohnH and Jason .

        • Kodie

          Say, how about you (Sparkling Moon) and our Mormon (JohnH) & Lying Non-Chrisitan (Jason) above get together and debate here why each (respectively: Sparkling Moon, JohnH, and Jason) of your religions (respectively: uninhibitedly Christian, uninhibitedly Mormon, deceitfully Christian) is the one true one and why only the miracles you believe in are real while the others are false.

          HTH!

        • JohnH

          I see, I was assuming based on Bod Jase’s comment above where he did confuse me for Jason of having continued to do so. Your explanation does make sense, though I have to point out that Sparkling Moon is not Christian but Muslim.

        • Kodie

          Someone who uses a dozen or more verses of biblical scripture in their posts to “support” their argument is not a Muslim, I don’t think. I don’t even know if you can read at this point.

        • JohnH

          Kodie,
          Sparkling Moon is definitely Muslim. Islam considers the Bible to be a holy book and Sparkling Moon is giving nearly the traditional Islamic interpretation of the Crucifixion and attempting to support it using the Bible. Sparkling Moon is also extensively quoting Islamic scholars and sayings and focusing on attributes of God found most prominently in Islam. Sparkling Moon has argued that Jesus is not part of the Godhead, is not God, did not die for our sins, that there is no atonement, but that Jesus is the Messiah and a prophet (or messanger of God), Those are all very strictly Islamic beliefs and not Christian beliefs.

          As in I read just fine.

        • Bob Jase

          So how about you and Moon and Jason settilng out who has the true religion here while we watch.

        • Bob Jase

          then kew

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • SparklingMoon

    The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.”
    ———————————————————————————–
    ” It is said that Jesus took upon himself the sins of the whole world and consented to death upon the cross so that through his death mankind might be delivered. God put His innocent son to death to save sinners. We fail to understand, however, that the hearts of people can be purified from the foulness of sin through such a wrongful death and how, by the slaughter of an innocent one, the past sins of others can be forgiven. This is opposed both to justice and to mercy, inasmuch as it is contrary to justice to seize an innocent one in place of a sinner and it is contrary to mercy to kill one’s son in this hardhearted manner. Besides, all this has achieved nothing {Lecture Lahore Ruhani Khazain vol. 20, pp. 17}.

    This dogma of Atonement is not only against the justice of God but also against his other attributes.If God is not the true Guide and salvation without a belief in the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus is impossible, then all Divine Messengers of the Bible will have to be accepted as so many liars and cheats because contrary to Christian belief, they preached and taught that salvation was possible only through right beliefs and righteous actions; and a reflection on the truthfulness of God’s Messengers constitutes a reflection on the truthfulness of God Himself and consequently on His being the true Guide.
    If God is described ”All-Knowing” in the Bible then there is no place for the dogma of Atonement because this dogma presupposes that God had designed to carry on the business of the world according to a certain plan but His knowledge being defective that plan failed to function and, therefore, God was compelled to offer His own son for sacrifice to save the world. The failure of God’s plan contradicts His attribute “All-Knowing” and when God’s knowledge is shown to be defective, He cannot claim to All-Sufficient because the Being Who is All-Knowing must necessarily be All–Sufficient.

    • JohnH

      As traditionally presented by ‘orthodox’ Christians, you are certainly correct, also as presented by Virginia Fitzpatrick. However, Jesus is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the Earth and the foreknowledge of God both planned for the Fall and the Atonement as necessary events in the progression of man. Furthermore, since the spirit of prophecy is a testimony of Jesus then all the prophets in the Bible and elsewhere have testified of Jesus, right belief eventually requires a knowledge of Jesus and leads to righteous action.

      • Nox

        Changing the definition of words is not an argument.

        • JohnH

          I don’t understand what you are critiquing here, please explain.

      • trj

        This is like watching a discussion on whether unicorns are white or black.

  • MNb

    You forget one point in the article (you mention it in one of your reactions) – the most important one to me. I didn’t ask for Jesus’ sacrifice but still am expected to be so grateful that I submit my entire life for a reward – eternal boredom in heaven – I don’t want to receive either.
    Btw death doesn’t suck – that’s what christians try to indoctrinate us with. Dying often sucks. I have been dead – ie non-existent – for 13,7 billion of years and didn’t suffer a split second. Did anyone?

    • Natalie

      Nope. I often quote to people how content I was in the year 1563. Or any other year before I was born. And I full expect to be similarly content after I die! :-)

  • http://anodeofranvier.wordpress.com Steven

    For me the most telling issue is; this is a supposedly omnipotent god. He said ‘Let there be light’ and there was, so what stops him from saying ‘I forgive you’? Something pretty much any human can do. Why construct an elaborate blood sacrifice of yourself, to yourself?

    At no point does this make sense, so Christianity: thanks but no thanks, you go in the bin with all the rest.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Steven:

      what stops him from saying ‘I forgive you’?

      Rules are rules, pal. God’s gotta abide by them.

      Even though he made them. Or something.

  • SparklingMoon

    Jesus didn’t even die.
    ————————————————————————–
    In Matthew, chapter 26, verses 36 to 46, which relate that after getting information, through revelation, of his impending arrest, Jesus prayed to God all night, on his face, and in tears, and such prayer offered with such humility, and for which Jesus had ample time, could not go unaccepted; for the cry of an elect of God, addressed at a time of distress, is never turned down. How was it then, that the prayer of Jesus which he had addressed all night with a painful heart and in a state of distress was rejected? Jesus had said: The Father who is in heaven listens to me. Therefore, when his prayer addressed in such a state of distress was not heard, how can it be said that God heard his prayers?
    The gospels also show that Jesus (peace be on him) was certain at heart that his prayer had been accepted; he had great confidence in that prayer. That is why when he was arrested and put on the Cross, and when he found the circumstances not according to his expectations, he involuntarily cried ‘Eli, Eli lama sabachthani’, meaning, ‘My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me.’, i.e., he did not expect that it would come to this — that he would die on the Cross. He believed that his prayer would be heard. So, both these references to the gospel show that Jesus firmly believed that his prayer would be heard and accepted, that his tearful supplications addressed throughout the night would not be wasted, whereas he had himself taught his disciples, on divine authority: When you pray, the prayer will be accepted. Further, he had also narrated the parable of the judge who feared neither man nor God. The purpose of this parable was that the disciples should realise that God undoubtedly answered prayers. Although Jesus knew from God that there was a great affliction in store for him, yet, like all righteous persons, he prayed to God, believing that there was nothing impossible for God and that God determined whether any events would happen or not. Therefore, the rejection of Jesus’ own prayer would have shaken the faith of the disciples. Was it possible to place before the disciples an example destructive of their faith? If they had seen with their own eyes that the prayer of a great prophet like Jesus, addressed all night with burning passion, was not accepted, the unfortunate example would have been very trying for their faith. Therefore, the Merciful God could not but have accepted this prayer. It is certain the prayer offered at Gethsemane was accepted. (Jesus in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed)

    • SparklingMoon

      Second,
      ”Apart from this, it was necessary that Jesus should escape death on the cross, for it was stated in the Holy Book that whoever was hanged on the wood was accursed. The plan of the opponents of Jesus to bring him on cross was to prove him according to the statement of Old Testament (“Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”Deuteronomy 21:23)to be a cursed person.
      It is claimed by St.Paul in New Testament:”Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written,“Cursed is everyone who is hangedon a tree”– 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so thatwe might receivethe promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
      The followers of Trinity did not ponder over the significance of a curse when they invented this belief; else, it were impossible for them to have used such a bad word for a righteous man like Jesus. It is a cruel and an unjust blasphemy to attribute a curse to an eminent person like Jesus, for, according to the agreed view of all who know the meanings of curse that it has reference to the state of one’s heart. A man would be said to be accursed when his heart, having been estranged from God, becomes really dark; when, deprived of divine mercy and of divine love, devoid absolutely of His Knowledge, when there remains not a ray of divine love and knowledge in him; when the bond of loyalty is broken, and between him and God there arises hatred and contempt and spite and hostility, so much so that God and he become mutual enemies.

      It is clear that the significance of the word accursed, is so foul that it can never apply to any righteous person who entertains love of God in his heart. Can we say that Jesus’ heart was ever really estranged from God; that he had denied God, that he hated Him and had become His enemy? Can we ever think that Jesus had ever felt in his heart that he was estranged from God, that he was an enemy of God, and that he was immersed in the darkness of unbelief and denial? If, then, Jesus had never been in such a state of mind, that his heart was always full of love and the light of Divine Knowledge. This not only detracts from the prophet hood and apostleship of Jesus (on whom be the peace of God) but it is also derogatory to his claim to spiritual eminence, holiness, love, and knowledge of God, to which he has repeatedly given expression in the gospels. Just look through the Bible; therein Jesus clearly claims that he is the Light of the world, that he is the Guide, and that he stands in a relation of great love towards God; that he has been honoured by a clean birth, and that he is the loved Son of God. How then, in spite of these pure and holy relations, can a curse, with all its significance, be attributed to Jesus?No, never.

      It is a pity that once a man has given utterance to something, when he has taken his stand upon a particular belief, he is not inclined to give up that belief, however much the absurdity thereof be exposed. Desire to attain salvation, if grounded upon true foundations, is a praiseworthy thing, but where is the sense in having a desire for salvation which kills truth and which countenances, regarding a holy prophet arid a perfect man, the belief that he had as it were passed through a state in which he had been estranged from God, and in which, instead of unity of heart and unity of inclination, there had been produced a strangeness and aloofness, enmity and hatred; and, instead of light, darkness had surrounded his heart? (Jesus in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed)

      • Kodie

        Why do you quote extensively from another source but expect us to be convinced by it as you were convinced? It’s not really relevant to the OP, it still makes no sense. If you have something to say, say it in your own words, in one post.

  • John Kesler

    If Matthew’s gospel is to be believed, not only was Jesus one of at least three people crucified the same day he was (Matthew 27:38), but he wasn’t even the only one raised from the dead on or around Easter, as vv: 50-53 make clear:
    50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.
    By the way, the same Greek word translated “raised” in v:52 is used of Jesus’ rising from the dead in chapter 28:6-7, and a variant of that word, translated “resurrection,” appears in 27:53 referring to Jesus’ resurrection. As Robert M. Price says on pp. 72-73 of *Jesus is Dead*:
    “The implication is dangerous for the apologist, for surely it would mean that the reports of Jesus’ post-mortem reappearances were merely part of an epidemic wave of visions of the local well known dead that weekend im Jerusalem and its environs. This, I should think, would considerably lessen the evidential value of the resurrection sightings, making them very likely just one aspect of a local religious mass hysteria.”

    • John

      Except JK, that is not the only remarkable event that publically occurred. To emphasize: “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead .”
      The Bible informs us, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die , but after this the judgment:”
      May a man die more than once? Undeniably. We have the several occurances evidenced by the scripture. The woman’s son, in 2nd Kings was certainly dead. Lazarus was dead, those who came up out of the graves had not only been dead as had been Lazurus, but also prepared for burial by their relatives as was the custom. They again of necessity died and returned to the grave. They remain with us as to this day as is said of David, having gone to be with the fathers. Their bodies, as well those of all men are consigned to the grave until the change at the last trump. This is yet to occur.
      Then shall be the Judgement, to be followed by the second death which men in this life may be delivered from.
      The Second Death is not to be confused with the character and nature of the ordinary death of the body which results in the grave.

  • http://www.seditiosus.blogspot.com Schaden Freud

    That incoherency is why the crucifixion/resurrection story just doesn’t sit well with me, even if I were to assume for the sake of argument that the gospel account is accurate and that Jesus was the son of god. When I was a kid and flirting with Christianity (kind of how you might flirt with an acquaintance until you get to know them better and discover they’re a total asshole), this was the problem I had with the crucifixion. At the time I remember thinking the story looked a lot like blackmail to me. Think about it:

    Jesus sacrifices his life for us without consulting us or finding out whether we might want him to do that, and now that he’s done it we are in debt to him and owe him big time, forever, and must therefore do whatever he says. Or go to hell.

    Not very appealing. And why do it at all? You would think god would just forgive everybody’s sins, instead of going through this complicated and unpleasant human sacrifice pageant. Of course, it didn’t take me long to figure out the whole thing was fiction, and then I concluded that someone definitely wanted to make people feel indebted.

    • John

      Think of it this way. God did not grant Jesus’s petition as read in John 17 until Christ had already gone through the agony of the Crucifixion. It is the same with we who believe on the Name of the Son of God. Too often we express little, feeble, self indulgent, prayers, never realizing that the promise of God is not fully known until we come out the other side of the trial. The glorifying of Christ did not occur during His scourging, or even while He was on the cross. His glorifying came only once He was dead and placed in the tomb. Only then was His prayer fully answered, “ And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was .”
      You can easily believe me with assurance, that you are a dead man. All, since the beginning have died, once the transgression in the Garden of Eden had taken place. No children as yet had been born. Death is in you from the moment you draw that first breath. Continue to reject God’s marvelous provision that remains only in Christ (Eternal Life), and you shall in full knowledge, enter into an eternity separated from Him.
      I have been a Christian for some number of years and with each day become more convinced of the Eternal and the laws that are applicable to all men everywhere, through all time.
      The Word of God informs us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked : who can know it?” Only God can know it, and it is He who informs our hearts should we desire He do so. It is not that He is unwilling.
      Another way of looking at it too is, you cannot pay the penalty of your own sin, as it is personal death, eternal separation from God in a conscious state. That is what the second death is. Recall, “It is appointed unto man, once to die…”, but after this the judgement.” Truly, do you believe you may tell God how He must administer His creation or even whether He may save men’s souls or how it must be done?
      Sin is very real, the empirical evidence of it is everywhere throughout the world. Christ made His appearance to put away sin (And the consequence of sin) by the sacrifice of Himself.
      There is no thought of indebtedness on the Lord’s part regarding you, you are free to go your own way.
      Your remarks indicate to me you are somewhat rough hewn, but not yet without hope.
      Again, in John 17, are these words:
      ” Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”
      His prayer as recorded in John 17 was both for the disciples with Him at the time it was uttered, and those such as you and I having opportunity to know Him. Interestingly, He did not pray for the world, but those whom the Father had given Him, and those who were to follow after. I have never regretted my decision to receive Christ as my Savior. He is indeed after all, our gift from God:
      But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead , much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
      You are not restrained from being one of those many, no one has been exempted. A gift that may not be refused is no gift at all.

      • MNb

        “God did not grant Jesus’s petition as read in John 17 until Christ had already gone through the agony of the Crucifixion.”
        Can you really keep your eyes dry when calling this monotheism? I have a son. Let me claim that “I will only grant my son’s petition to save you until he as my heir (a word having actually meaning, which christ hasn’t) had already gone through the agony of whatever torture I had in mind. Still my son and I are one plus a holy soul comes around peeping after my son has somehow reappeared to tell you how blessed you are.
        Sounds more like one of the less inspired Monty Python sketches.

  • John B Hodges

    The crucifixion story makes no sense because it was a makeshift fallback theology composed after the generation that lived at the time of Jesus had all passed away, revealing that Jesus’ message was just plain wrong. If you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all give the same basic picture (hence, synoptic) of Jesus’ life and message. Jesus believed and taught that Judgment Day was near, perhaps next Thursday, certainly within the lifetime of those people standing there hearing him speak. The world was soon to end, be destroyed, and very few would be saved, almost everyone would be going to a fiery Hell of eternal punishment. Jesus commanded his followers to take drastic action to rack up as much credit as possible in the limited time remaining: sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor, follow the entire Law of Moses down to the last iota, overfulfill the Law by abstaining even from all thought of sin. Not only abstain from killing but even from anger; abstain not only from adultery but also from lust. Consider self-castration as a means to abstain from lust. Practice strict nonviolent pacifism, as a way to overfulfill the commandments not to commit injustice against others. (A more coherent presentation of all this is at http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-ethics-of-jesus ). But the decades passed, that generation passed away, and Judgment Day did not come. The church elders, or somebody, took the gospels and did an apocalypsectomy, writing the Gospel of John, taking out all of Jesus’ apocalyptic prophecies and all of his apocalyptic ethical teachings, spinning a theology out of what fragments remained, in which all that you need do to get a ticket to Heaven was to BELIEVE that Jesus had given you one.

    Modern Christian churches crucify Jesus again every Sunday, but pay no attention to what he taught. Understandably, because what he told his followers to DO makes perfect sense if the world is soon to end, and none if it is not.

  • Natalie

    11th reason: There is absolutely NO reason why the Jewish powers-that-be of the time would have anything against Jesus. The belief that the end of time was near was rampant among the religious Jews of the time, and there were 2-bit Messiahs running around all over the place. Why weren’t they all caught and condemned? For that matter, there have been many Jewish pseudo-Messiahs over the centuries — the ultimate proof is whether they accomplish what the Messiah is supposed to accomplish. So far, none of them have, including Jesus. So they can’t be Messiahs, again including Jesus. So, when it became apparent that Jesus wasn’t coming back any time soon, the newly-minted Christians invented the notion of the Second Coming. I figure if he comes again, and can PROVE he’s the Messiah, fine, I’ll believe in him. But I sorta don’t see that happening.

    • John

      Natalie,

      The Jews who had and continue to have more than a vested interest in this ( whether Christ was the Messiah or not), would not have hesitated to ensure that the tomb of Christ was sealed, remained sealed, and continued down throught the ages prominently displayed. That would have ended every controversy. Perhaps you can arrange a tour for those of us who along with you think the display of His bones would be shocking to the senses. Christians everywhere yet express confidence in His resurrection from the dead because of an empty tomb.
      In fact, it is that same testimony down through the ages that compels us to have assurance, God raised Christ from the dead. The tomb is empty.

      • Bob Jase

        You don’t get it – if I don’t believe in Jesus why should I believe there was ever a tomb for him to rise from? See – no Jesus, no empty tomb. Its that simple.

      • Greg G.

        If the empty tomb was such a good argument, why didn’t Paul use it in Acts 26? In verses 4 and 5, Paul uses the Jews as character witnesses but then goes on to tell about Jesus appearing to him on the road to Damascus. It would have been a much better argument to tell Agrippa to just ask all the Jews he wanted to use as character witnesses about the empty tomb.

        Acts 26:14 (NIV) says

        We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

        The “kick against the goads” would have been a Greek cliche, from Euripides play Bacchae, used by Greek speakers the way we use Shakespearean cliches without realizing the source. So we have Luke quoting Paul quoting Jesus, speaking in Aramaic, quoting the Greek Euripides quoting the Greek god Dionysus. One would think that someone coming down from Heaven would be able to be more creative than to quote other gods.

    • MNb

      “There is absolutely NO reason why the Jewish powers-that-be of the time would have anything against Jesus.”
      Actually the gospels give a plausible reason: Jesus going berserk in the temple because of the bankers, somewhat like a modern hooligan. But yeah, doesn’t sound as heroic.

  • John

    @JohnB,
    Your points are arguable, however there are other considerations not to be neglected.
    One importantant one is found in the Book of Daniel:
    “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro , and knowledge shall be increased .”
    There have been more than a number of thoughts regarding the “Time of the end.” It is described as a harvest. It will be after wars and rumors of wars. It is to come after the Gospel has been preached “As a witness” throughout all nations. Without doubt it must occur at the time of Christs coming (His return).
    The Angels shall be present.
    If we are unable to believe anything else, we certainly may agree many run to and fro, and knowledge has indeed increased. Moreso, than at any other time in our history. We can figuratively run to and fro non-stop almost to any point on the globe which is a marvelous thing and difficult to fully appreciate, but I don’t know that that alone is precursor to the end of the world. It shouldn’t be dismissed, however.
    The crux of the equation yet lies with Israel.
    Jesus never suggested a man castrate himself, and it should not be thought the remarks of hand, foot, or eye, being severed from the body be literal, taking into consideration the word, “Better.” The end of the man is “Hellfire” should he offend, but the offense arises out of the heart, and not the hand, foot, eye, or genitals. I suggest we have little opportunity to “Pluck” our hearts out as all may agree. There have been instances of persons cutting off their hands, but it never accomplished a change of heart.
    That is a work of the Holy Spirit which we are encouraged to ask the Father for.
    This is the same Holy Spirit which is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart and by which we are to be informed of truth from error.

    • John B Hodges

      Replying to John: Certainly Jesus suggested that men castrate themselves. See Matthew 19.

      In arguing with Christians, I’ve noticed that whenever I quote the words of Jesus, they immediately reply “He didn’t mean THAT.” I get that even from fundamentalists, people who believe in the actual existence of Adam and Eve and the Talking Snake.

      Jesus said (Luke 6:43) “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” I wonder the same thing.
      See http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-ethics-of-jesus

      • John

        JohnB,
        I believe you make your own point, “In arguing with Christians…” This is precisely within your character. You belong to a large company of mockesrs.
        In Matthew 19 Jesus was responding to the Pharisees regarding whether it be lawful for a man to put away his wife “For every cause.” His answer did not satisfy them and they then insisted He give cause why Moses gave a bill of divorcement. His reply was succinct, “Because of your hardness of heart…”
        When the disciples replied that if a man may not put away his wife, then it is not good to marry, He spoke of Eunuchs. The bond of a man and a wife could not be thought upon by all men. It could not be requited of them regarding the marital relationship (That a man should love his wife) as ordained by God.
        It is for this reason. Some men are Eunuchs from birth. Some were made Eunuchs by men as in the case of captors abusing men and boys taken as captives in war. And, there are also those having made themselves Eunuchs, thinking it would profit them in their labor to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
        Jesus no more required men to castrate themselves then because men steal, He would have them to be thieves. In acts of castration or thievery, they remain the misguided, ill informed, and unwise acts of men only, neither being approved of by God.
        Where are you in Proverbs 14:16 should we be confident wisdom comes from God?

        • John B Hodges

          So, John, you are saying that in speaking of Eunuchs, Jesus did not really mean Eunuchs, he meant men who chose to remain unmarried. As I said, this sort of rationalization is typical of Christians. He didn’t mean to suggest making yourself a Eunuch, what he REALLY meant was (fill in the blank).

          No, Jesus did not require it, but he said “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” I would hear that as something recommended but not required. If you can abstain from lust some other way, to abstain from committing adultery in your heart, then fine. (Matthew 5:27-30)

        • John

          No, you are suggesting that is what I mean. You answered your own mis-statement from your previous post, I quote you, “No, Jesus did not require it…” To enlarge upon that, He at most credited that these conditions of men existed, and barred men for whatever reason in participating in the marital relationship. The subject however remains, divorce, and the root of it, hardness of heart.
          To acknowledge the existence of any act or condition is not the same as approval or recommendation.
          Your distinction, “This sort of rationalization is typical of Christians,” informs myself and others familiar with you here, of your purposely separating yourself from being described as such. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the line went something like this, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…” I believe few realize or might agree, Christ could have cast Himself down. He was after all a free moral agent. He would not however, because it was not in His character. There are other examples of character of this nature in the Scripture.
          You may make reference to what you hear all you want, not unlike the tempter in his deceitful handling of the Word of God both in the Garden and upon the Mount of Temptation. What you hear does not imply understanding or a just or righteous measure in the handling of it.
          As illustrated, it can be used deceitfully.

        • John B Hodges

          John, I suggest you re-read Luke 6:46-49, and Matthew 7:21-27. I hope you would agree with me, that Jesus is saying there that to get to Heaven you must actually DO the things that Jesus tells his followers to do. Then, if you want to call yourself “Christian”, I would suggest doing what I have done, reading through the four Gospels to collect everything Jesus is reported to have said about what his followers should DO. Most Christians don’t even KNOW what Jesus taught, much less DO it.

          Mohandas Gandhi (often called Mahatma Gandhi) reportedly was once asked what he thought of Christians, and according to the story he replied “I don’t know, I’ve never met one.” This is a man who went to college in England. I know what he meant. I’m luckier than Gandhi; I’ve actually met one, a guy named Rusty, whom I picked up when he was hitchhiking in the 1970′s. He had sold all his possessions and distributed the money to the poor. He had the clothes on his back, a backpack and three books: and English Bible, a Spanish Bible, and an English/Spanish dictionary. He was traveling around the country, preaching the Gospel, depending on the kindness of strangers for his food and nightly shelter, preparing himself for Judgment Day. At the time, I though he was nuts, but when I read the Gospels with the intent of learning what Jesus taught, I came to see that Rusty had a very good case. (I don’t do these things myself, but I don’t call myself Christian either.)

  • Jacob

    Bob,

    agree with your thoughts on the crucifixion story. I don’t know how much worth there is in spending time arguing with christians here in the comments. My attitude is to build a system of values/morals grounded in lived experience expressing a positive outlook, even for a life that quite possibly ends after we die and without a theological system to provide answers to life’s basic questions. I do hope that in time we will lay the old religions peacefully to rest supplanted with more rational ideas but it will take time; many collective and individual identities and heritages are bound up in those monoliths.

    • John

      One of course which is God, Jacob.
      I do not know if you are aware or not, but in the Bible, Jacob is one of those identities you acknowledge in your very broad statement. He came to be known as Israel. Israel was identified to Pharaoh as the Lord’s son, His firstborn.
      Before everyone with an inclination to do so has their heads explode, it is God’s way of making known to Pharaoh, that His affections rested upon Israel in a thought of premminence, of all the peoples of the earth.
      Biblically, Israel may not have an enviable record regarding obedience, but there is no question that God has set His affections upon Israel. That has more to do with His keeping His promise to Abraham, than any righteousness on the part of Israel as a nation.
      In Hosea that thought is carried forward in this manner:
      “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”
      This is the citation referred to in Matthew, regarding Jesus, as a parallel and prophetical statement. Jesus had been taken by Joseph and Mary into Egypt until the death of Herod allowed them return in safety.
      It is important to understand that firstborn confers both position and identity. The two are not necessarily inclusive and may be mutually exclusive. Manasseh and Ephraim were brothers. Manasseh was the firstborn son of Joseph and Asenath in Egypt. Ephraim was the second son, yet in Jerimiah 31:9, God identifies Himself as Father to Israel, and Ephraim as His firstborn.
      The value lies in the promise of Eternal Life which I am concerned thatyou by your own predjudice have disallowed and may fall short of.
      I am not arguing with you. I am sharing with you the confidence I and others have in the Savior, which you do not possess.

      • MNb

        “The value lies in the promise of Eternal Life”
        That value is zero or less afaIc. Eternal life is for dummies – in fact it’s terrible, as the French author Simone de Beauvoir explored in one of her books.

        “which I am concerned that”
        I don’t appreciate your concern – I can take care of my own business, thank you. You are just as obnoxious as your superhero Jesus of Nazareth, whose sacrifice I didn’t ask for, never wanted and never needed either.

        “you by your own predjudice”
        Reread Matthew 7:1, would-be christian. You don’t have the right to give that verdict if you take your own belief system seriously.

        “have disallowed and may fall short of.”
        The prospect of haring eternal life with your kind is a good, albeit subjective reason to remain an atheist. Non-existing sounds much better.

  • Matti

    This I think perfectly sums up the Christian idea of the omnipotent creator of the Universe:
    http://memegenerator.net/instance/20843189

  • SparklingMoon

    The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection. If Jesus died, there’s no miraculous resurrection, and if there’s a resurrection, there’s no sacrifice through death.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    There are three kind of descriptions in the books of Gospels about the Resurrection of Jesus
    1) Resurrection after Cross 2) Resurrection at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem 3)Resurrection at this time that is called the end of the age by Jesus.
    The sayings of Jesus in his own words can be helpful to understand the real meanings of his resurrection and to come out from man’s made theorie .
    1) Resurrection after Cross:
    When Jesus met his companion after Cross with the same physical wounded body and they were startled and frightened, thinking that they saw a ghost or spirit of Jesus . Jesus in his own words had cleared their mistake by saying :
    “He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” (Luke 24:37–43)
    These verses of the Holy Bible show clearly that he was the same person in the same human wounded body and also in need of food for his survival.
    This story of his going to heaven with his physical body was the need of that time that the followers of Jesus had to spread as a device to save Jesus from the hands of government and Jews to stop them to pursue Jesus any more . Second to avoid the criticism of Jews that that he had died on cross as was considered by Jews that only a cursed person could die on Cross. This rumor may be used to prove him a divine and a true Messenger of God before jews
    Jesus had claimed: ”I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
    His responsibility was to reform the children’s Israel and at that time in Jerusalem there existed only two tribes of children’s Israel. He had to make a journey to other ten tribes also to fulfil his mission as a Messenger of God .The hard attitude of the Jews of these two tribes of Jerusalem had compelled him to move to other ten tribes earlier in the age of 33 after escaping the death on the cross. He set forth to the mountainous region to the east in search of the other tribes Jesus whom King Shalmaneser had taken captive to Meda As Jesus had said in John 10:16,
    “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.”
    According to the record of Indian history Jesus was accepted and respected by other ten tribes of children’s Israel( who were brought by a King Nasr in the area of Afghanistan Tibet Kashmir many centuries before.

    • Bob Jase

      “The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection.”

      I’d say the absurdities start with the virgin conception. continue through the miracles which no contemporay noticed and continue past the resurrection to the post-resurrection miracles.

      The whole story is absurd, as is that of Mohammed, screwed be his name and Moroni.

  • SparklingMoon

    Second Resurrection:-
    Jesus had promised his companions to console them, before going to other ten tribes of children’s Israel after cross that he would visited them during their life in future:  ‘Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.(Matthew 16:28) In the gospel of John: ‘Jesus saith unto him, if I will that he ( the disciple, John) tarry ( in Jerusalem) till I come.(John 21:22)
    Jesus had visited according to his promise at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem with the same physical body and his companion John had seen him, as John was alive at that time(as is described in New Testament)

    It can not be claimed that Jesus had a resurrected spiritual body at that time of his coming as had met only his companion. If he for example had after suffering death, come to life again, assuming a spiritual and a glorious body, what fear did he now have of the Jews or Government as now they had no power over him because of having a spiritual body he was above mortal existence? If this coming of Jesus in Jerusalem was the fulfilment of his promise; ” Son of man coming in his kingdom.” then He should be seen openly to all people but he had met only his some followers very cautiously (as according to the papers of Roman government he was still an accused person if had not died on cross) therefore Jesus had met only his followers .

    This coming of Jesus in Jerusalem is interpreted by some people as a vision of his followers. Miza Ghulam Ahmad had written about it: “They rather say that he appeared to John as in a vision, that he might fulfil his prophecy contained in verse 28 of chapter 16 of Matthew. But I say that coming of this kind does not fulfill the prophecy. That is a very weak interpretation which only avoids with difficulty the criticism leveled against this position. This interpretation is patently untenable and wrong, so much so, that there is no need to refute it, for if Jesus had to appear to anyone in a dream or a vision, a prophecy of this kind would be ridiculous. In such manner Jesus had also appeared to Paul long before this.”(Jesus in India)

    • SparklingMoon

      Third Resurrection
      The third description of His resurrection of belong to this time that is called the ”end of the age” by Jesus. According to religious information there is always an evolutionary progress time of seven thousand years that take place again and again on earth Jesus had called this present time of his coming the ”end of the age” because the six thousand years of the journey of humans’ progress that had been started at the time of Prophet Adam of our current generation had passed away and now we are in the beginning of the seventh millennium and it is always the peak time of humans worldly progress and spiritual understanding.

      The signs that Jesus had told his followers about his second coming (resurrection) are described in Gospels are: ”As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (John 21:22)”You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren’t troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake. 10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”(Matthew 24:6-14)

      This promise of his resurrection r second coming is not physically but of spiritually as explained by Jesus in his sayings. The Jews of his time had not accepted him in Jerusalem two thousands years before as they had been waiting the coming of a prophet Elijah (who had physically died a long time ago.) Elijah had made a prophecy of his second coming (resurrection) before the appearance of the Messiah. When Jesus had claimed to be the Messiah of his time, Jews had just rejected him by saying that Prophet Elijah ,according to his prophecy had not physically appeared till that time among them.
      Jesus had explained them: “Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.* 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
      Jesus had told them in these lines that the prophecy of a Prophet of his second coming (resurrection) is fulfilled in spiritual meanings, not in a physical meanings as John the Baptise had been resurrected with the spiritual attributes of Elijah to guide the people of their time . Jesus had explained in this example the meanings of the second coming of a prophet or resurrection .(but the Jews of his time had not understand him and neither had accepted Elijah nor Jesus and still are in waiting of the second coming of Elijah from sky with his physical body that after him the Messiah could be come (But two thousand years had passed but Elijah had not resurrected physically according to their wishes.)

      A prophet makes a prophecy after having a knowledge from God and the responsibility of its fulfilment is of God. The promise of his second coming or resurrection was made by Jesus after having a knowledge from his God therefore must be fulfilled. If other signs of the second coming of Jesus has been fulfilled at this time and the exact time of his coming is passed away and the moral rough condition of people of this time is in demand of his urgent coming but Jesus is not there according to his promise to maintain the Kingdom of God on earth ——then—– it must be considered by his followers that ——Either Jesus is not there —–OR—– the same mistake is repeated by them by waiting a physical second coming (resurrection) of Jesus on earth like Jews —— and ——-the Spirit of Jesus has already resurrected at this end time according to his promise in any other Person with his all Spiritual Messianic attributes to reform the world and to turn it into a heavenly place by his Justice.

  • Gwynnyd

    And still some do not realize the essential folly of quoting scripture from a book we do not believe in about a god we are pretty certain does not exist to “prove” their ramblings have any sort of real world truth. Strange.

    I’m going to go and re-read the “Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth” and other bits of the HoMe volumes which will at least give me some real insight into the thought process of the actual creator of a universe as known from a book.

    • John

      Strange that you would avail yourself of a book, a compilation of words, to inform yourself of anything. I would think you would have nothing to do with literature at all, shunning literature altogether, unless of course it gives you confidence in the holding of your views , which I believe is the case.
      There is something however that you have neglected.

      • ZenDruid

        That’s called “irony”, John.

        • Gwynnyd

          Apparently the Tolkein reference was too abstruse for John.

        • John

          There are folks who believe Tolkien to be too deep to understand or intellectually challenging. I am not one of them.

        • Gwynnyd

          John says: “There are folks who believe Tolkien to be too deep to understand or intellectually challenging. I am not one of them.”

          I say: “There are folks who believe that dissecting the bible and worrying about minutia of its interpretation is a worthwhile activity. I am not one of them. I prefer my fiction to be more coherent and have a better plot.”

        • John

          Believe what you will, Gwynnyd. If you desire fiction, you are more than welcome to it. Actually, my experience with the Word of God has been profitable as has been the experience of many others before me and those that shall come after.
          You insist your interest lies in fiction. Fiction at the least is fanciful, deceitful. In this lies the imagination of your heart which itself is deceitful in every form. It is a condition existing from the beginning and was the cause of the destruction of all flesh except the family of Noah and his family. God made end of man’s corrupting of the face of the whole earth and the violence filling it at that time, because the imagination of mens hearts was evil only continually. We are approaching a momentous event for exactly the same cause.
          Noah had the ark, the believer has Christ.

        • MNb

          The Bible is full of fiction, including the Gospels. The infanticide as told by Mattheus has been proven a legend beyond any reasonable doubt.
          But I must admit that some of the fiction is pretty good; the beheading of Johannes the Baptist belongs to my favourites. I enjoy crime stories like that one, especially when spiced up with some eroticism.

  • Hanan

    “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin”

    I believe this biblical quote is understood for the courts. A court cannot prosecute anyone for the crimes of someone else. This has no relevance for anything “mystical” such as “original sin”

  • BeAtPeace

    And yet … we’re to believe that the entire idea of existance, of the universe, of capable and knowleadgable human beings is just a cosmic accident? That makes no sense. There must be a God, and starting there might help to soften some of the hearts here…

    • Bob Jase

      God is a cosmic accident created by paredolia in the minds of humans

    • Bob Seidensticker

      BeAtPeace: There must be a god? Why? Just to satisfy some longing that you have?

      Can you just wish into existence anything if you believe strongly enough?

  • beth

    All these arguments over “atonement theology” simply point to what Christians have known for centuries…Christ’s life, death and resurrection are a holy mystery. When we attempt to explain how and why in human terms, we are left with imperfect metaphors and less than complete theories. Humanity is incapable, under our own power, of maintaining a relationship with the divine. And because God created and loves each of God’s creations, God chose to become one of us, entering the bounds of time and space. By experiencing all of the human life in Jesus Christ God overcame the limits of our time and space and made it possible for humans to breach the gulf that had formerly separated us from the Divine Life. Blood sacrifice, penalty for sins, defeated Death…these are just tools to help us see that the work done by God through Christ on the Cross was motivated b a deep, self- giving love. All these arguments over the validity of historical accounts of Jesus? None will be ever “proven” by quoting sacred texts. But, if you come to Texas, I ‘ll be happy to introduce you to folks who personally know Jesus and live to serve others in His name, not to be certain that their own soul is safe for eternity. Prayers for a more generous spirit and peaceful world for us all.

    • MNb

      “But, if you come to Texas, I ‘ll be happy to introduce you to folks who personally know Jesus”
      OK, I accept this invitation, on one condition. First you come over to Moengo, Suriname, where I live, and tell the christian women that and why they don’t need to sleep on the floor when menstruating, as ordered in Leviticus 15. I have told them, but they don’t believe an atheist like me. You as a devout christian will impress them much more. I’ll be happy to give you time during my lessons at my school, so that you can talk to the teenagers as well.
      Here is your chance to put your belief system in practice. And you’ll get the chance to convert me in return. Deal?
      If yes, just show up and ask for Mark Nieuweboer. Everybody knows me overhere. There are also some Americans here; some are missionaries (who never talk about Lev. 15) and others are from Peace Corpse. You won’t be lonely.

  • Amber

    You obviously have never read the bible in its entirety. Oh and it makes since that someone who is against Christianity altogether would write such a misleading and irrational article. I will honestly say I know alot of people who say they are Christians yet they are nothing but posers who say they follow a bunch of rules tht they don’t follow and want to look all wholesome and right but live their life the way they want to. Jesus did die for mankinds sin. He was resurrected on the third day. Just because he was raised Doesnt mean he was never dead. It was part of fulfilling the payment for our sins. And yes he was both man and God. He had to live and die for us so that we could follow his example and btw so that he could live through us. He walked beside Moses and beside David but if we accept him he lives in us and through us. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to miss the mark and completely miss the point when you are closed minded to it.
    And as far as the sins of the children and sins of parents. There is a thing called a generational curse f you have read the bible you would know bout them. The bible says the sins of the father passes down to the next generation. Therefore we as children sometimes fall to he same sun as our parents. However we are the ones who can stop there sins or curses from passing to the next generation if we realize the wrong and make them right or change. Therefore the sins or curses may be something your parents did but you will commit te same sins which makes it now your sin.
    Oh and btw apart from God man is corrupt and there is no goodness in us. We are selfish and have selfish motives. We want what we want and we do what ever it takes to get it. We even bend what is plainly the truth to suit our lives. We look at what is sin and instead of calling it out we let it slide because we are afraid of stepping on someone’s toes and makin them mad. We wanna be politically correct. Well I won’t apologize for what I believe and I am sorry if it isn’t politically correct. I don’t care if havin a relationship with God doesn’t meet the status quo. He is God and he is worthy of my praise.
    You know what I find funny/ironic. People like you want to say we are closed minded and we are crazy and we believe some wacky thing because we are weak. Well I find it funny that every liberal minded person I have ever come in to contact with can state their opinion to me and it doesn’t make me angry it Doesnt make me want to go off on them you have the right as a human being to choose what you believe and state that. And I acknowledge that. But when someone like me starts stating what I believe i am told I am wrong I am crazy, i an closed minded. I think it closed minded for you to bash someone else’s beliefs simply because you cannot understand why they believe what they believe. That I believe is closed minded. How can you know what is absolutely the truth if you close your mind off to what you like and what’s comfortable for you. Without exploring everything else that could be truth. All I’m saying is you should thoroughly consider what you are saying explore every avenue if it and don’t just base your belief on what other people say. Research it for yourself. This world is too full of people worrying about living up to the status quo.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Amber:

      a misleading and irrational article.

      Help us all out then. Correct the specific errors.

      Just because he was raised Doesnt mean he was never dead.

      I know what dead is, and “dead for 36 hours” isn’t dead.

      There is a thing called a generational curse f you have read the bible you would know bout them.

      Yup. I was cherry picking a Bible passage that said the opposite for my purposes here.

      Generational curses don’t fit well with an omni-benevolent deity.

      The bible says the sins of the father passes down to the next generation.

      Yes it does. It also says the opposite.

      there is no goodness in us.

      Not a bit? Wow–who designed this crap? Sounds like a pretty inept designer.

      we do what ever it takes to get it.

      Except for when we’re selfless and altruistic.

      He is God and he is worthy of my praise.

      Do you think God cares much about praise? If you built a sentient robot, would you add “sycophantic praise” to his list of duties?

      you have the right as a human being to choose what you believe and state that.

      Thank goodness for the Constitution, which grounds those rights.

      But when someone like me starts stating what I believe i am told I am wrong I am crazy, i an closed minded.

      I might well, but give me a chance, willya? I am only now responding and already I’m a jerk?

      I think it closed minded for you to bash someone else’s beliefs simply because you cannot understand why they believe what they believe.

      My goal is to raise my objections. If you find the objections flawed, tell me so. I don’t think “bash” is the first goal.

      How can you know what is absolutely the truth

      I don’t. Never said that I did, and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever know.

    • Kodie

      You are saying Bob hasn’t explored every avenue? You are on his blog with links to a lot of other articles. Looks like his intention is to explore every avenue eventually.

      As for me, I have explored the avenue where crucifixion is supposed to fix anything. It’s been 2000 years or so, and nothing is really fixed as far as god goes, your fix is when after you die, you lived according to a superstition, then you get something good. And everyone else who doesn’t follow this superstition, you believe, has the worst of the worst. This is not the sign of a god who loves us. This is a spiteful, evil god. Why should anyone believe this from you? Everything that has been fixed has been fixed by humans. You believe a superstition. You believe that a crucifixion and supposed resurrection has the transitive power to change your life somehow. Is that not a lot like carrying a lucky 4-leaf clover or knocking on wood? Have you explored every avenue where knocking on wood improves your luck? Have you explored every avenue where not stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk keeps your mother’s back intact?

  • Anne Foster

    No one has come even close to the real rebutal against your claim that the crucifixion is no big deal. To understand the reality of Christ’s death you must first understand that Christian belief that Jesus is love, perfect love. If Jesus IS love and He loves us in an unimaginable way because that love is perfect. Now imagine the person you love most in the world turning they’re back on you and nailing you to a tree. Jesus loved every person who was and is in that moment and we believe that in the moment of His death every sin that ever was or would be committed against Him in the history of the world flashed before His eyes. Imagine watching your beloved wife cheat on you over and over again except you are not God and do not love her perfectly so the hurt you feel comes no were close to His hurt. Since God IS love and is PERFECT His hurt was unimaginable. Loving perfectly includes mercy (that which we do not deserve or can give to ourselves) God loved us in spite of our sins against His love. We pounded the nails into His feet every time we rejected Him by our sins and still He loved us evermore. His torment was not in the physical dieing but in pain He feels every time we refuse to accept His love. To understand this you have to break free for a moment, from the mind set of the world we live in. You may never have considered God’s suffering as a result of His love for us because we live in a world that has taken the spirituality out of every equation. We look at everything from a physical stand point only. Truth, for me, contains both.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Anne:

      you have to break free for a moment, from the mind set of the world we live in.

      Sounds like advice you might want to take yourself.

      • John

        Bob.

    • Kodie

      None of that makes as much sense as you think it does. It is a diversion that has obviously sold you on the merits of a religion. God who gets jealous instead of fix things that are really wrong expects you to wait until you die. You are appeased by a story where he sacrifices himself to demonstrate some great love for you when he could feed the world – or he can’t. He’s unable, because he doesn’t exist. You say that we have overlooked something. No. Everything you wrote is based on the premise that you already believe. “God is love” and whatnot. Are you saying that because god is love then the total story makes all the sense that was missed on the first pass? For one thing, you equate jealousy with love. You are sick and small. Even if I were to grant that god IS love, then the best idea the omnipotent one could come up with was to demonstrate this by dying and not doing anything useful. You have to wait until you die to cash this ticket in. Having himself killed may be impressive to you because you are emotional about death, but you’re not very skilled at reading posts that have already addressed your concerns. If there is actually a heaven, it should mean even less to you than it does to me. Nothing bad could have happened to him if he ascended to heaven so why is dying seen as anything like a sacrifice in your religion? Living a long time and devoting that life to others would seem to be a greater sacrifice. Dying and going to your retirement village to play golf and eat quesadillas for eternity doesn’t sound like the worst thing to happen to a guy compared to waking up every day and laboring for others to have a better life. All that Christian activism spent making other people’s lives miserable to achieve the goal of making god happy with you is also no sacrifice.

      You may never have considered God’s suffering as a result of His love for us because we live in a world that has taken the spirituality out of every equation. We look at everything from a physical stand point only. Truth, for me, contains both.

      Nobody has not never considered god’s suffering as a result of his love for us. It seems a really shitty way to say “I love you” compared to food and water and shelter for everyone. We live in a world that has not taken spirituality out of every equation – we live in a world gone crazy for having spirituality infected into nearly every equation, clouding our view of what’s actually true or right. Spirituality is a luxurious appeasement that gets you out of a lot of extra thinking and problem-solving, and you like it that way. You think god has it in hand, when has he ever had it in hand? Instead of making the world a better and more comfortable place, it’s almost as torture as hell, for one, having to listen to nitwits like you blather on. You are hanging your whole argument on that he had himself killed but he never did anything for anyone. This world is exactly what a godless world looks like and every shred of hope you have buried in the crucifixion as an act of “love” makes this world even worse. Good for you, when you die, you think this makes you get the reward, and this makes you happy enough to believe the crucifixion solves a host of problems that it actually doesn’t. People like you are the worst people on earth.

      • Jeffrey Ludwig

        Have you ever considered that all human beings are physical, intelligent, emotive, willful, and spiritual? Why should we not be spiritual? And before you come at me with razors, I’m not advocating that anyone is any higher or lower here. I’m not the good guy, and you’re not the bad guy. Christians aren’t the good guy. Atheists aren’t the bad guys. I don’t like what some Christian theologies have said, some of them are not becoming of Scripture or of common human decency. However, if a Christian says “God loves you”, perhaps that isn’t so bad a thing to consider, am I wrong?

        • Kodie

          If a Christian says “god loves you” that is a delusion. I don’t mean a delusion that god exists, but a delusion that saying things like that has any power to help another human. It’s lazy, just like god is lazy (if god existed). Instead of help us in any useful way, he had himself killed. If there is love from god, I don’t need to hear it from another person as if it’s a true fact. I need to see it, and I need to feel it. It doesn’t come from lazy sentiments that get the typical Christian out of having to do anything. Are you saying that’s the same thing as spirituality?

          I don’t hold spirituality in high regard either. I don’t know what it means. If you are touched by the story of the crucifixion, then you haven’t really responded to what I’ve said already. There is the “grand gesture” that does nothing but has the power to satisfy you as if it did something. “God” has done actually nothing.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Wonderful questions, and insightful statements, and I appreciate you clarifying what you meant by “delusion”. Anything I say does not have any power to help another fellow human; they have to be ready to hear and they have to accept what I say. Even then, they will hear based on their own experience, which is not my experience.

          Spirituality is not words. It is not thoughts. It is not emotion. It isn’t even desire. It is very difficult to actually define. The best way I’ve heard relationship with God described is this: “God ambushes us in the context of our own life. Once this happens, we exclaim like Jacob did: God was here all along, and I never knew it.” Spirituality connects us and allows perception of things that are unseen. I understand that this is an unsatisfying description, but again, I do not pretend to have any persuasive power here. It is God who must take the initiative.

          But, when you say “God has done actually nothing”, I assume you mean the Problem of Evil, and you mean that the Crucifixion has not stopped evil. Evidentially speaking, this is true. This is where pure logic ends up. But we are not just logical creatures, we are much more, and logic is incapable of helping us understand at least five huge concepts: God, suffering, death, love, and any experienced notion of infinity. And yet, the larger problem I find, which I believe gets its force from experience, is a Problem of Good– why, despite all reasons to the contrary, are there so many good people? Especially when so many have had horrible beginnings to life, and have been hurt beyond comprehension. Again, this won’t have force unless you let yourself experience it.

        • Kodie

          Nope, you misunderstood right away.

          Consider the difference between me saying “have a nice day”, and actually doing something to make your day nice.

          It isn’t that I’m not “ready” to hear what you have to say about god, it’s that it’s full-on useless nonsense. The story of the crucifixion is meant to touch someone as if they’ve actually been touched, but to make them feel like they’ve been attended to without attending to them. It is like, “have a nice day”. It is like god, given for argument’s sake that he exists, saying “have a nice day” instead of going about somehow making your day actually in any way better. You feel appeased that someone has paid attention to you in a way that you fail to notice that they don’t actually give a tear. I’m trying to point this out and you keep failing to pick it up. There is nothing of substance in the gesture of getting oneself crucified. It’s called cognitive dissonance and you all have it. God doesn’t love anyone if that’s the best he could come up with, it works to shape you and manipulate you to work for whoever made it up, that you’ll fall for anything. It works because you’re, like, well he died to prove it, what else could I ask? Death is a very serious thing with no utter consequence to you people unless you suspiciously live your life wrong according to some other people (and not god).

          Why are people good? Because it gets the most done in the world. That is another thing about you people, you’re amazed by ordinary things. You can’t think of another reason for anything because you have been poisoned to be stupid and susceptible to ordinary manipulations of your conscience. You think it’s strange that humans should be any good without being threatened? Who is weak here. Who needs to be kept in his corner and moved only when needed? Strategically, you are falling over yourself to thank god for dying a little and then not being dead really, because death! HOLY SHIT, that’s HUUUUGE! Smoke and mirrors. God hasn’t done anything special. Everyone dies, and not everyone goes easy, but few do it for the purpose of demonstrating LOVE! You will cling to that for no logical reason and then you will say sure it defies logic as if that’s a great idea. You keep your eyes on that instead of noticing how much is wrong with the world that your god could fix but you have an excuse why the only thing that matters is that he died on a cross for your sins, which you don’t even have, and could not possibly affect.

          I don’t think you care to understand.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          No, I believe that I do understand. I understand that you think God hasn’t solved anything. But I believe you misunderstand how much power is invested in choosing to see things one way and not another. Truth is, to some extent, what we want it to be. This is not a denial of reality; this is the power of our mind/heart to color our perception. If the world is so full of damn evil, then it is for you. If the world is full of God’s glory, then that is true for you. The full truth, of course, is that *both* of these things are true; insisting on one of these things does not make the other false. This is a false dichotomy.

          Am I easy to please? The Buddhists say that the only way to lose an argument is to stop smiling/laughing.

          And don’t mistake that I’ve seen much evil, and have seen the evils of even some of the theological points that you have decried in other posts. Again, it all depends on your perspective. I won’t condescend to say I’ve been where you are, I would not be so insensitive. This life is not easy. But as long as you are alive, there is reason to smile. Be of good cheer!

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          People don’t give up on their “lens” of perception, usually, until something pushes them hard enough. Generally this is a concrete love that is known to be undeserved, or a suffering that requires us to look at something differently. Apparently, God feels that there is value in us “growing up”. This is what I mean by “God ambushes us in the ordinary circumstances of our life”. The two things that are tailor-made by the Divine to alter our perception of reality into something more true are great Love, and great Suffering. In a culture that wants to pass suffering off as absurd, this doesn’t make sense. In this case, you can choose whether culture is right (and I’m foolish), or allow that maybe I might be on to something. I’m giving this away free, as I received it. Take it, for whatever it is worth.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Kodie:

          a delusion that saying things like that has any power to help another human.

          Like “Gesundheit.”

        • MNb

          @Jeffrey L: “they have to be ready to hear and they have to accept what I say.”
          That’s exactly what a Surinamese wizard said when I asked if I could witness one of his sessions.

        • MNb

          “if a Christian says “God loves you”…..”
          he is saying something meaningless. “Kodie loves Bob” has meaning. Kodie can tell Bob by means of language, facial expressions, body language and behavior. The christian god being bodyless doesn’t have such means available. An automofreak might as well say that his car loves him. The fact that a car is material and the christian god not only makes the case worse for you.

    • Jeffrey Ludwig

      Anne speaks well here. Christianity cannot be understood outside of relationship. Some may not want a relationship with God. But that does not reflect poorly on God. If we love our self, then it only makes sense, if we accept that there is a Creator, that we would be very thankful to the Creator. If we do not love our self… we may need help from outside us.

      • Kodie

        You may be onto something here. People who have a very close relationship with an imaginary friend will not be understood by observing the relationship or how said person speaks about the relationship. It is all a lot of “huh?” Stop talking about it like it’s something exclusive that nobody can really get. If you need validation from outside yourself, then that may be easier to understand why your relationship is so important that you think it’s real.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          I never said you couldn’t “get it”. If you don’t need validation outside yourself, then that’s fine, and I applaud your strength. It may be that you will not be so strong some day (we’re all mortal, after all). Maybe not. It is your decision. But whatever you choose, it doesn’t make you better than me. You don’t get to ride superior in this anymore than I do. Your argumentativeness bespeaks emotion, not logic.

        • Kodie

          It’s emotional because I can’t believe how many people believe this and dispute Bob’s and others’ points so ridiculously. Whether or not I need validation outside myself doesn’t magically make god existent. If you are saying that you need validation outside yourself then you have made a very steady friend. Is god that little voice telling you not to be so negative about yourself? Here is the thing – god invented self-negativity, if you want to know the truth. Religions sell the cure to something that’s not even wrong with you. You’re riding along all smooth and whatnot, and someone informs you that you’re a sinner, and the only way to stop being a sinner is to consult their imaginary friend for outside validation! That looks like they’re selling air sandwiches to fools, and you are saying that’s a satisfying meal.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          You could say God is the Great Allower. In paying humankind the great complement of sharing in the Creator’s freedom, he opened the possibility of all problems, even self-negativity. So you speak truth, from a certain point of view (to quote Obi-Wan). But you cannot tell me that you are not addicted to your own point of view. All great religion is invested in getting this addiction dislodged, so that we can see through a clearer set of “lenses”. Religion fails when it makes people think that “they have it all together” and that “they are right, and everybody else is wrong”.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Kodie:

          looks like they’re selling air sandwiches to fools

          Nice. My analog was that Christianity is selling elbow deodorant, and they struggle to create a problem out of smelly elbows.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Jeffrey:

        Some may not want a relationship with God. But that does not reflect poorly on God.

        I gotta disagree with you there. That God looks pretty much indistinguishable from not-God, he’s playing hide and seek with us. With roasting in hell the consequence for not “finding” him, he’s one sick dude. Kind of like a cat playing with a mouse as he kills it.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          I got no problem with you disagreeing with me, I have no vested interest in convincing you. That is God’s job, and he is good at it. But I think you mistake me from someone who thinks that what you “believe”, in English-speaking terms, is what constitutes a Christian, and what determines your eternal destiny. No, belief is not an intellectual assent, as if figuring something out is your “fire insurance”. I am no gnostic. If you believe something, you act on it. Belief becomes action. If your belief holds true, it becomes knowledge; it is experienced belief.

          You can play the game of who’s in and who’s out, lots of Christians do this, and frankly I think it is repugnant to do this. No one is in a position to know who is in and who’s out; but if you look at what Jesus’ life says about the nature of God, who Jesus called “his Father”, I’m not sure you can sustain the “cat playing with mouse” analogy.

          God seems to think that faith is a pretty big and important thing. It shows character. It shows we are willing to risk, put ourselves on the line when we don’t know the outcome. “Assurance of things hoped for”, the Bible puts it. If faith is important, it follows that God would not submit to a lot of “proofs”. Plus, God values his freedom, too. It’s pretty amazing to think that people would suspect they could get God to submit to their will. But, please hear what I’ve been trying to say. We think it is our job to find God. Heck, Christians seem to indicate this in a lot of different ways. We can’t find God. My point is God *finds us* in the midst of our very ordinary, unassuming, and often stumbling lives. And we often find God by doing things *wrong*, rather than by doing them right.

          I don’t often say this, but it is the truth: if God created this universe, then he gets to make the rules. We can argue with him on it, but if God’s in charge, he is going to win. Lucky for us he made such a coherent universe! And I find it fascinating how other people in different ways (that are not distinctly Christian) end up saying much the same thing as Christians do (with different language and terminologies, of course). This makes sense; Christians worship the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          I have no vested interest in convincing you. That is God’s job, and he is good at it.

          If he were good at it, we wouldn’t be arguing with you!

          God seems to think that faith is a pretty big and important thing.

          No, Christianity claims that God thinks this.

          It shows character.

          I have faith that I’ll get a pile of cash on my front step every day so I don’t have to work. How’s that for character?!

          It shows we are willing to risk, put ourselves on the line when we don’t know the outcome.

          And this is laudable? I should just walk across the street on faith, letting God decide whether I die or not?

          If I wave a gun in a bank, am I just letting God decide if I should go to jail or not? No, I’m deciding myself.

          We think it is our job to find God.

          So you’ve already found your goal? Or are you giving every religion a chance?

          My point is God *finds us* in the midst of our very ordinary, unassuming, and often stumbling lives.

          Despite evidence to the contrary?

          We can argue with him on it, but if God’s in charge, he is going to win.

          Sure–might makes right. This is the lesson of Job. But don’t then tell me that God is good.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Grace and peace to you. I’m only folowing Jesus’ example.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Good morning. Numerous points here are strawmen (especially concerning faith), and not worth responding to. Faith is not stupidity. One can have a narcissistic faith, but that kind of faith doesn’t impress God too much; remember, that is what religion should have been about: dislodging our narcissism. But no, in the end, I didn’t find God. I was found.

          The lesson of Job is not that might makes right; the lesson of Job is that you cannot explain the Problem of Evil in terms of retribution and “getting just deserts”. It explores “why bad things happen to good people”. It actually says, “You can’t explain it, so don’t try”.

          There are questions that will not get adequately answered in this life, at least not by logic. The book of Job hits on suffering and death, and how that relates to God’s sovereignity. You will not get mentally satisfying answers for these questions, the only way to not get crushed by them is to grow past them.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Or, instead of growing past the question, you can choose to whistle in the dark.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          Faith is not stupidity.

          Do I have any use for it? As far as I can tell, I never use it. (Trust, yes; faith, no.)

          Show me compelling evidence, and I believe. Am I supposed to apologize for that?

          The lesson of Job is not that might makes right … It actually says, “You can’t explain it, so don’t try”.

          Right. Like I said.

          God does what he wants to. You don’t like it? Tough–enjoy hell.

          There are questions that will not get adequately answered in this life, at least not by logic.

          Just as if this whole thing were made up (like all the other religions).

          Reality is trying to give you clues here when you realize that this isn’t logical.

          You will not get mentally satisfying answers for these questions, the only way to not get crushed by them is to grow past them.

          Or, Plan B, drop the fool’s errand of trying to make sense out of Christianity. Just drop it, and the crazy contradictions fall away.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          Or, instead of growing past the question, you can choose to whistle in the dark.

          Uh … isn’t this advice for you? I don’t have tough questions to resolve, remember? The problem of evil applies to you, not me. The problem of divine hiddenness, why God likes genocide, and all that–these are your problems, not mine.

          Drop the Christian presupposition and things make more sense.

    • MNb

      “you must first understand that Christian belief that Jesus is love, perfect love”
      Except, when reading the Gospels, Jesus’ love doesn’t look that perfect to me. Personally I think higher of Franciscus of Assisi. The latter loved animals, including pigs. Jesus not so much, he didn’t mind killing a few innocent dozens when it suited him.

  • Marcion

    It just occurred to me that within the framework of Christianity, Jesus was never even dead to begin with. Jesus is supposed to be god, and god is eternal. An eternal being can’t die. At most, Jesus stopped using his physical body for three days. Jesus’ “sacrifice” is even less impressive than it looks.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Marcion:

      You’re right–doesn’t hang together. Maybe what we got was just the draft script and they pumped it up in rewrites.

      • Jeffrey Ludwig

        Remember, Jesus is said to be “fully human” and “fully divine”. This is a seeming contradiction, but is rather a paradox. We all have a spirit, and we all have a corporeal body. The body can die; the spirit cannot. You also cannot understand “3 = 1″, or “2 become 1″, or any number of other things with simple logic. You can’t understand how death becomes life from a purely logical perspective. It can only be observed: just as a plant’s seed is buried into the earth and comes forth as a new plant, or the changing of the seasons. Don’t just take my word for it. Spend some time “out there”.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          We all have a spirit, and we all have a corporeal body.

          I’ve seen no evidence. Why should I believe this?

          You also cannot understand “3 = 1″, or “2 become 1″, or any number of other things with simple logic.

          No, I can’t. Given that no mathematician argues this, I reject it.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          You want me to prove something to you. I don’t have anything to prove, and I refuse to play your game. Just like a comedian cannot make someone laugh. But do know– God is the master of finding ways of circumventing your defenses. If you wish to defend against God, be very well defended.

          In the end, I’m sure you’ll be able to hurt him, at least, more than he’s already been hurt. So you’ve got that going for you.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          I don’t have anything to prove, and I refuse to play your game.

          What game? By asking for evidence, I’m playing a game? Not being serious?

          In the end, I’m sure you’ll be able to hurt him, at least, more than he’s already been hurt.

          I can hurt God? Can I hurt Superman, too?

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          God is not a philosophical concept! And yes it is a game, it is all in the mind. You’re arguments have little to do with life, and just a “prove-it” game, because you think I’m attempting to push you into thinking something. I’m not. Life is much more subtle than a “belief” game. Grace and peace to you.

      • Jeffrey Ludwig

        However, I don’t believe that you would be in too much awe of any god that you could figure out using pure logic. That would make that god subject to your own mind, and you would have mastery over him/her/it. St. Augustine wisely said, “If you can understand it, it isn’t God.”

  • Jeffrey Ludwig

    Everyone is right in their own minds. It’s been that way since Adam and Eve the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was eaten, which was a very real spiritual death experience. We all think we are able to judge effectively what good and evil are. *That* is the great deception. We are all addicted to our own point of view, and it takes major spiritual surgery to dislodge this addiction. I am included in this assessment, as are we all. This actually keeps us from true life. The moment you figure you have it all figured out, you’ve denied approximately 99% of everything else, and have entered your own virtual reality. You have tunnel vision, and refuse to see what will not back you up. As philosopher poets Simon & Garfunkel sing in “The Boxer”, “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

    If we’ve learned anything from our constant arguing back and forth, it is the need for a bit of epistemological humility. All great religions tell us not to judge. That doesn’t just mean “don’t decide who goes where”. That means that we all need a certain detachment from our value judgements. More pointedly, it may mean “do not label”, because when we put a label on something, we immediately (or within a few seconds) have made a value judgement as to which one is better. If this isn’t automatic for you, then grace is truly at work in your life. When we live in this more non-dual mindset, we will be more clear headed, and mindful, and will be able to argue more effectively, from the standpoint of reality.

    God bless you all.

    • Jeffrey Ludwig

      Quote: “It’s been that way since Adam and Eve the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was eaten”

      Ha. “It’s been that way since Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.” Proof I’m not perfect. Keep smiling!

  • Jeffrey Ludwig

    If I may, I would like to add my thoughts (for all that they are worth) on the Cross’s meaning for me. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, and “whoever would come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me”. This indicates to me that there is truth in what Jesus did. That he did life “the way its supposed to be done”. And he asks us to follow. To me, this boils the message of Christianity down to something that we can relate to. I thought I saw someone here say that they hope that they might be able to die for someone that they didn’t know. That is awesome stuff, and very commendable.

    The message of the Resurrection is that nothing is ever wasted. No suffering, in the end, is meaningless and final (and yes, I recognize that you could throw all sorts of case examples at me. I have struggled with the Problem of Evil for many long years). In short, love conquers death. Anyone who has experienced resurrection is changed forever; you cannot argue them out of it. It is a truth beyond logic.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Jeffrey:

      This indicates to me that there is truth in what Jesus did.

      Jesus says some stuff so therefore he’s accurate? How does that follow?

      No suffering, in the end, is meaningless and final

      Again, just an assertion? Or do you have evidence?

      Anyone who has experienced resurrection is changed forever; you cannot argue them out of it.

      And who has experienced resurrection besides Jesus?

      • Jeffrey Ludwig

        Ah yes. The “prove-it-prove-it” game. That does not work in a post-modern framework. Your argument is not as strong as you think it is.

        Quote: “Jesus says some stuff so therefore he’s accurate? How does that follow?”

        Because Jesus is my master. I said, “this is what the Cross means to me, for what that’s worth.” Take it or leave it. Makes no difference to me, makes all the difference to you.

        Quote: “Again, just an assertion? Or do you have evidence?”

        Universal truths can often be seen in particulars. This is the meaning of God does not change. God’s in relationship to everything that he is created (even when they reject him), and so God’s relationships are all different, and in a sense God grows as new created people (and animals) come into existence. He allows us to change him, in this sense. Truths are often seen in “both-ands” like this, especially when thinking about the five “biggie”-topics (again, God, love, death, suffering, and any experienced notion of eternity).

        And who has experienced resurrection besides Jesus?

        On a literal sense, who can say? This would mean that I know who’s in and who’s out. I don’t and you don’t either. But I will say this: I have experienced resurrection at some level (in other words, I have died before I actually died, and have come out on the other side fundamentally changed). Already. Now, that I have claimed this, can you disprove me? Of course, I’m just a figment posting text on this screen. I’m just a figment of your imagination. I’m not real. Tell yourself that. Or ask me if I’m really dead, and just a ghost. Questioning this is a meaningless exercise for you.

        This is the last I will say. I’m going to bed, and I’m not going to lose sleep over your rejection. Your rejection does not constitute any more proof than an assertion that I make based on my experience. But you should be open to truth that you do not yet accept; if you are not open to what you do not know, then you will never find life. After all that pontificating about good, evil, logic, and being right in your own mind, it will be very lonely with all the walls that you have placed to protect yourself from everything. A world devoid of anything mysterious, of anything radically exciting. Suit yourself. Keep smiling!

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrrey:

          The “prove-it-prove-it” game. That does not work in a post-modern framework.

          1. I ask for compelling evidence, not proof. 2. What does post modernism have to do with anything? I’m trying to follow the evidence to the best explanation.

          Because Jesus is my master.

          Uh huh. So you were just talking to yourself? My point remains that your comments are uncompelling, if you intended them to be an argument or evidence.

          This is the meaning of God does not change.

          Oh, but he does. Consider how polytheism has evolved to monotheism in the Bible.

          God’s relationships are all different, and in a sense God grows as new created people (and animals) come into existence.

          Does it plainly say this in the Bible, or is this your interpretation?

          On a literal sense, who can say?

          You’re talking about ordinary people have been raised from the dead?

          Questioning this is a meaningless exercise for you.

          Agreed.

          Your rejection does not constitute any more proof than an assertion that I make based on my experience.

          Let’s not pretend that there’s symmetry here. You’re the one pretending to have fairies in your garden, and I’m the one asking for evidence.

          But you should be open to truth that you do not yet accept; if you are not open to what you do not know

          And you walk the talk? You are open to truth from every faith tradition? Maybe those Scientologists or Mormons are right after all–like that?

          A world devoid of anything mysterious, of anything radically exciting. Suit yourself.

          Oh, please. The primitive “My god can beat up your god” that we see in the Old Testament doesn’t begin to compare with the marvels that science shows us. I think that I’ve chosen the more exciting (and real) path, but thanks for your concern.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          If what I say is primitive, so is the “prove it prove it” line. That is 19th century rationalism, or modernist. Society is moving past this. You seem to want truth that doesn’t touch you in any deep way, so that you might be able to be a detached observer. The truth of God doesn’t work that way. Sorry. Your mode of thinking does not account for the reality of relationships, in relationships you can prove nothing, you can only live, forgive, and move forward. Prove your wife (or a friend) loves you. Yeah, you can point to circumstantial evidence, but it doesn’t *prove* it.

          I am open to the truth in all traditions, but I do tend to reinterpret what I hear in light of what I know. That proves that I am a relational and rational being (both), and I admit to limits to my understanding. I don’t claim to be “purely rational”. For instance, how about that Yin-Yang symbol? That it tells us that we are all mixtures of darkness and light, and that these are not two separate dualisms, but one non-dual reality? And that death and life are not separate, but in fact are one and the same reality, and both are at work in us?

          If you cannot admit your that you have a short-fall in your understanding, and that you do not have blind spots (in other words, you are all light and no dark), then you are unteachable. From that place, not even science can teach you; narcissism has blinded you. If you claim you see perfectly, your eyes are closed. As Jesus says to his fellow Jews, “If you didn’t listen to Moses [as they claimed], you will not believe even if someone rises from the dead.” The cry for Irrefutable Proof and Evidence is a red herring, and I don’t really think that this is what you are after. You seem to be after validation. If this were not true, you would be comfortable with your mindset and would feel no need to attempt to tear down what others believe. The only thing I’m asking for is a leveling of the playing field, and for you to be honest about your intentions, and the limitations of your knowledge.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          If what I say is primitive, so is the “prove it prove it” line.

          How many times do I gotta say it? I’m asking for compelling evidence, not proof. And if asking for evidence is a game to you, I can live with that.

          That is 19th century rationalism, or modernist. Society is moving past this.

          Society is moving past the need for evidence for claims? Uh huh. I guess I’ll just be old fashioned.

          Prove your wife (or a friend) loves you.

          Wow–that is so not the question. I know my friend exists! The very existence of God is the question we’re dealing with.

          how about that Yin-Yang symbol?

          That it exists shows us that it is correct?

          The cry for Irrefutable Proof and Evidence is a red herring, and I don’t really think that this is what you are after.

          No, I’m asking for compelling evidence, like I ask for every claim.

          You seem to be after validation.

          Every activist who sees something wrong with society is just looking for validation? Just some shallow person who must get his sense of worth from other people?

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Addendum to my discussion of other traditions: I do attempt to be open to whatever life gives me, however. This life that I live, in my body, is what is real for me. I’m not just a mind and a heart, I am an incarnational being. By not being defended against the present moment, I am more open to receive what might be trying to teach me now. The “truth” is not something that can be “got” in a final sense; it can only be chased after; that is why Jesus calls Truth a person… a person who walked in a certain way and lived a certain life.

        • Jeffrey Ludwig

          Goodbye Bob. It is obvious that you are simply being dualistic, and have decided you’re right. Good for you. You are being merely argumentative for effect, you are not listening to me or anyone else (except if they validate you).

          Keep smiling, and keep looking for your evidence. It will come, but you need to be open to hear it. Discount it, and you simply will be poorer for your disbelief. It is your choice.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Jeffrey:

          You are being merely argumentative for effect, you are not listening to me or anyone else (except if they validate you).

          I’ve given you a hearing. It seems unfair to blame me when I didn’t find your arguments compelling.

          Goodbye Bob.

          Bye. Thanks for playing!

        • Greg G

          Prove your wife (or a friend) loves you. Yeah, you can point to circumstantial evidence, but it doesn’t *prove* it.

          I can’t prove my wife loves me but it doesn’t matter. I am completely satisfied with the evidence I get that she loves me. I can’t prove to her that I love her but if i were to stop giving her evidence that I loved her, she would probably stop giving me evidence that she loves me. Relationships are kind of funny that way. It would be a sadder relationship if two people really loved one another but didn’t show evidence of it than a relationship where two people who didn’t love each other but got the benefit of false evidence. Of course, the Manti Te’o case is even sadder where the person he loved didn’t really exist but was the product of someone else’s imagination.

          It’s not that hard to get me to believe that something is real. There are a hundred things in this room that I accept as real. We only get excuses from the theist for why they can’t even present prima facie evidence for a god.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          Perhaps the reason so many can’t produce evidence of “God” is because they continue to look outside the human manifestations of The Sacred Spirit for proof.

        • Greg G

          Y says:
          March 20, 2013 at 12:38 pm

          Perhaps the reason so many can’t produce evidence of “God” is because they continue to look outside the human manifestations of The Sacred Spirit for proof.

          Are you implying that we must take inner human manifestations, such as dreams and warm fuzzy feelings, as the best evidence we can get?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    “To those who are perishing, it is foolishness.”

    This is really good. It’s titled, “I Believe that I Cannot Believe”:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/i-believe-that-i-cannot-believe.mp3

    Just give it 5 min.

  • http://www.readingscripture.org Ron Henzel

    I get it: if you really don’t want to believe something, just say, “It doesn’t make any sense!” and that settles it. But if you think you need to say a bit more than that, just come up with a list of “reasons” why it supposedly doesn’t make sense, and fill that list up with stuff that makes it look as though you’ve seriously considered and deeply examined what you’re rejecting, even though you haven’t. And then just move along on your merry way!

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Ron:

      So you’ve already seen behind the curtain? Atheists all, deep down, just know that Jesus is the man, and we’re all just patching holes in the boat as it sinks in the ocean of Truth? Or something?

      Give us a little credit. If there are errors in the argument, point that out. An empty “you’re wrong!” metacomment doesn’t teach us anything.

    • Kodie

      Go for it Ron. What’s so real about this bizarre circumstance?

      Who is going about their merry way? Bob answers just about every response from anyone who takes an issue or two with any of his posts. But you haven’t said anything. And then you just move along your merry way!

  • Povy

    God must be brilliant and confident to have produced such wonderful arguer’s. The Bible is a book written long ago by many authors, translated from many languages. No wonder it is sometimes an easy target for non believers. The believers in God, myself included, know that one comes to God by faith. The message of the cross is God is forgiveness. We as humans have free will and most of us have a conscience. The human conscience can tortur the mind and free will leads to temptation. So, knowing we cannot be perfect, but do have forgiveness is wonderfully comforting. I don’t want to sound condescending, but I truly hope you all will one day enjoy the comfort of God’s message of redemption.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Povy:

      I truly hope you all will one day enjoy the comfort of God’s message of redemption.

      OK, thanks for the thought, but most atheists want evidence. Because they’re not finding it, they ask questions or make arguments like this. If you have any, trot it out. (And if evidence didn’t lead you to belief, then you can see the problem with any atheist being convinced by whatever got you to be a Christian.)

      • Povy

        Bob,
        I sympathize with the atheist need for absolute proof of God and agree you can punch holes in bible stories. As for me, I was raised by parents as a Christian. When one is a child you believe what your parents tell you. As I grew older and thought I was wiser I withdrew from religion. Now having lived to middle age with many successes and failures my faith is stronger than ever. Although you probably will not regard this as proof I will try and explain. I have had chronic illness to the point I thought I was near death. I was not afraid to die because of my faith in God. I have visited people who have lost loved ones or suffered other tragedies. They often say they could not go on without faith. I feel I have a connection with something greater than myself that gives me strength and comfort.

        I think it would be an empty and tiring life to be without faith. I think it it presumptuous to think that in the beginning there was a not God or creator. I know the scientific arguments, but something started the big bang or whatever theory of the day is popular.

        I am sure I have not convinced you, but just know that it is ok if one day you change your mind. The God from those “crazy Jesus” stories will always accept you and forgive you. The word faith itself implies a belief without proof, but I still believe and am happier for it.

        • Kodie

          As I mentioned earlier, this whole “forgiveness” thing that you find comforting makes you mostly sound pretty selfish actually. “Forgiveness” is an imaginary gift that really offers nothing. If you are to believe there is something out there that forgives you, you must believe there is something to be forgiven for. You are self-centered, you feel like a sinner, you are appealed to, you are forgiven, you feel better. What was that all about? Instead of actually fixing stuff that is broken, you are satisfied that all god needs to give you is the shitty gift of being forgiven.

          What I see from others of your type – they are “forgiven” so they don’t really care about what other people think or feel. They are also self-centered. As long as you feel good about being forgiven, you don’t actually have to care about anyone but yourself and whether or not their needs are met by a being who could (it’s been reported) do so much more than make a grand gesture. The problem is that everyone in this thread who is a Christian doesn’t seem to mind being manipulated like that. You’ve been led to believe that physical needs are less important, you know, while people are starving. But you feel so much better, so that surely must have been worth Jesus’s time on the cross.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Povy:

          I sympathize with the atheist need for absolute proof of God

          The theist has the burden of proof. Failing to meet that burden of proof means that the objective person rejects the theist’s claims. All we humans have to deal with is evidence. I don’t demand proof (except in math).

          When one is a child you believe what your parents tell you.

          Yes! A key insight.

          They often say they could not go on without faith.

          OK, but atheists have medical problems, too. They obviously don’t say that they couldn’t go on without faith. They get by without faith, even through difficult problems. People filter things through their worldview. Not surprising.

          I think it would be an empty and tiring life to be without faith.

          OK, since you’re not walking the walk of an atheist. But when you look around and see smart, capable, well-adjusted atheists, maybe you should consider the possibility that you’re missing something (since you’re an outsider to this group).

          I think it it presumptuous to think that in the beginning there was a not God or creator.

          Why? Isn’t that were the evidence points?

          I know the scientific arguments, but something started the big bang or whatever theory of the day is popular.

          And when you say that God started the Big Bang … what started God? You’ll say that God was eternal. OK, if we’re playing that game, I’ll just say that the universe is eternal.

          it is ok if one day you change your mind.

          I’ve never heard of anyone like me becoming a Christian.

    • MNb

      “knowing we cannot be perfect, but do have forgiveness is wonderfully comforting”
      is not good enough. Taking responsibility for the consequences and actively trying to do about them is better. But for christians asking forgiveness is good enough – next minute they happily can go on sinning.
      Then I’d rather prefer islam. When a muslim dies allah is supposed to weigh his/her good and bad deeds. A christian only has to ask superhero Jesus for forgiveness. Lame.
      (disclaimer: islam has other issues; that’s not the point here)

  • edward killilea

    with an open mind
    read A Marginal Jew by John Meier
    it is a 4 volumne treatise .

    It first principal is presenting historical facts that everyone should be in agreement
    One of his ideas is argument from “embarrassment” Actually quite interesting.

    now if you don’t think being crucified or being scourged is painful then
    your mind is closed to reality

    To say Everyone from Josephus, Tacitus, Gospels. early writers were are “in on it” mistaken
    etc is really being silly with a closed mind.

    The Crucifixion is fact. It did happen. The Resurrection is a matter of faith. One believes or one doesn’t. Hopefully God will give you this gift.

    Why did God desire a Human sacrifice of his Son? When Redemption could have been given in any other way. I really don’t know. I suggest that you ask Him on death when you see Him

    Ed Killilea
    Kearny NJ

    unfortunately for two thousand years many people

    • Bob Seidensticker

      edward:

      One of his ideas is argument from “embarrassment”

      Yes, I’m familiar with the criterion of embarrassment.

      now if you don’t think being crucified or being scourged is painful then your mind is closed to reality

      I do think it’s painful. I just don’t think it’s particularly unique.

      To say Everyone from Josephus, Tacitus, Gospels. early writers were are “in on it” mistaken etc is really being silly with a closed mind.

      I don’t argue this.

      Why did God desire a Human sacrifice of his Son? When Redemption could have been given in any other way.

      A very good question!

      • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

        I believe that Jesus agreed to be crucified because humans were still demanding human sacrifice to “god,” and that his willingness to make a martyr of himself was proof to people that he was willing to die to prove his commitment to what he had lived. I also believe that his Sacred Spirit never died and lived on in all who chose to follow what he had taught with his life. I believe this same thing about The Sacred Spirit (energy) in all the universe.

        • ZenDruid

          My thinking is that the ‘historical’ Jesus, just like Socrates, submitted to his fate simply in order to spare his followers from the same fate. I expect the authorities of the times were pragmatic enough to kill the snake by chopping off its head. Gnostic scripture suggests there was mutual enmity between J and the Pharisees. NT mentions Pilate accepting responsibility for the execution after the local priesthood made enough noise.

          Politics as usual.

      • edward killilea

        that question is the paradox of Christianity
        remember one needs Good Friday before Easter

        it’s only answer : “is ask God when you see him”.

        edward killilea

        kearny nj

  • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

    The real issue, in my opinion, is that Jesus lived an exemplary life for over thirty years. We prefer to focus on his last few days instead of attempting to live the way he lived. Dying was probably easier than remaining responsibly compassionate in our world. We are all called to live responsibly compassionate lives, but few of us will be called to die for our beliefs. It is so much easier to fantasize being a “super hero” than it is to live lives of love.

    • Slow Learner

      Except he’s off-the-record from about the age of 12 to the age of 30, so any “exemplars” in most of his life are not available to us. Whoops, guess you should go back and edit the Gospels so they say a bit more about that biiig gap.

      • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

        I understand this, so I’ll simply focus on the last couple of years of his celebration of life with friends, rather than the last couple of days of suffering. I know that the stories are not historically accurate, but they do seem to give a pattern for a responsibly compassionate life.

        • vorjack

          “I know that the stories are not historically accurate, but they do seem to give a pattern for a responsibly compassionate life.”

          … unless you’re one of the merchants at the temple. Or one of the non-Jewish “dogs”. Or a fig tree. Or …

          Basically, if your conclusion is that Jesus was compassionate, you can then work backwards and find plenty of evidence to support your theory. But I don’t think you can approach the Bible without prejudice and come away with the idea that Jesus was a moral exemplar by modern standards.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          Responsible compassion does not, in my opinion, mean that we allow the abuse of the vulnerable. Jesus was very clear that the holy was not restricted to Jews or to gentiles. He had a real problem with those who misrepresented the sacred in order to control others, as do I. The money changers were, in a sense, selling the sacred.

          I don’t believe that Jesus was a divinity walking the earth, so I pay no attention to all the supposed miracles. I also don’t believe that Jesus is the only holy man that we can follow in responsible compassion, but he is an exemplar in my life. In my life, I look for examples, both living and dead, of responsible compassion; this is what I consider signs of The Sacred Spirit.

        • vorjack

          The money changers were, in a sense, selling the sacred.

          They were doing no such thing. They were vital to the process of temple worship. Could Jews from foreign lands enter the Temple holding graven images of foreign rulers on their coinage? Of course not, so you needed money changers. Could a Jew from the other side of the Mediterranean come all the way carrying a lamb? Of course not, so they needed a place to buy a sacrificial animal.

          Surely if Jesus believed that one of the ten commandments no longer applied, or that temple sacrifice was no longer necessary, he could have found some other way to explain it than by wrecking the tables. No, this was an act of political theater, during which (according to Marc) Jesus halted the functioning of the temple completely.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          I believe that a primary reason for the earthly ministry of Jesus was to stop the belief that salvation was through sacrifice of anything other than humanity’s humbling of their own egos to do the work of responsible compassion in place of competition for the favor of “God.”

          The money changers in the temples were propagating this false belief system, and making it increasingly difficult for the poor to live without fear. I believe that the real message from the story of Abraham and Isaac was that Abraham was mistaken in what was wanted from him, so he was stopped by The Sacred Spirit from carrying out the blood sacrifice of his only son.

    • SparklingMoon

      The real issue, in my opinion, is that Jesus lived an exemplary life for over thirty years.
      ——————————————————————–

      We have mainly two sources of knowledge about the life of Jesus Christ : the Bible and the Quran. In the Bible, we read (Matthew 15:24): in reply to a Canaanite woman Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
      The Quran also confirms that he was a prophet to the children of Israel (3:50). He conveyed his message only to the Israelites. At that time only one or two tribes was living in Israel, the rest of them had fled Israel during the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. In II Kings 17:18 we have,
      “So the lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight, none was left except the tribe of Judah.”
      So Jesus spent three years of his ministry preaching to the tribe of Judah, who did not heed to the message, rather tried to murder him. After escaping the death on the cross he set forth to the mountainous region to the east in search of the other tribes. We have in John 10:16,
      “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.”
      The other tribes of Israel had moved to the east and had settled in Iraq and Iran in small segments and in large numbers in Afghanistan, Laddakh and Kashmir. The route taken by Jesus (peace be upon him) and his mother to these areas has been mention in Rawzat-us-Sufa, a well-known history book, in pages 130-135. According to this book Jesus travelled from his home country of Nasibian. It means that Jesus (peace be upon him) after bidding farewell to disciples at Galilee, travelled to north east 450 miles and reached Nasibian. Next he went to Mosul, Tehran, Herat, and Peshawar en route to Kashmir. Everywhere he went, he preached his message to the Israelites only. It seems these tribes were receptive to the glad tidings given by Jesus (peace be upon him) and they accepted him readily. Jesus reached the last 10 tribes of Israelites whom King Shalmaneser had taken captive to Meda, that is, the present day Iran. The Israelite over a period had settled in Afghanistan and Kashmir and on arrival of Jesus (peace be upon him) there, they accepted him. The Holy Quran has mentioned about the shelter provided to Jesus (peace be upon him) during his difficult time, saying,
      “And we made son of Mary and his mother a sign; and gave them shelter on an elevated land of green valley and springs of running waters.” (23:51)
      This is an apt description of the valley of Kashmir. Jesus , after surviving death on the cross, very much needed such a shelter. After the long journey from Galilee to Kashmir Jesus finally had comfort and peace. His message was easily understood and accepted by the Afghans and the Kashmiris, who were the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel. Jesus preached the unity of God and was able to unite the Israelites before expiring at the age of 120 years. He is buried in Khanyar, Sirinagar, Kashmir, India. His grave is known as grave of Yus Asif or Nabi Sahib. There is available an interesting book ”Jesus in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed ”free online to read for more details.

      • Slow Learner

        Bwahahaha.

        That actually made me laugh out loud, and now my colleagues are staring at me. Thanks for that, I needed a lift today.
        Oh, wait, you’re serious?…

        • SparklingMoon

          Oh, wait, you’re serious?…
          ———————————————————–
          According to the statements of Gospels the Pharisees of Jesus’time considering him a false prophet brought serious political charges against him alleging that he was disloyal to the Roman Emperor, and that he claimed himself to be the King of the Jews. The governor, Pilate was not convinced of his guilt but being influenced by the tumult of the multitude he delivered Jesus to be crucified. They put him on the cross where he remained, at the utmost, for three or four hours only and then was taken down in a swoon and placed in a sepulchre in a garden nearby.

          Now in those days it took several days for criminals to die on the cross. They suffered the pangs of hunger and thirst and in most cases their legs were broken. They died a lingering death extending over several days. But it was not so in the case of Jesus Christ. Incidentally, he was put on the Cross on a Friday afternoon. The following being the Sabbath – day a day of religious observance by the Jews – no criminal could remain on the Cross on that Holy day, so he was taken down from it after about three or four hours. The loss of blood from the wounds caused him to fall into a swoon. He was taken for a dead man. His body was placed in a spacious sepulchre in a garden by Joseph of Arimathaea, his own disciple. Jesus being still alive in the sepulchre, left it on the third day in disguise, met his disciples at Galilee and ate with them. His wounds were healed by the application of an ointment especially prepared by his disciples for the purpose.

          This is the natural story of Jesus’s Crucifixion but the people after him gave a strange version to his death and his person which is not only unnatural but also against historical evidence as well as logic. They believe that Jesus actually died on the Cross but on the third day he rose up to the heavens with his physical body.

        • Slow Learner

          You have no evidence of your theory, any more than the Christians.

        • Bob Jase

          Are you aware there is no contemporary evidence for any of the Jesus story?

        • SparklingMoon

          Are you aware there is no contemporary evidence for any of the Jesus story?
          ——————————————————————–
          The great love people have for Jesus in their hearts is an enough evidence to believe that there exist somewhere a truth in the stories presented by people. Why do all people are so interested in this person Jesus, who had passed away more than two thousands years ago ?And What urge is there,deep hidden in their hearts that bring them on these web sites to talk about him,to find any glimpse of truth about his person or to bring the real Messiah out who beneath the heaps of myths has lost his reality Very simple and very straightforward answer is ; the great love Jesus has for his followers as a prophet .The great love of a prophet never dies, in spite of his physical death,his spirit cares to guide his followers He incarnates in the person of next prophets or poise people again and again to guide his people. This great love is an eternal part of prophet hood because a prophet is always selected by God on the condition of his immense love that he has for his people, otherwise the fulfillment of this big responsibility of Prophet hood with many sacrifices is impossible. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed has presented a rule to recognize the truth of a prophet in his book:
          ”One of the principles which forms the basis of my belief refers to the established religions of the world. These religions have met with wide acceptance in various regions of the earth.They have acquired a measure of age,and have reached a stage of maturity. God has informed me that none of these religions were false at their source and none of the prophets impostors.” (Tohfa Qaisariya’ p. 256)
          The Great respect God has created in the hearts of people for Jesus is an enough proof of his being a true prophet of God

        • Greg G

          Why do all people are so interested in this person Jesus, who had passed away more than two thousands years ago ? …
          Very simple and very straightforward answer is ; the great love Jesus has for his followers as a prophet .

          Most of Jesus’ followers do not see him a prophet but as the Messiah. Either their beliefs are wrong, your beliefs are wrong, or you’re both wrong. Since you and they are making fantastic claims without evidence, it’s most likely the latter case.

      • Bob Jase

        “We have mainly two sources of knowledge about the life of Jesus Christ : the Bible and the Quran.”

        Except that the Quran is based on the bible and legend so it isn’t a separate source. Also one says Jesus was god and the other says he was not – which is a fairly large discrepancy so at least one has to be wrong.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          I believe that there are many accounts of the life of Jesus, only a few of them accepted by those who compiled the “holy” scriptures. What’s important to me, is that they all seem to point to a man of modest means brought up in a very moral (responsibly compassionate) faith tradition who grew up to lead a movement of responsible compassion, which was then perverted into a militaristic society.

          I believe that The Sacred Spirit was cultivated in him many generations before his birth, as is the Spirit cultivated over time in generations of all living things. I believe we make a mistake arguing over how many children “God” has. Genesis and many other sacred scriptures of many faith traditions point to all of humanity being part of the Spirit of “God.”

          I believe we must go back to the sharing of The Sacred Spirit in small groups that, through their examples, inspire others. Peace may not come in my lifetime, but I will continue to do my part to share what is sacred about my Spirit.

        • Bob Jase

          “I believe that The Sacred Spirit was cultivated in him many generations before his birth”

          That’s nice but none of the ancient writings about Jesus say that so you’re just making up a new version of the story just as comic books keep getting retro-conned.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Y: Your philosophy sounds like it may be benign socially, but you do realize that you’re simply asserting your position, right? If your goal was simply to toss out another worldview, that’s fine. But there are no arguments here, no evidence.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          It seems to me that there are people who live lives seeking to exude positive energy and those who seek to exude negative energy. Jesus seems to have been into exuding positive energy.

          As my Jewish friends say, I follow deeds, not creeds. I study many beliefs and look for people who have set good examples to reach peace with others in the here and now, on the only earth I know. I actively seek consensus, not competition. It works to create a bit of “peace on earth” for me. This bit of peace I try to pass on to others.

          I do not subscribe to theism because I feel that to personify The Sacred Spirit is to limit this spirit. I only look at the histories of humanity’s search for the answers (religious and scientific) to the great mysteries of the universe to find paths that others follow to inner peace, peace with others, peace within the universe.

          Even in the world of honest science there is much humility about what is now known (believed). This is not the case with many religions; therefore I follow no religious dogma. I do honor those who find responsibly compassionate paths to follow in their lives by following religious practices.

        • SparklingMoon

          the Quran is based on the bible and legend so it isn’t a separate source. Also one says Jesus was god and the other says he was not – which is a fairly large discrepancy so at least one has to be wrong.
          —————————————————————————-
          The book of Quran is not based on the Bible but a direct revelation of God( revealed to the Prophet of Islam.)One purpose of a Prophet and his revelation is also to reform the rough condition of previous revelations that has been changed with the passage of time by their followers. The Quran claims to be a universal final message for the people of the whole world therefore God has cleared all misconception that exists among the followers of all prevailed religions .It is the reason that in the Quran there are many descriptions about the Prophets of the Bible and their teachings and the attitudes of their followers . The true picture of these prophets and their teachings is presented in the Quran to bring their followers back to reality and to their God Almighty.Jesus had informed his followers about the coming of this Prophet of Islam in the Bible. As he has said:

          ”But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14-26)
          Only the prophet of Islam was truly sent in the name of Jesus after him because he bore testimony to his truth. The Quran says:
          ”The Messiah, son of Mary, was a messenger, “surely messengers like unto him had passed away before him” (The Quran 5:76) The Quran reports that the angels told Mary: ”Surely Allah gives you good news with a word from Him of whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and hereafter. (The Quran 3:46)

          The Prophet of Islam testified to the truth of Jesus through the Quran as a divine and honored Teacher and Prophet, and declared them mistaken and misguided who thought him accursed. The Quran described his teachings as “guidance and light .”

        • Bob Jase

          “The book of Quran is not based on the Bible but a direct revelation of God( revealed to the Prophet of Islam.)One purpose of a Prophet and his revelation is also to reform the rough condition of previous revelations that has been changed with the passage of time by their followers. The Quran claims to be a universal final message for the people of the whole world therefore God has cleared all misconception that exists among the followers of all prevailed religions ”

          That means exactly dick to anyone who doesn’t believe in the Muslim mythology, just as the bible does for those who disbelieve it. You spouting dogma instead of presenting real world evidence is pointless to non-believers.

  • beardedwop

    I know 14-16yr olds that have a better understanding of Christian theology and the reason the crucifixion is important. Besides, how many other 1st century crucified Galileans had a “worlds largest” religion made after them?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      BW:

      I know 14-16yr olds that have a better understanding of Christian theology and the reason the crucifixion is important.

      It’s a shame that none of them were in the room so that you could have them give some actual, y’know, reasons.

      Besides, how many other 1st century crucified Galileans had a “worlds largest” religion made after them?

      So the accurate religion just varies over time? Christianity is accurate now, but something else was the correct religion 2000 years ago?

  • BUTCH P

    1 CORINTIANS 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
    1 CORINTHIANS 2:14,”The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
    1 CORINTHIANS 1:20-25 “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks, Butch. If you have any arguments, those would work better.

    • dorcheat

      Copy and paste preaching from online bibles will get you nowhere in this forum.

      • duane

        You’d be surprised.

        • dorcheat

          Allright, I stand slightly corrected. Lazy and thoughtless copy and paste preaching without any supporting arguments. Any moron can copy and paste from online bibles.

  • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

    I believe the life of Jesus story is infinitely more important than the story of his last few days of suffering. He spent the last three years of his life exemplifying the celebration of The Sacred Spirit with all who wanted to celebrate with him.

    I believe that humans were still demanding blood sacrifice to their understanding of God, so Jesus was willing to become a martyr to his most precious cause. I believe that his Scared Spirit lives on in all those who have been touched by his examples of his responsible compassion. I believe that this is true of The Sacred Spirits of all who die after living lives of sharing The Sacred Spirit of responsible compassion.

    I believe that The Sacred Spirit is an endless loop of all positive energy in the universe, as is manifest in more ways than any of us can ever imagine. Stardust we are, and to stardust, we shall return.

  • Jean

    To Bob:

    1> The world was brutal and the strong triumphed over the weak. God came down into this to show another way to live knowing he would be crucified for doing so. In the process, he gave hope to the poor and weak by promising that if they follow in his way, they would be saved. His gift to the world is hope for the hopeless at the cost of his own life.
    2>Yes, God thought that hell was so bad he happily gave his life up in agony to save those destined for hell.
    3>Jesus is a historical figure who was crucified, and whose name is found in Roman records as having been crucified. People don’t survive crucifixion; the Romans make sure of that. Hundreds saw Jesus after the Resurrection and there are no credible accounts of witnesses disputing that or claiming fraud. Besides, Jesus’ miracles before his death including the resurrection of Lazarus and the changing of water to wine, and multiplication of fish and bread proves he was who he said he was. There are way too many credible accounts of this to have been fraud.
    4>Man’s sin is not without consequence. It infects the whole body and spirit. Therefore, a sin as grave as Original sin infected the body of both Adam and Eve and any children born of their flesh. The sin is carried in both their blood and the breath of life passed down to the child.
    5>Adam and Eve WALKED WITH GOD in paradise. They had first hand personal experience with God’s goodness and love, and yet they accepted the lie of Satan that they too could be like God if they ate the apple. This story is really a story about ambition and pride overtaking a person’s duty to fidelity and gratitude for the one who created them. Every human person is confronted with this temptation to elevate oneself and so we are all predisposed to this sin.
    6>Jesus had TWO natures. One was the nature of God (a divine nature) and the other was the human nature in all its fullness (he was fully human). Therefore, his human flesh was as weak and prone to temptation and suffering and fear as any other human person. Jesus always subordinated his human flesh to the demands of his divine nature but he did so through free will and so it was credited to him by the Father as an act of perfect obedience.
    7>You’re confused about the gift of forgiveness. God forgave us first, and then paid the penalty for our sins, which was still due for sin. Our task is only to accept this forgiveness which is already extended to us. Some of the greatest saints were first very great sinners. The mystery in this is that once they came to understand the depth of their sin and its gravity, the only remedy for the shame they felt is the mercy and forgiveness of God who takes away this shame. The result is that they really come to understand and experience God’s love first hand and so are confirmed in faith and love for God. At that point, they go on to do some pretty astounding things in emulation of the God they have come to love.
    8>The Bible is the entire story of God’s love for man. Read from beginning to end, one cannot help by find and amazing and loving God. It is said that the New Testament is hidden in the OT, and the Old Testament revealed in the NT. If you look for these mysteries, you can find them. There is no story in Greek mythology that can match the story of God’s love for man.
    9>Here is a story that illustrates how God loves us. It is a true story. A man takes his 4 ornery grandchildren out on a boat on a lake in NE Ohio in Spring. He tells them to stay seated for their own safety. Out on the lake, the kids get fidgety and argumentative and some of them stand up. The boat rocks and the kids fall into the frigid lake. The man looks down on the drowning children. He does not say, ” they deserve to die so I will not help them”. Instead, the man jumps into the cold water. Some of the kids try to climb on him, pushing him under the water. In their panic they are kicking and clawing at him but he does not stop loving them. He loves them even more. One kid tries to swim to shore, and the outstretched hand of grandfather cannot save him. The child ignores the man’s command to return to the boat. The child drowns. One child lies docile in the hands of the grandfather who quickly puts him up on the boat to safety. With great effort and in agony, the man heaves the last 2 fighting kids up into the boat even as their feet push him down under. Three kids make it into the boat. The man drowns. This is the story of God who dives down into this world. The docile children are easily save. The fearful ones are hard to save. The ones who swim away are lost. But never, never does God stop loving those children, nor does he condemn the one that got away. He loves him most of all and will weep and mourn his loss for all eternity. But…God gave him free will…he has the choice to return to the boat or swim away and try to make it on his own.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Jean:

      God thought that hell was so bad he happily gave his life up in agony to save those destined for hell.

      He didn’t give it up. He’s alive right now, right? And his resurrection didn’t save me from hell, did it?

      Jesus is a historical figure who was crucified, and whose name is found in Roman records as having been crucified.

      Tell me more. I hadn’t heard that Roman records recorded this.

      there are no credible accounts of witnesses disputing that or claiming fraud.

      Which proves nothing. Would you expect to see evidence today of naysayers if there had been naysayers?

      There are way too many credible accounts of this to have been fraud.

      Let’s just say that I’m unconvinced.

      Therefore, a sin as grave as Original sin infected the body of both Adam and Eve and any children born of their flesh.

      In a magic world, sure. I don’t see this as being very relevant to ours, however.

      This story is really a story about ambition and pride overtaking a person’s duty to fidelity and gratitude for the one who created them.

      They’re judged for a moral sin when they didn’t yet know what morality was?? Seems rather unfair, like judging children who are simply immature.

      Therefore, his human flesh was as weak and prone to temptation and suffering and fear as any other human person.

      And you compare him against a regular person? He’s a regular person … who just happens to understand everything. Of course he made the right decisions!

      Read from beginning to end, one cannot help by find and amazing and loving God.

      Lots of atheists will disagree. They’ll say that reading the Bible was their route to skepticism and eventually atheism.

      There is no story in Greek mythology that can match the story of God’s love for man.

      I’ll just take reality, thanks.

      But never, never does God stop loving those children, nor does he condemn the one that got away.

      And yet God can’t be troubled to simply forgive whatever offends him. Nope–you follow the rules or you burn in hell. Forever.

      Kinda makes a quick drowning pretty trivial by comparison.

  • duane

    Some won’t believe even if someone came back from the dead.

    • Yoav

      Are you claiming to be the resurrected galloping Duane Gish? Otherwise what is the point behind your comment.

      • duane

        It’s all based on belief or non belief. From that starting point each side works through its logical problems and difficulties. Your side seems perfectly logical and the other totally illogical. What matters in the end is whose basic premise is correct. Perfect logic totally collapses when the original premise is shown to be false. That’s why its more important to make sure you have your First Principles correct rather than the logic you argue from beyond them. A long string of perfect math equations will be wrong if the first simple sum is incorrect.

        • Yoav

          That’s why its more important to make sure you have your First Principles correct rather than the logic you argue from beyond them.

          Have you?

        • duane

          Of course. Although Christianity may seem highly implausible, if one uses the Sherlock Holmes method of discarding every other possible theory then that which is left must be true however implausible it is.That is exactly what I have done. Just for a start genetic science has shown that for life to have started on its own without some type of intelligent design is mathematically ludicrous. This doesn’t prove “God” but it’s a pretty big step. You can wallow in your prideful arrogance the rest of your life and pay the ultimate price or you can begin the journey with honest inquiry. God says He can be found and will reward those who look for Him.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          duane:

          You’re going to have a hard time finding support for the theist position within science, biology in particular.

          If you want to stick to that claim, give us some evidence that the consensus view within biology is that intelligent design is required for life to start on its own (abiogenesis, I’m assuming?).

  • duane

    It makes perfect sense that it makes no sense to you. The Gospel is foolishness to those who won’t believe. Once you believe and your First Principles are altered Christianity becomes the most logical position. So it comes down to belief or non belief and what is the root of your initial presuppositions. The beauty of Christianity is that it works for the full spectrum of human intelligence. From the simple faith of the 70 IQ to the fully reasoned logical faith of the 170 IQ.

  • duane

    Pride is the ultimate rejection of God. It’s what made Satan into Satan. It’s making yourself god. I’m the final authority of my life and how I’ll live it. As C.S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people. Those who say to God “Thy will be done” and those to whom God will say, “Thy will be done.””

    • Bob Jase

      “Pride is the ultimate rejection of God. It’s what made Satan into Satan.”

      No, Yahweh supposedly made Satan into Satan – remember Yahweh is omniscient which means he would have known ahead of time what Satan would be like

      • duane

        And you know God is omniscient how?

        • Bob Jase

          Well that is generally considered one of the defining characteristics of god, if god is a moron though it would explain a lot.

        • duane

          So God is either omniscient or a moron? A lot of Christians believe that God purposely gives up his omniscient in some cases. You obviously didn’t know that which shows your general lack of knowledge of the Christian faith. It would be wise to actually study something you’re going to bash rather than just depend upon the biased one sided view you get from your echo chamber atheist blogs. Especially since your eternal destiny depends on it.

        • Bob Jase

          “A lot of Christians believe that God purposely gives up his omniscient in some cases. ”

          What you said also means a lot of Christians don’t believe that god gives up his omniscience – which are the true Christians? Let me guess, the ones that agree with you.

        • Yoav

          A lot of Christians believe that God purposely gives up his omniscient in some cases.

          Duane, while I agree that Mr Deity’s videos are awesome they are not actually documentaries.

        • duane

          Once again you show your gross ignorance of Christianity. There are a numbers of side doctrinal issues that the different Christian faiths have. There are only a few core doctrines that make up the basis of Christianity. The vast majority adhere to these. Of all the people who like ice crème there are hundreds of different flavors but the love of ice crème is the same.

        • Kodie

          So, vague and evasive is the strategy you’re sticking with, huh.

        • duane

          I can’t help it if its vague and elusive to you. I’m sure a first grader says the same thing about calculus.

        • Kodie

          Once again you show your gross ignorance of Christianity.

          What is that.

          There are a numbers of side doctrinal issues that the different Christian faiths have.

          So enumerate them.

          There are only a few core doctrines that make up the basis of Christianity.

          Why should I believe any of them?

          The vast majority adhere to these. Of all the people who like ice crème there are hundreds of different flavors but the love of ice crème is the same.

          So vague and elusive!

        • Bob Seidensticker

          duane:

          A lot of Christians believe that God purposely gives up his omniscient in some cases

          I remember that one! That was in episode 76, I think, when God battles Gorg from Org, right?

          Oh wait a minute. I’m thinking of Superman comics. Never mind.

        • Bob Jase

          I’d never heard his claim that god temporarilly gives up being omniscient but its a truly inane claim – if I am omniscient I already know what will happen if I turn off my omniscience for 5 minutes tomorrow which makes doing so just an pretense.

        • Greg G

          And you know God is omniscient how?

          If we’re talking about the God of the Bible:

          Psalm 147:5
          Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

          1 John 3:20
          For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

          Jeremiah 23:24
          Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

          Hebrews 4:13
          And
          no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

          Perhaps you should direct the question to the author of 1 John.

    • MNb

      @Duane: “Pride is the ultimate rejection of God. It’s what made Satan into Satan”
      Two gods? A good and an evil one? Though in the book of Job it’s the judeo-christian god who behaves like a d**k and Satan is the nice guy.
      Coherence and consistency are not your strong points, are they?

      “There are a numbers of side doctrinal issues”
      Granted. Come back when all you christians have reached a kind of consensus – like biologists and physicists.

      “It’s totally a heart issue.”
      Agreed. I just consulted my heart and was once again confirmed that I’m better of without your god – or any other one.

      “is going to be eternally sorry”
      Boooooh. Belief based on fear. Oh, how I’m scared.

  • duane

    You ask for proof. You will never have enough. You want evidence. There will never be enough to convince. You ask for a sign. The only one you will get is the sign of Jonah. The problem is not intellectual. It’s totally a heart issue. Until you resolve that any discussion of proof or evidence is worthless and a waste of time. God made His move. Anyone rejecting Him because he won’t write their name in the sky is going to be eternally sorry.

    • Bob Jase

      “It’s totally a heart issue.”

      Well it certainly isn’t a brain situation because thinking leads one away from religion.

      • duane

        There is a way that seems right but in the end there is forever separation from God. I used my brain to help decide to marry my wife but it was the heart that had to happen first. Didn’t matter how much it made sense to marry or not marry her. Once the heart was there I could overlook some issues or figure I could could work through them or just accept them through the years. The same with Christianity. Are there some intellectual issues? Sure there are plenty. Buts there’s also plenty of logical reasons to believe and my heart has proven to me that this is reality so I’ll work through the questions even though they may never be answered on this side. Work out your own salvation. Good advice from that book you so despise but have actually never read or studied.

        • Kodie

          You may not know it, but you’re no closer to god than anyone is. You also give some terrifying relationship advice. Typical self-centered people tell anecdotes about things they find analogous to the situation with god, that if it works for you, then it is right for other people to do things the way you do. It may make you feel better to believe no atheist has studied the bible, but I would trust those who have to dig deeper into it than you do and reveal how shallow your belief is. All you have done here is say “Hi, my name is Duane, and I’m a rationalizer.” Hi Duane. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Your problem is lack of empathy.

        • duane

          A very intellectual response. Do you have any arguments other than insults?

        • Sarah Eilerson

          Well, the fact that you find intellectualism insulting is rather the problem, isn’t it?

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Duane, most religious people are insulted by anyone who dares to question them, or try to use logic and reason to come to conclusions about things. You already admitted you believe what you believe because of the way it makes you feel, and not because of evidence. So you basically gave up at that point and threw in the towel, knowing you have no grounds on which to make a case, other than a purely emotional one. That kind of emotional existence would just make you choose whatever religion you were first taught, and you’d be a Muslim if you were born in some other country, because you are unable to take the first step towards truth which requires the realization of the absoluteness of one’s own brainwashing.

        • Kodie

          Those arguments I gave were relevant to your post. You’re very defensive but you refuse to describe in evidenced detail what you’re defending. You think you’re right without an argument supporting that claim. All you’ve done is stand around with your hands in your pockets and getting insulted because you’re called out. I don’t really have a lot of respect for Christians whose major claim is that “no amount of evidence” will convince an atheist. Could it be that your evidence is not that great? From your perspective of course it’s perfect, but nobody was convinced because their heart is closed or your evidence has sucked and not evoked the reaction you were expecting? Sour grapes, man.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          duane:

          Comparing your relationship to God and your relationship with your wife seem to be an odd comparison. You actually know your wife exists. You could in short order have me convinced that she exists. But God’s very existence is Question #1.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      duane:

      You ask for proof.

      Nope. Never have. I ask for compelling evidence. Fair request, right? Doesn’t evidence play an important part of your decision making process?

      Until you resolve that any discussion of proof or evidence is worthless and a waste of time.

      Is that how you conduct your life? No interest in evidence? You cross a street without evidence? Learn French? Diagnose a disease?

    • Nox

      You haven’t offered any evidence Duane.

      Declaring that no evidence could possibly convince us is incredibly premature at best.

  • http://www.melcthompson.com Mel C. Thompson

    This article rocks. One thing it shows is that, of all the religions, Christianity makes the least sense. True, some religions might currently seem more wicked in their worldly activities, but no theology is as harmful, schizophrenic and debasing of humanity, and so poorly thought-out as Christianity. Although I’m anti-Islamic, I must say that, by comparison, Islam and Judaism, of which I also disapprove, look clear and non-crazy. At least they can keep their story straight. There is one God. He either forgives you or he doesn’t. You either repent or you don’t. And so on. Christianity is so obviously the hobbled-together desperate theological mess that it is because it’s the artificial product of Constantine, and Nicea, at 325AD. It was strictly a set of political moves that established this incoherent mess in order to solidify Rome, and it was done under the command of a practicing Pagan, Constantine, who actually didn’t believe, personally, a word of it. How sad that 99% of Christians don’t even know that.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Mel:

      Thanks for the comments.

      I’ll agree that Constantine and Nicea had a role, but I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. (I’m just a student of this myself, but if you look at the several different Christianities that didn’t reach critical mass, for example, that’s just one of several important stories.)

      • Nox

        The christian religion wasn’t made up from scratch at Nicaea. The christian religion was codified at Nicaea. That is the point in the church’s history where one particular version of christianity was officially declared (by vote) to be the one true message of christ, and all the other forms of christianity were officially declared to be heresy.

        Nicaea was the end of an argument that had been going on for two hundred years.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Nox:

          Nicaea was the end of an argument that had been going on for two hundred years.

          Seems to me more that Nicaea was the beginning of the end, a process that took centuries more. The first 7 ecumenical councils went from 325 (first council of Nicaea) through 787. They debated many heresies. Even in our day, the pope’s infallibility was only decided in 1870.

          “Christianity” is a moving target.

        • Nox

          A good point. But by “the end of an argument” I was referring to the argument among early christians about Jesus’ divinity. Changes would continue to the present day, but anyone calling themselves christian who didn’t think Jesus was the son of god instantly became a heretic with the issuing of the Nicene Creed.

          The wording of the Nicene Creed is itself a record that it was meant to be a refutation of competing christian creeds.

  • Jean

    Oh my Mel, are you really serious? Have you ever read Scripture? Have you ever read the Old Testament and the Gospels? Have you ever read the early Church Fathers writings which came before 325AD? Have you ever read Church history? Until you have done so, you know nothing about which you are speaking. Please study first, talk later.

  • duane

    It is always amazing to me that people who think they know so much about the Bible have never read and studied it. They have a few verses they take out of context (sometimes even just a few words out of a single verse!) mostly that they got from some website. Even ones raised in religious homes are fighting a 1st grade understanding of Scripture strawman and never went any deeper. They spout their own understanding of history as if it’s Gospel (pun intended) like we could really know what peoples minds, hearts, and lives were like back then. History gives us a thimble of all the worlds oceans of history. A pretty thin argument to base your eternal destiny on.

    • Kodie

      What eternal destiny? Why is the bible true and I must believe any of it? You didn’t make a single scratch to the surface of what you’re defending against. If you had something to say that was really important and educational and illuminating, you decided to go another way and just say we’re dumb because we didn’t read the fantasy novel you hold dear. What else do you know?

      • duane

        You don’t have to believe it. But to bash it and its believers without having even read it yourself is what seems dumb to me. It’s your destiny. If it is true then you pay an eternal price for your laziness in refusing to even check it out on an adult level rather than the first grade theology that atheists attack so smugly.

        • Kodie

          It’s not so much what you believe is false. Like, if you like your fantasy world then have yourself a good time there. It is actually what is wrong with how religious believers act upon belief. The belief itself must be struck down as fantasy, because that’s what it is. You say I don’t understand it deeply enough, I say you are in denial and a strong case of cognitive dissonance if none of these blog posts is getting through you to you. It’s not smug righteousness (that’s your deal). It’s that you use these false beliefs to behave in error and cause terrific harm to others. Show us WHAT IT IS. No, you don’t deserve any respect for having some awesome faith that you can’t show evidence. I would not believe in a god who had it rigged that way anyway. How does he expect us all to work it out down here if you believe one thing and any of your fellow Christians believe a slightly different thing and then there are people with other religions. None of you is using your own brain, you don’t think, you just have to be a pawn for your creator, who decides that it’s better never to show up. No, you believe something absolutely false and you demand respect for being hypnotized by bad logic. You lower your opinion of us when you expect us to believe the same inane things you do. You want to say we’re smug for rejecting ridiculous arguments and non-argument protests? You hate us because we’re not gullible like you and then you just sidle out of here. Typical smug Christian! Nothing special about you or your lack of substance.

        • duane

          Wow! You ran the full gambit from the hate to the insults. The only thing you left out was racist and Hitler. Brilliant response. Your reading comprehension needs work. I’ve already abundantly made the point that no amount of evidence is going to make some believe so I don’t bother giving any until someone actually shows a heart interest in knowing. Until then I’m just the watchman shouting the alarm. You can choose to heed the warnings or ignore them. I’ve done my job and you are responsible for your own soul.

        • Kodie

          “Hi I’m Duane. I contribute nothing to the conversation.”

        • duane

          Why the hate? Why do you hate Christians so much?

        • Kodie

          I don’t hate Christians so much. I think you’re a tool.

        • duane

          You do hate. Its obvious to all. Why not just admit it? I struck a nerve and it shows. I’m entirely 100% confident in my relationship with God. I’m there from a lifetime of study and experience. God has proven Himself to me innumerable times. Maybe your as confident in your unbelief. Better pray your right.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you then just show us this great evidence. You are just here to complain that we don’t believe you and we won’t believe you so you don’t have anything to contribute.

          However, you do keep saying that our eternal lives are at stake and we better pray. You have NOTH-ING.

        • MNb

          “without having even read it yourself”
          “You do hate.”
          And here we have another so called christian who doesn’t take his own belief system seriously. Matth. 7:1, Duane, Matth. 7:1. One of the best quotes of the entire book if you ask me. And still you fail. You should reread it and contemplate about it for an hour – ask yourself how it applies to you. Then come back.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          duane:

          Better pray your right.

          Pascal’s Wager affects the Christian just as much as the atheist. I must pray that I’m right while you stand smugly by, confident that you’ve backed the right horse?

          Let me tell you, bro, that things will get mighty warm for you if Buddhism is the right choice. Or Islam. Or any other religions that have hells for bad people (like the five that I just invented).

        • Greg G

          Better pray your right.

          Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

          Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

          If you think hell is something to be feared, you may be in trouble even if you are right.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      duane:

      Yeah, see, you need to provide evidence. Your response: “no amount of evidence will affect you closed-minded atheists!” is, to me, the equivalent of “uh … I got nuthin’.”

      My posts take hours to research and write. I learn all kinds of interesting new stuff, and I want to pass it along. Did I make a mistake? Could be. It’s happened before. Since you can see the mistakes, show them to us.

    • Nox

      It is always amazing to me that people who think the bible is the word of god have never read it. If I had a book that I thought contained such cosmic wisdom as christians think the bible contains, I would read the f*cking thing. But any time any atheist points out some of the flaws in scripture some christian (who has never read it and just assumes any negative statement about their special book must be missing something) will show up to tell us the bible doesn’t actually say what it says. Before you can criticize the bible you have to spend ten extra pages educating people on the contents of their own holy book.

      Bonus points if the person who clearly has no knowledge of the contents of their own holy book or the history of their own church makes a big pious show of being condescending to atheists for not knowing about their specific imaginary version of those things.

      • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

        “Christianity” is not following Jesus; it is following “The Christ” (the anointed one). I believe there are anointed ones for all people in all ages. I also believe that Jesus was one of them.

        • Nox

          But you do understand that “christianity” as defined by the leadership of the christian church as well as the vast majority of the billions of people using that word to describe their beliefs (as well as the dictionary) (as well as the new testament) is a completely different concept from what you’re talking about here?

          There are many versions of “christianity”And they do disagree on many things. But in all of the mainstream sects, Jesus being the messiah is kind of carved in stone.

          If you want to just make up your own beliefs based on what seems right to you, I think that is a much better idea than just believing whatever some preacher tells you.

          But words still mean things. How can we ever hope to have a productive discussion about anything if we don’t agree that words mean things?

        • Kodie

          You can’t really defend your made-up religion better than anyone else can.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          As I admitted before, I believe all history is “made up” by those writing from their singular viewpoints. I’m fairly certain that a blind person with no coaching would describe a tree very differently than I would.

          I’m not sure what religion you believe I subscribe to, but my understanding of “religion” is that it codifies a system of beliefs into absolutes. For this reason, I don’t subscribe to any singular religion or spiritual path. I do believe that humans have a sense of something greater than the physical world that we have not been able to define.

          I don’t think we ever will be able to define everything in the ever-changing universe, nor will we be able to stop the changes. It seems senseless and arrogant to me to continue pretending that we know absolute answers to the great mysteries. The most believable scientists are the ones who admit that their pronouncements are based on what we now know.

          I can only base my ever-evolving path to peace on what I now know.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Y:

          It seems senseless and arrogant to me to continue pretending that we know absolute answers to the great mysteries.

          Scientists never claim they do, but of course many believers and theologians do.

          From my standpoint, there is no evidence that there is something “out there,” and plenty to suggest that humans make up stuff like this. My conclusion: all religions are invented.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          All animals, including human ones, seem to need a box with identifiable boundaries in order to feel safe. The fact that my box is larger than many, and that this threatens some, is not a failing on my part or their part. It simply is where each of us is in the moment.

          I hold nobody’s boundaries against them; I simply wish people would stop telling me that I am doomed if I expand my own boundaries. I also understand that parents with legal responsibility resent when those who have no responsibility for their children’s actions, attempt to expose their children to outside influences that the parents aren’t equipped to handle.

  • Jay

    Hi Bob,
    Haven’t read through too many of the comments on here (over 200 is a little bit much for me). I’m highly doubtful that anything I’ll say you’ll find particularly compelling, but here are some thoughts just the same.
    2 “An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison, and it counts for nothing when you consider the billions that are apparently going to hell.”

    Theologically speaking, Jesus was carrying the weight of the whole world’s sins. What pain he actually felt is only something that can be guessed. What you are saying may be true, that he only felt a brief amount of pain for a few days. It’s also possible that he felt the weight of the pain of all those who had sinned. If God is capable of loving more than any human being can, is it that huge of a theological jump to say that God can feel more pain than any human can?

    5. Remember that he hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so who could blame him when he made a moral mistake?
    And how can we inherit original sin from Adam? Why blame us for something we didn’t do? That’s not justice, and the Bible agrees:
    Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

    The argument you’ve just presented is geared towards those who take a literal interpretation of the book Genesis and the story of creation. I’m Roman Catholic. While we do believe that there was an Adam & Eve and that there was a form of rejection/rebellion against God, we don’t take things so literally:
    390 “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.264 Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. (From Catechism of the Catholic Church)
    As to your comment on how we could inherit original sin, go to the CCC and search “original sin” if you’re interested. This link should take you to the CCC. If not, google “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and then go to the online edition from the USCCB. http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm
    7. Go to the CCC 1425-1427. Deals with Baptism, but I think it at least partially answers your question.
    8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology-
    The example you’ve provided is a mythological story from a culture that believed “This is what God is supposed to be like.” One of the many things that was remarkable with Jesus was how many preconceived notions of who God was supposed to be and what the “savior” of the Jews was supposed to be like were taken away. The Jews expected a mighty warrior who would overthrow their oppressors and grant them physical freedom. Jesus brought freedom of a spiritual kind—something very different than what the Jews were expecting. You could argue that Samaritans were somewhat in line with this idea (their concept of the Messiah was an individual who would reveal the secrets of God to them), but they were still way outside mainstream Judaism. Many other things within the Gospel accounts went against mainstream culture at the time such as women being the first witnesses to the resurrection (the testimony of a woman was not considered reliable at that time, so a woman being the first witness was a rather ridiculous thought). Even if there was a considerable amount of time between when the Gospels were first written down and when Jesus walked the earth, why would the gospel writers put in information that went so much against cultural norms and expectations of the time? Wouldn’t going along with cultural norms have made their arguments more compelling to mainstream society?

    Anyway, those were just a few things that I thought when reading your post. If you do reply, I don’t know if I’m going to get back. Depends on how much I would have to say and whether or not I thought replying would add anything constructive.

    Take care :)

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Jay:

      Theologically speaking, Jesus was carrying the weight of the whole world’s sins.

      Do the gospels say this? Or is this a later tradition?

      If God is capable of loving more than any human being can, is it that huge of a theological jump to say that God can feel more pain than any human can?

      What’s the huge jump is to imagine that God, the omnibenevolent one, can’t just forgive. He has to have a human sacrifice? What kind of barbarian is this guy?

      (Actually, I already know: he’s an Old Testament barbarian.)

      About the women: I’ll be posting about that shortly before Easter.

      As for the gospels being surprising: tell me how any new religion evolves and you’ll have resolved your question.

      • Bob Jase

        “Jesus was carrying the weight of the whole world’s sins. ”

        which only brings up the old question – can god create a weight of sins so heavy even he can’t lift it?

    • Nox

      “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event.”

      For most of its history the catholic church taught an entirely literal reading of Genesis. It was only after the six day creation was so conclusively discredited as to be a noticable embarassment to the church that they decided parts of it were metaphorical. Even then they only ditched the parts that weren’t necessary to their dogma of humans being born guilty. Now the official position of the church is that we inherited sin from an allegory.

      “The Jews expected a mighty warrior who would overthrow their oppressors and grant them physical freedom.”

      The jews expected the messiah to be a military leader because that is exactly what the jewish prophets (in what is now called the old testament) said he would be. Jesus failing to establish the throne of David or conquer Israel’s enemies disqualifies Jesus from being the messiah.

  • http://realclearpolitics.com In Awe of Genius Bob

    Bob’s ignorance of scripture is trumped only by his arrogant mocking of what Jesus did for him. My guess is that Bob’s impression will change when he stands before Almighty God. The smirk will disappear pretty quickly.

    • Kodie

      That’s witty. How many Christians write in this thread how ignorant Bob is of scripture but do not go ahead and then explain what he has gotten wrong? Your guess is your guess. But it is also a threat. What a nice person you are and believing in such a cruel god.

  • http://realclearpolitics.com Father Forgive Them

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    • Bob Jase

      In the end it always comes down to believers threats that their all-loving god will torture you forever if you don’t blindly, mindlessly eternally grovel before his all-lovingness.

    • MNb

      “those who are perishing”
      I rather perish than spend eternal afterlife in yawn inducing company like yours.

    • Greg G

      Those writings aren’t all that big on intelligence, are they? They last theing the writers want is for someone to stop and think about the implications.

  • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

    Jesus came from the line of Abraham and David, which are biblically clear on their preparing their lineage to receive The Christ (the anointed one). Whether we believe he is the only anointed one in all the universe and all of history is quite a different story, but for many Jews and Gentiles, he showed a way that was in keeping with the Jewish scriptural journey and lineage.

    • Bob Jase

      In case you hadn’t heard there are two conflicting geneologies for Jesus and they can’t both be right. Which means that making up fake geneologies was pretty common so why believe either since neither is verifiable?

      • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

        Because I believe the example of Jesus, his family, and his celebration of life and friendships are worth following in my family life and friendships.

        And I believe that good example doesn’t come out of a vacuum; it comes from careful cultivation of our values and our children. I believe that I have an imperative as a human being to find examples of committed responsible compassion on which to base my own actions. Jesus and his friends and family provide some of these examples for me.

        • Bob Jase

          That’s nice but it has nothing to do with the claim you made about Jesus being descended from David.

          Changing the subject doesn’t mean you win.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          You asked why I believe what I do; I told you. It is not about winning and losing for me; it is only about being heard and respected. I’m sorry that you seem to want to fight.

          There are several ways that scripture links Jesus to the line of David, but I don’t feel that you want a respectful discussion, so I will sign off with you at this point. To paraphrase what my deceased daddy would say, “I’m not going away mad; I’m just going away.”

        • Bob Jase

          Actually I didn’t ask why you believe what you do, I asked only about the supposed Davidic bloodline.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          Whether Joseph was Jesus father by blood or by adoption, he was Jesus earthly father. Joseph was descended from David.

        • Bob Jase

          First, there is no reason to believe either of the contradictory geneologies given in the bible so there is no reason to believe that Joseph was descended from David.

          Second, there is no reason to believe that such a person as Joseph, Mary or Jesus ever existed – there is zero contemporary evidence.

          Third, being adopted does not make one a blood relative plain and simple.

        • http://OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com Y

          All history is slanted by the beliefs of those who write it; I accept that. I don’t care about the particulars of the Jesus story as much as I care about the history of codes of conduct by which segments of society agree to live.

          I believe that religion has been a factor in getting humans to tame their animal natures so that the human tribes can continue including more and more “packs.” My interest is in finding consensus in what constitutes sacred acts, not consensus on what “god” looks like. I see signs of The Sacred Spirit every day in many manifestations.

          That being said, I was brought up reading and hearing many stories about responsible and compassionate behavior of animals, including humans. All of these stories impacted who I am and what I think today, for good and for destructive purposes. I see the story of Jesus coming from a family that had a pretty violent past seeing a way other than blood sacrifice to create bonds of peace. I subscribe to no creed, but do find much of value in looking for examples of how to live more fully human lives through responsible compassion and social justice.

  • Barbara

    The person that wrote this obviously has no concept of the great controversy; the fact that sin began in a happy, glorious universe that was ruled by love until one of the highest subjects, Lucifer, decided he would exalt himself above God; Isaiah:14:12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning ! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” So he spread rumors among the angels that God wasn’t really out for the good of all, but did all only to His own advantage. That, without any guidance from God the heavenly beings could determine what to do and it would be “all good”. However, God is life; John 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (& love1 John 4:8b ” . . . God is love.” ) Cutting oneself off from God is to separate from life and love. Death and evil are the result.

    1. The reason’s Christ’s death is significant are;

    A. He was God. John 1:1 ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    B. He was totally innocent (sinless) 2 Cor. 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

    C. He could’ve stopped them from torturing Him to death, in the cruelest way known to man at the time, but didn’t, in order to pay the penalty for their sins and save the very ones that were doing it to Him. Hebrews 12:12 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    D. His life AND death are significant because they fulfilled 125 Old Testament prophecies. Here are just 12 of them;

    Prophecy Old Testament Scripture New Testament Fulfillment
    1. Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1
    2. Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:18-23
    3. Of David’s lineage Jeremiah 23:5 Revelation 22:16
    4. Attempted murder by Herod Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-18
    5. Betrayal by a friend Psalms 41:9 John 13:18, 19, 26
    6. Sold for 30 silver coins Zechariah 11:12 Matthew 26:14-16
    7. Crucified Zechariah 12:10 John 19:16-18, 37
    8. Lots cast for His clothes Psalms 22:18 Matthew 27:35
    9. No bones broken Psalms 34:20 Exodus 12:46 John 19:31-36
    10. Buried in rich man’s tomb Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
    11. Year, day, hour of His death Daniel 9:26,27 Exodus 12:6 Matthew 27:45-50
    12. Raised the third day Hosea 6:2 Acts 10:38-40

    Dr. Peter Stoner, former chairman of the departments of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Pasadena College California, worked with 600 students for several years applying the “principle of probability” to the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming. They chose just eight from the many available and finally decided the chances of all eight being fulfilled in one man in a lifetime is one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. What would the odds be on the more than 125 prophecies of the Messiah? It couldn’t just happen!

    2. You know that people don’t burn for eternity. The purpose of the lake of fire is to permanently eradicate sin so that misery & suffering won’t continue forever. Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”

    3. What he says here makes no sense at all. However, we know that Christ died; John 19:31 “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken , and that they might be taken away . 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” And that he was resurrected; Acts 2:32 “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

    4 & 5. Adam had nothing but a fallen nature to give us. We all have the propensity to sin. All we have to do is believe He’s paid for our sin and that it’s sufficient and accept what He’s done for us. John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” 2 Peter 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Acceptance and belief in what He’s done for us is the only way we can be transformed into beings that will contribute to a joyous eternity.

    6. “He’s only acting out His nature”. Right on! Christ’s sacrifice of Himself is a demonstration and proof of His wonderful, loving nature, disproving what Satan has said about Him. It shows that He loves us and we can trust Him.

    7. Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Why? I don’t know, it just is. Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon . 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Psalm 85:10 “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

    8. So what? Christ’s life and atonement are remarkable because they are true, not because they’re the most fantastic story out there!

    9. Satan wasn’t fully defeated until he demonstrated where his reasoning lead, by killing God at the cross. God wasn’t fully vindicated before the universe until He demonstrated the lengths He will go to for the well-being of mankind and all creation.

    10. God created this world and mankind knowing what would happen. Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” He created us to have eternal life. He wants us as eternal companions for Himself. Collossians 1:16 For by him were all things created , that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” He made us more like himself than any other created being. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Because Adam chose to fall (for Eve), this earth became a proving ground for the great controversy between God and Satan. It’s awful, the cost of doing so. I puzzled for years why He couldn’t have done it in a less painful, seeming to me, better way. I finally just had to accept that it is what it is. The all-powerful God would do it in the best way possible so this had to be it. Actually, we have the opportunity to be a part of proving God’s righteousness in the great controversy, by allowing Him to live a sinless life through us, which is a real privilege. After sin is eradicated, we get to watch Him re-create the world and live in a perfectly happy place in communion with Him forever. He will make earth the center of the universe and His throne room will be here. We will be glorified for the part we play in making the universe a safe and happy place for eternity. Although we have to pass through a lot of suffering on this earth, He will more than make it up to us. 1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written , Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard , neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

    What do I think? I think the people that put forth these kinds of messages are like the serpent in the garden; mediums speaking the words of Satan. I pray they will repent, and accept the truth before it’s too late. And I know that this is God’s desire for them.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Barbara:

      Doesn’t seem very smart to quote Bible scripture to atheists.

      His life AND death are significant because they fulfilled 125 Old Testament prophecies.

      Tired arguments. I’ve responded to some of the major prophecy claims. Here’s Isaiah 53 to get you started.

      Dr. Peter Stoner

      Oh, dear God. Doctor Stoner is a stoner. His primitive argument demolished here.

      I think the people that put forth these kinds of messages are like the serpent in the garden

      They’re using their God-given brains to actually think about things instead of believing like a robot? Sounds laudable to me, not worthy of eternal fire.

    • Clay Ferguson

      Barbara, you were brainwashed as a child like all the rest. If somebody tried to teach you all this stuff as an adult you’d never believe any of it for precisely the same reason you don’t believe in vampires and ghosts.

      • Kristin

        there are so many people who find God when they are adults, all ages. Its not brainwashing. Some people are raised in strict homes that are taught the Bible from childhood and don’t believe in God. Other are raised in broken homes and find God in later life.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Adults that find god later in life, always do it out of some sort of massive disaster or feeling of dissatisfaction which causes them to try to find meaning, or cope with problems. The God Delusion works well for that small fraction of people, in the same way the placebo effect works to cure pain. However, this should offer no evidence that God is real, but merely shows that ‘self brainwashing’ is still possible, and best termed ‘self delusion’. People do have the psychological need to feel there is a higher power, but that is an artifact of human brain function, and not evidence of an actual caring god. But yes Kristin, you’ve found “the exception that proves the rule”.

  • Bob Jase

    “God created this world and mankind knowing what would happen.”

    Hence god is esposible for allevil because he knowingy created it.

    And do you really believe the Adam/Eve/talking snake nonsense? Because if you do you must believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy too.

    • Greg G

      Not only do they believe the story, they believe it was actually Satan but see no problem with God punishing serpents for it. That would be like putting Mitt Romney in prison because someone robbed a bank wearing a Mitt Romney mask.

      • Greg G

        Prophecy Old Testament Scripture New Testament Fulfillment
        13. Rode one donkey Zechariah 9:9 Mark 11:1-7, Luke 19:29-35
        14. Rode two donkeys Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 21:1-7

        The New Testament writers had no knowledge of a historical Jesus so they took out-of-context Old Testament verses as what Jesus would have done if he had actually existed. Mark used Homer’s Odyssey for stories about Jesus, too. Matthew used the apocryphal Testimonies of the Twelve Patriarchs. Luke used Josephus extensively. John used Pythagoras myths.

        The Epistles authors should be the most reliable sources for information about a real Jesus since they talk about him a lot and were supposed to be written by his followers. None of the Epistle writers claim to have met Jesus. They never mention a ministry, teachings, or anecdotes. When they make arguments, they quote the Old Testament and use their own reasoning when a much stronger argument would have been to quote Jesus’ teaching. They never do that. They talk about the crucifixion and resurrection a lot but never give any details. There are indications that they thought Jesus had existed in the mythical past.

        The only clear prophecy in the Old Testament was that the seed of David would remain on the throne and that failed. The Hebrews believed that if they followed the Law, eventually the Messiah would come and they started cherry-picking verses from their scripture and pretended they supported that hope. After a few hundred years of waiting, some started picking out verses on suffering and began to believe the Saviour had sacrificed himself earlier and was about to return as the Messiah any day. You see that in the New Testament Epistles. The next generation came to believe the Messiah had come before the destruction of Jerusalem when there was nobody to dispute that.

        The Epistle writers were not on the same page, though, as they interpreted their cherry-picked verses differently. Paul wrote to the Galatians because someone had preached a different Jesus whose crucifixion was not so important but that acts of faith were more important than faith. The Epistle of James seems to be arguring against Galatians.

    • Kristin

      God gave us free will. Giving us the choice to sin. if we didn’t have free will than we would be a bunch of robots, but God didn’t want that for us. He wanted us to make our own decisions. Do you really believe the evolved from Apes/Evolution nonsense? Proof of him is all around us Nature, life, all of those things went mistakes. I promise

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Do I accept evolution? Of course. I’m not a biologist. Using what logic can a layman like me reject the consensus of a field of science?

        It’s not surprising that modern science explains nature far better than the blog of an Iron Age tribe 3000 years ago. I think I’ll stick with science.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        And as for the free will point, I don’t see God as much of a champion of free will. He avoids impinging on the free will of the rapist, ignoring that the free will of the victim is being violated? How does that make sense?

  • Clay Ferguson

    All the great things about Jesus (miracles mainly) were written 200 years after his death based on the myth that he survived an execution. About the “execution”, personally I think a storm came up, lightning struck, and scared everybody away, except for his followers, who took him down from the cross, claiming he had just died, and put him in a cave, guarded by loyal followers, to tend to his wounds. He survived. They hadn’t even broken his legs (as is done to most on the cross). So he was badly beaten, and had nail holes in his hands and feet, but it was survivable. Once he was seen up walking around the next day, he became a huge folk hero, and the myth began. He lived the rest of his life in hiding to keep from being executed again. Then 100s of years later as the story was written down the first time, in the Gosples, they were embellished to include all the miracles. You know, things that should have happened if he was immortal, but actually didn’t because he wasn’t. Jesus was a great teacher of morality, and I do believe he lived, and was ‘executed’, unsuccessfully. But the nonsense of the resurretion and miracles is just a lot of myth. If you study the accounts of the Crucifixion with these things in mind, you will see this version of the story fists PERFECTLY all the evidence that is known about his rather ‘unusual’ execution. Essentially Jesus was saved by that storm that came up. Even the text of the Gospels is consistent with him dieing RIGHT WHEN the thunder started. So once everybody ran for cover (maybe it was even an earthquake) that’s pretty much when they took him down and said he died. But also back then they actually believed lightning strikes WERE from God, and that alone may have scared the hell out of the populus who may have thought: “Gosh maybe this IS the son of God”, and caused them to flee. Also, remember Pontious Pilate had found Jesus innocent of all charges, and only the crowd decided he should be crucified. So, for the Roman Guards to take him down once the storm clowds and lightning rolled in that day, makes perfect sense. Then, after 200 years of his life story being told and retold over many generations, you end up with a folk hero that did OTHER miracles other than merely shrug off an execution. Beowulf eat your heart out. Jesus is a great story. But just that: “STORY”. An Epic one indeed.

    • Yoav

      That’s a seriously over convoluted rationalization. It’s not as if no one ever seen a storm before why would they panic this time and not during the dozens of other thunderstorm the average roman legionnaire must have marched through before. The Jewish Chabad cult can give you a modern example as to how a myth like the jesus resurrection can start even with the subject very clearly dead. The group declared that their rabbi was the messiah and that he would live forever, unfortunately for them he kicked the bucket shortly after but a substantial fraction of his followers keep insisting, even now two decades later, that he’s just hopped over for a few minutes to iron some issues with god and he’ll be back any minute now (sound familiar?). Do you find it that hard to imagine that 200 years from now, even with recording of his funeral available online, they would be telling stories about how he never died, so why can’t the same happen with the jesus story.

      Pontious Pilate had found Jesus innocent of all charges, and only the crowd decided he should be crucified.

      This bit of the story make no sense whatsoever, you didn’t get to be the governor of a province, even a small out of the way insignificant one like Judea, by being the kind of person that can’t make a decision without getting local approval so the idea that Pilate reversed his verdict because the jewish leadership objected is patently ridiculous. This bit was more likely made up by the early christians to explain to new converts how come the jews who supposedly were on the scene when jesus was doing all his cool magic tricks weren’t impressed enough to start worshiping him, since the logical explanation i.e the tricks weren’t really that impressive was not something the growing church wanted to promote they had to resort to the idea we hear from christians, regarding atheists, even today that they knew jesus was the real deal but rejected him because they’re evil and in league with that satan dude.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Yoav: Fascinating discussion of the Chabad cult. After a brief Wikipedia search, I didn’t see any mention of a messiah rabbi. Were you referring to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994)?

        • Yoav

          That’s the one. To this very day Chabad publications and billboards refer to him as the messiah king that will live forever and there is a very lucrative industry where you can send a text message to the rabbi and supposedly he would be the one answering your question (through his loyal servants, but who’s checking) for a modest fee.

        • Clay Ferguson

          And Yoav, your point about the Chabad cult merely shows how ‘set in stone’ people’s belief systems become when they are indoctrinated into something as a child and have made up their minds that come hell or high water nothing will sway their beliefs. I call it brainwashing.

        • Yoav

          Clay, actually Chabad is an example as to how a myth can start in a very short time. While supernatural claim about his mystical powers were around for years the rabbi is the messiah faction only started in the early 90′s shortly before his death and at the time was a minor part of the group, once the rabbi died it was the common wisdom that it would die off but it actually grown strong and is now the major power running the group, possibly due to the lack of a charismatic enough hair to take over the leadership. It’s an example how a myth about the leader not really dying can grow even when there are undeniable evidence that he’s dead and in a period where records are common and easily accessible to even the lowest ranks of society.

      • Clay Ferguson

        Yoav, even modern sodiers are afraid of lightning and have the sense to get in out of a rain storm. And back in those days they DID belive earthquakes and thunder WERE sent from God, so if they were killing a man claiming to be the SON of God, your opinion is they would be unaffected? I think you just don’t WANT my version to be true, because it is contrary to your already established beliefs, and proves you most likely ARE brainwashed into some form of a belief system.

        Yes Pilate and other leaders of the time VERY OFTEN let the crows vote thumbs up or thumbs down on the fate of an individual on trial. If you disagree with that to then you are an illiterate, and you need to just look up the term Gladiator or something.

        • Slow Learner

          Clay, they may have believed that storms were signs of the gods’ displeasure – but Roman soldiers are unlikely to have been afraid of the Jewish god, whatever was claimed.

          As to “letting the crowds vote” – that may have been customary at gladiatorial games. Like most colonial governors, Pilate was hardly likely to run a province as though it were a sporting contest. If you get your historical information from Hollywood, this probably explains why you come up with wacky theories to stand in for the most likely very simple truth:
          If Jesus ever existed, he was executed, he was buried, the end; his followers then later experienced dreams and visions of him and took this as a sign that all hope was not lost and continued preaching the “good news”.

        • Clay Ferguson

          Slow Learner, I think it’s safe to say they were afraid of WHOEVER IT WAS up in the sky shooting lightning down at them. You act as if they were rational thinkers. Dude they were just barbaric soldiers of war, enslaving those they conqured, and raping their wives, who had just WATCHED Pilate find the man innocent. And you think you can sit here 2000 yrs later and speculate on if Pilate would take a vote or not? I’m weaving a story that FITS the evidence. Your are weaving whatever fiction you think you know. Very ignorant of you indeed. It fits the evidence that jesus WAS ‘exeuted’ and merely survived, with the help of friends and a storm. The one lightning bolt that changed the course of human history for millinea to follow. Chaos theory is great isn’t it!? BTW, if you think it impossible that he “came back to life, without supernatural forces” just look up the term “Dead Ringer”….and see if you can similarly explain how all those storeies are totally made up and nobody was ever buried and then came back to life. There’s a fine line between life and death and sometimes people’s bodys and brains just “kick back in” and turn on after appearing to be dead.

        • Slow Learner

          I’m not speculating. Show me evidence that a governor or procurator ever took a vote on whether to execute someone, then we can discuss the possibility.
          Also, are you sure your name isn’t Sparklingmoon? Your language is almost as disjointed, and you share the same insistence to the point of anger on the idea of Jesus living through Crucifixion.

        • Clay Ferguson

          Slow Learner, I don’t claim to know precisely what Pilate did that day. I was merely showing that there IS a COHERENT version of the story that does fit most of the myth, and doesn’t require any supernatural forces. Apparently your own religion requires you to believe a certain thing about Pilate, and so you have a firm opinion, but to me whatever he did is about as important as what color of shirt he had on at the time. And NO I don’t have any evidence if it was a green one or a blue one.

        • Slow Learner

          Clay, I am saying that your “COHERENT version of the story” might fit the Jesus myth, but it doesn’t fit what is known about the Roman Empire, or indeed the way other empires in history have operated.
          You don’t allow the locals to control the death penalty by a vote when you’re trying to run an empire.
          You have to show that something has happened once before you can claim it without further justification.
          If you claimed something completely plausible, like that Pilate had been drinking watered wine that day, so be it. But you claim something that doesn’t make sense historically, (but does make sense politically – don’t blame the Empire for killing the saviour when you’re seeking converts, blame the subject people!), because it fits your pre-conceived theory.
          I don’t really care whether Jesus existed and legends built up around him, or the legends came first and then coalesced around a central character; my “religion” has no dog in this fight. So if you have any evidence to support your theory, beyond your story-weaving, please bring it.

        • Clay Ferguson

          Sorry Slow Learner, my opinion is as generic as this: “All leaders throughout history have been swayed by the will of those they govern.” You can crap on that as much as you want. You’re just making yourself look foolish. Or else you’re a troll just seeing how many supid things you can get me to reply to… in which case YOU WIN! lol.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Clay:

      I think that your story is more plausible than the supernatural explanation, but I also think that a simpler story still is to imagine that it’s just a legend.

      • Clay Ferguson

        Bob, most legends are based on some truth. Like the “game of telephone” however stories got mutated a lot, I agree, because the common man back then was not able to write. It was all word of mouth. But certain parts of a story will usually remain. Key parts. Like the fact that the bold of lightning happened, RIGHT WHEN jesus died (timeline established), the fact that they DID NOT break Jesus’s legs, because he was “unexpectedly already dead” (yeah right — soldiers just didn’t watn to kill him more likely). It’s just clear that if there IS truth to the myth of Jesus, then my version of the story fits it perfectly.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Clay: I agree with your last sentence. Though the lightning/earthquake/whatever might’ve happened, and a dude named Jesus might’ve been undergoing crucifixion at the time, I don’t see that as especially likely, not because it’s implausible (it’s not; neither is your analysis), but simply because the accretions onto a legend aren’t very trustworthy.

        • Clay Ferguson

          Sometimes a chance event like a well-timed (by luck) lightning strike or whatever can change the course of human events. Chaos theory. But yeah legen accretes randomly and chaotically itself. Nonetheless history is worth analyzing, even though it all may have never happened.

  • Barry Howell

    BOB??? Your biggest mistake is NOT believing that anything can possibly exist beyond a person’s physical life, because YOU can’t explain or understand how anything COULD exist beyond their physical death.

    You don’t believe in anything that’s real and true, unless you can explain it in PHYSICAL terms with your own stupid physical intellect.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ BobSeidensticker

      Barry:

      Your biggest mistake is NOT believing that anything can possibly exist beyond a person’s physical life, because YOU can’t explain or understand how anything COULD exist beyond their physical death.

      The burden of proof is on the person making the remarkable claim. I start with the assumption that no one has ever been resurrected from the dead by supernatural means, and then I evaluate with an open mind claims to the contrary. Where’s the problem?

      • Clay Ferguson

        Yeah Bob, it’s infinitely more likely that if there WAS someone named Jesus, that the storm scared everybody off before he died on the cross and so his friends who stayed behind just took him down, hid him away, nursed him back to health, and then claimed he had “risen”. People live their whole lives claiming 2000 years LATER they KNOW he died? It’s pure brainwashing. Plain and simple.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ BobSeidensticker

          Clay:

          Good thinking. To imagine that there really is a supernatural creator of the universe (despite the quite satisfactory explanations that science has given us for why things are the way they are) is quite a bit bigger claim than to imagine that the Bible is yet another manmade religion.

      • Striving

        #1: Lazarus

        #2: As to burden of “proof”, you have access to all the proof you could ever need. You can see the facts of the case, you just don’t like the law so you expect that someone else must battle with you endlessly, to convince you of something you do not WANT to understand or believe, or cave to your arguments and validate your view. God could stand in front of your face and tell you what is what and, after you first shock and awe, you would STILL opt to refuse Him the second He wasn’t right in your face. (has happened to others)

        No one has to “prove” a thing to you. It’s your eternity, spend it how you want to baby! You’ve been told that you were created and that your Creator is God and there is a GOD, One True God, who has a set of rule and consequences. You’ve been told Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God who died for your sins. You’ve been told that the Bible is the Living Word of God. I assume you have access to the Bible. The rest is on you.
        You can mock Christians and deny Christ. You can challenge the existence or fairness of God with your last breath and every breath before that. It is all on you. You can do whatever you want; the end result will be the same whether you agree to it, refuse to believe it, deny it, mock it; doesn’t matter. God is Father, King, Creator, God is GOD and you are HIS creation, child, subject. You will have no choice in the end, you will come under His hand. EVERY knee will bow and EVERY voice confess. Enjoy.

        • Striving

          #1 part B: Widow of Zarephath’s son,
          Shunamite’s son,
          Man tossed into Elisha’s tomb,
          Widow of Nain’s son,
          Jairus’ daughter,
          Tabitha,
          Eutychus,
          &

          JESUS

          Not believing is not evidence that something doesn’t happen or isn’t true. Your “evidence” and entire belief system is simply not believing someone else’s beliefs and trying to back it up with faulty “logic” and other people’s old hypotheses and theories. None of your arguments are any stronger than those of the people you contradict.

        • Yoav

          Gandalf

          Harry Potter

          Buffy (twice)

          The Doctor (sort off)

          Dionysus

          Osiris

          And many more….

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Dang! I was about to jump on the Christian bandwagon but I see now that fiction has a lot more choices than just Christianity.
          :-(

        • rerics

          How about examples of resurrections that have been documented outside the bible? That you actually believe in? Didn’t think so.

          Honestly, If a Christian was being prosecuted in a court of law with evidence as weak as the “evidence” they spout from the bible to support their silly notions, how the worm would then turn.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          1. Yes, there are stories of Jesus raising the dead. Why imagine that that’s history?
          2. Do you assume stories are true until they’re proven wrong? Are you skeptical of claims from other religions, or do you accept them as easily as you’d have me accept those of Christianity?
          So God appears to me and what happens? I’m going to deny that he exists? I’m going to be mean to him? What?

        • natsera

          And Alice really, truly DID walk through the looking glass. What, you dispute me? It’s written down in the book, and therefore MUST be true!

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Striving, thanks for reviving this thread. I love this. Can you please explain to me why science can be taught to adults but religion can only be taught to children please? If that’s not proof of brainwashing then I don’t know what is. You would have to argue that people get dumber as they get older wouldn’t you? It’s hard to fight logic, with hopes, dreams, and faith and no matter how many blue pills you scarf down, those of us who choose the red pill know MORE about REALITY than you. If someone asked you why you chose Christianity over any other religion you would reply to them by quoting the Bible, which again proves you don’t even understand the question, or can reason about it, much less understand your choice. I bet you choose your religion on the same day you chose your parents didn’t you. If you’re capable of believing things without evidence then doesn’t that mean you’ll believe pretty much anything that makes you feel good? anything that provides comfort about your mortality? Anything that gives you a sense of moral superiority? blue pills man. That’s all it is:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_pill_and_blue_pill

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve written more about that child/adult distinction here. Agreed–that Christians admit themselves that Christianity must be taught to children shows that they understand the weakness in their worldview themselves.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Nice article Bob. I commented on it and shared it to my Facebook. BTW, didn’t realize until then that you were the author of some of these blogs. they need to put your Avatar at the top of the article. I’m gonna subscribe to all your posts, if i can see a way to do that. I’m now a fan. :)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Thanks for the feedback!

  • Steven John

    The sacrifice of Jesus was perhaps extremely successful. Human sacrifice replaced animal sacrifice. Jesus paved the way… the torment just gets longer, more complex and greater with each age. Like what you said about cancer. You did a fine job of dispelling the small talk and casual christian conversation. God is like an addict that continues to need more in every way. Like a psychopath trying desperately to feel something through the manipulation of others. It’s hard to understand or comprehend but that’s my best take on what he’s up to. I still love him. I think one day we’ll get it. And perhaps it will be by abandoning quaint ideas that don’t add up like the ones you outlined.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Steven: You are a Christian who loves God, but you compare God to a psychopath and an addict? That’s a curious theology!

      • Steven John

        That’s how the bible feels about him much of the time also. Ecclesiastes never left me since I was a child or the Psalms.

    • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

      Steven, isn’t it more likely that Jesus survived the crucifixion than rose from the dead ? Back then even a lightning strike was considered a message from God himself, so a man “surviving” an execution would automatically be considered God, and then all the miracles stories would be written later “to correct the record”. bottom line, all religions are “merely guessing” about what ultimate truth is, and all have an equal amount of evidence which is equal to zero.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        At least as likely IMO is that the Jesus story is just a legend. 40 years as oral history in a credulous pre-scientific culture, and we’re surprised that the tale picked up supernatural elements?

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          I agree, it’s just as likely that he never even existed. The best resource on this i’ve seen are the youtube videos about Jesus, which explain how his entire life and events shadow other historic records so closely that you have to conclude he WAS a myth. Not that I believe all videos, but the ones from the History channel, are more credible. Unfortunately if you tell a faithful person Jesus maybe never even existed at all they immediately cover their eyes with their hands and ignore the rest of what you have to say. You have to give them a little knowledge at a time or else it overloads their brainwashed minds.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t find the “Jesus never existed” argument helpful. For guys with degrees like Bob Price and Richard Carrier, they can go there. I simply don’t understand their arguments well enough, and it wouldn’t help the big picture much even if I did.

    • revdrdark

      Enjoy your Kool-Aid!

  • revdrdark

    Christianity is the biggest load of BS that mankind has ever been saddled with. No thanks, for my part, I don’t want that crap in my life.

    • Kristin

      How was earth created? Where are you going when you die? Creation itself is evidence of God.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Doesn’t science nicely explain how the earth came to be? Supernatural explanations are unnecessary.

      • revdrdark

        It’s hard to use reason with prople who have been programmed, but there is no “proof” of Creationism. Science relies on proof, religion (pick any one) abhors facts. there is no god; there never was; it’s just a legend.

  • http://vedatyami.blogspot.com/ haga

    death by crucifixion was only an ancient Roman punishment for the riots..

    Christianity made it sacred..

    • Kristin

      No, the reason “Christianity” made it sacred is because Jesus Christ died that terrible death even though he didn’t deserve any punishment because he lived a perfect and blameless life so that we could go to heaven if we accept his FREE gift.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        I don’t think much of the death of Jesus. Was it any worse than the death I’m going to die? It certainly isn’t worse than the death suffered by millions of people.
        And that “gift” isn’t available to me. I’m obliged to believe something that I just can’t believe. From the Christian standpoint, I guess it sucks to be me.

      • Mike Lee

        Nothing is “FREE” when it’s given under duress. I have the threat of hell for not accepting it, so it’s hardly “FREE”. And keeping rules sacred that are purely subject to local laws and customs only shows god either has no standards, or one helluva jokester real estate agent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The “gift” of the sacrifice of Jesus is no gift if I can’t take it. How can I believe in the unbelievable?

  • M.R.

    I’ll be praying for you sir.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      That’s a thoughtful gesture, I guess. Instead, let me suggest that you critique your religious views to see if they’re reasonable.

      • Mike Lee

        Better to be prayed for than preyed on, I guess . . . which makes the confessional booth a bit of a multi-tasking device.

  • Levi

    Atheist and religious people only know as much as they are not stiff in their minds. Both sides seek their own goals and intentions, that usually leads them in a continuous circle to nowhere. Even though I acquired the right answers, I don’t see any point in wasting my time here. Bye bye.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You’ve got all the answers and you’re not sharing? C’mon! Not fair!

    • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

      Actually Scientists will change their views to fit what the current evidence shows. Like the discovery of evolution, or that mental illness is in the mind, and not caused by demons. Science has no attachment to “the old ways”, but religion is based on the “old texts” being totally unquestionable truth. Which one is brainwashing? Even a scientific idea that is wrong is valid, because it’s based on fact and reason rather than hopes and dreams.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        The religious conclusion is worse than a guess because with a guess, you’re open to evidence showing you that you made the wrong choice.

    • Mike Lee

      More post-modern BS. They’d rather bang rocks together with Hanson, trying to state “NOBODY KNOWS, SO THERE Xb ttpppbbbbbbt!!”, because science hasn’t provided anything. Beyond the aqueducts. And vaccines. And . . .

  • LEA

    Dear Bob, I do not believe that you have a proper understanding of Jesus
    Christ as I can perceive from your essay regarding the cruxifiction of Jesus
    Christ. This may well be the reason for your continued attempts at debunking
    everything about Him. My advise to you is to do some more research so that you
    can bring an accurate argument and not one just thumb sucked and while you go
    about it also include the phenomenon of satanism. Specifically study the ideas
    around the values of “blood sacrifice”. I would like to hear what you
    come up with.

    1. The reason why Jesus’s death is so significant and incomparable to any other
    death is because he is the only human being who has been able to live a sinless
    life. He could only do so because he is God, even so he suffered as a human on
    the cross for no other reason than to shed his blood as the innocent Lamb of
    God as a sacrifice. This supreme blood sacrifice, voluntarily given, so that
    all other types of evil blood sacrifices including murder could be undone,
    forgiven, through the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit. And surely, if
    you want to really know if Jesus is God, then you have to just ask him to
    reveal that to you, which he will do when you ask in sincerity. I understand
    him to be the manifestation of YHWH as symbolised in the Holy Bible, the right
    arm of God working salvation.

    2. Jesus will not allow a single human being to go to hell without giving that
    person every possible chance to recognise who He is while setting them free
    from darkness. We do have free will, the main reason why we are in the mess we
    are in. According to scripture, there will come a day when the line is drawn
    and there will be a separating of the sheep from the goats. This world is not
    going to continue forever in the depravity that it is in. It will all end.
    Which side will you be on? There is no middle ground. The agony he underwent is
    not what it is about at all. Rather it was ordained that he would die by this
    method long before it actually happened so that the curse of such death be
    broken. Hell is not there for humans but for demons. Humans who end up there
    are the ones who deny Jesus as their saviour not because Jesus requires such
    recognition but only because by the human excercising their free will and
    receiving Christ as their saviour can they be set free from the demonic bondage
    of hell. Basically it is a choice that you have to make. Do I choose Jesus or
    Lucifer? Once again there is no middle ground.

    3. This idea of yours is just not real at all. The Resurrection could only have
    occurred if Jesus had in fact died because the very definition of this
    resurrection is exactly about that. Resurrection from the death of the body.
    This miracle occurred so that we could see our true destiny. The Bible speaks
    about the sacrificial death of Jesus centuries before it happended and it is
    always about the fact that he died so that we could receive complete forgivenes
    for our sins simply by believing. The new testament reiterates this fact over
    and over. So why are you making this false statement about the scriptures? Have
    you not read them?

    4. I personally believe that the original sin occurred when the serpent,
    Lucifer, who presented himself, shape shifter that he is and a cold blooded
    reptilian (alien), communed with Eve and Adam. The original sin is sex but not
    between humans rather between human and non-human (demonic aliens, fallen
    angels). this is the forbidden fruit. This unholy union has impaired us
    genetically and spritually so that we are now all hybrids and misfits carrying
    the evil gene which now gives us the propensity to sin, even against our will
    and desire, and there is evidence of this inclination toward sin even in small
    children. This is why sin is often equated with the flesh in the Bible. In our
    original untainted state we know only love and we are innocent of evil. This is
    why the Bible tells us that we are born sinners. This is so whether you agree,
    like it or not, you are just farting in the wind when you try to absolve
    yourself from taking responsibility for your own condition because one thing
    you cannot deny is that you are part of the human race living on this earth
    right now. That is your position. The highest form of maturity would be for you
    to accept Jesus Christ and be born again, receiving a new body, just like the
    one Jesus showed us when he rose from the dead. This by faith, believing being
    the only work for you to do. Research the element of belief and its
    implications for humanity.

    5. This sin was not a mere lapse. God clearly explained to Adam and Eve the
    consequences of communing with the fallen angels and that it would bring death
    and every dark thing that death symbolises into their world. God told Adam who
    the enemy of his soul was so I am sure that he understood exactly what was
    potting. Eve was first tempted only because she represented a method for
    Lucifer to introduce his offspring into humanity, her having a womb. Adam was
    standing right next to her and when right all with it, and even participated in
    the unholy ritual. He did not stop it. The curse of this sin has always been
    generational merely because it is in our genetics, our DNA, and has given rise
    to all other sins. Now through Jesus Christ, and only through him, who
    represents the second Adam, we are set free from this generational curse, just
    like that, so easy, so simple. All you have to do is believe and you will be
    washed clean and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

    6. The fact remains that there is not one human being who has the purity that
    Christ Jesus has. He was able to walk on earth for 33 years without sinning
    even once. The only reason he was able to do so was by virtue of the fact that
    he was half God, the other half being human and therefore prone to the same
    inclinations and suffering as humanity is. He was sorely tempted. Could you
    imagine having so much divine power and yet still submitting to stupid men all
    around him just that he could remain obedient to his Father in heaven so that
    he could save them from their ignorance. Can you imagine what it must be like to
    know beforehand how, when and where you will die? A gross ignorant man may give
    his life instinctively, on the spur of the moment, to save another from
    physical death, but never with such conscious awareness before the fact like
    Jesus did. Surely with such fore knowledge any normal human being would in fear
    run away rather than face their death. If God did not come to earth in the form
    of Jesus then we would have no way out of our miserable depravity for we are
    unable to save ourselves. Only the blood of the lamb, since it is pure,
    transmuted by the power of God himself in Christ, is acceptable and none other,
    for the forgiveness and cleansing of sins. His death is exceptional in that he
    was in fact equal with God, being an integral part of the triune manifestation
    of God, and he agreed to come to earth and undergo the trial and sacrifice
    because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that humanity
    may find true life in him. Can you imagine having to give up everything that
    Jesus was accustomed to in order to live a life on this planet among humans who
    cannot recognise him for who he really is?

    7. The nature of the sin in man is not a superficial thing that can be wiped
    out by a mere statement or intention of forgiveness by God since even those of
    us who receive Jesus Christ and are forgiven are unable to live completely
    sinless lives due to the propensity of our flesh to sin. There is the matter of
    choice, free will, and the continued onslaught of the demonic hatred for
    humanity upon us. There is more to forgiveness than just a mere blotting out of
    sin. There is the paradigm shift that is required and which is acquired only
    through the rebirth of baptism by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ wherein we
    receive a new mind, a new body, a new heart, everything new. Only those who
    walk in this spirit will enter the Kingdom of Heaven since their very DNA is
    being altered to once more represent the pure strand that it once was before we
    willingly allowed demons to enter us. And unfortunately those humans who
    stubbornly refuse to receive this incredible free gift of renewal from God
    through Jesus Christ are going to die the second death of the soul since this
    is what they have chosen. Very sad thing.

    8. Jesus literally offers us life in all its fullness, destroying suffering and
    death; this is incomparable to anything else that could possibly ever matter to
    us as human beings. Fire is useless when you do not have life. As I pointed out
    before, what is important about Jesus is not the level of intensity of pain
    that he endured but the fulfillment of prophecy, and the meaning of his birth,
    life, death, resurrection and ascension. Prometheus’s fire cannot grant eternal
    life, free from sin and death, it can only warm our bones and cook our food.
    Then again there is another kind of fire that the fallen angels taught us
    about, a strange fire that God forbids because it is alien, belonging to the
    elemental world, the same fire that sorcerers use in their occult practise; a
    fire that is destructive for human beings. There is not another being, whether
    mythical or human or alien, that has impacted humanity with the incredible
    magnitude of transformation as Jesus Christ has, and he would do more, if only
    we would let him.

    9. The story of the prodigal son is not so much about forgiveness but about
    unconditional love, acceptance of those who have transgressed in life. Our God
    is a God of Hosts, he leads armies of angels. Why? Because humanity is
    embroiled in a war, and it is mainly a spritual war that is taking place. The
    treasure is the soul of humanity. I attempted to explain before why a
    “blood sacrifice” is required. The significance of blood will become
    clear to you when you realise that the law of cause and effect rules this
    world. This is the same law that causes the Tibetan Buddhists to believe in the
    endless wheel of rebirths. Jesus breaks demolishes this law utterly when he
    provides his blood to cover all causes and effects setting human beings
    completely and totally free of all cause and effect. This law requires that
    those who kill with the sword must die by the sword and so on. The original sin
    and all that has issued out of it is not just a matter of forgiveness because
    that alone changes little. God has been forgiving human beings even before
    Jesus Christ was crucified. The difference in the blood of Christ is that it
    sets us free of the consequences of sin and regenerates our beings literally.

    10. Frankly the logic that you use is not only repetitive but also that of a
    person fumbling around in the darkness, in great pain and anger. God created
    Adam and Eve and everything else perfect and if we do have a weakness, then it
    stems only from the free will we have to make our own choices. This was a risk
    God was willing to take. Adam and Eve chose to know evil and good. God did not
    make this choice for them. To use your own logic, you cannot have it both ways,
    you cannot choose death and expect to receive life. You cannot practise evil
    and expect to gain good. You cannot creat chaos and demand peace and harmony. The
    evil inherent in humanity comes the mutation of our genetic and spiritual
    structure due to communion and union with demonic fallen entities. These fallen
    entities were once angels created by God to serve us but refused. Even as they
    envied us they despised us because we are apparently a really special awesome
    creation. We may be deceived in our natural innocence, the very souce of our
    formidable strength but ultimately we will triumph. Those humans who do not
    make it into heaven are those who deliberately chose and communed with death
    and refused life repeatedly. Once again, God did not make this choice for them.
    In our present condition, we have no alternative but to trust God, that he is
    the ultimate sovereign and is not going to let anyone perish when they can be
    saved from eternal destruction. It is only in the authority and spirit of Jesus
    Christ that we will enter into our perfection once again as mature divine human
    beings able to use our power and authority against Lucifer and company and
    therefy take back our glorious inheritance that we gave away for a plate of
    food. Take a look at the parable of Jesus speaking of the farmer who planted
    good seed and an enemy came and planted weeds amongst the good seed. The reason
    why the story is left to unfold as it has instead of God stepping in and ending
    it all when Adam and Even made the fatal error is because he will harvest the
    good seed, the part of humanity that is not aligned or so destoryed by evil.
    Contrary to what you think, the majority of so-called humans that end up in
    hell with the demons are in fact no longer human since their souls have been
    wholly taken over and possessed by the non-human demonic beings who feed off
    their life soure. There will be a second death, the death of the soul, and without
    the soul the entity can no longer be called human. When Jesus died on the cross
    he entered this realm of Lucifer and he set the captives free and this is what
    he does all the time. Since you and I cannot change the course of history as it
    is we may feel resentful, even that this situation has been foisted on us, but
    take note, you have not option but to make the choice between Jesus and
    Lucifer, there is no middle ground. While you sputter around in arrogance and
    ignorance railing at the unfairness of it all, you will only be trying to put
    off the inevitable moment when the bell tolls and there is no room for choice
    between life or death anymore.

    God will not hold it against you for feeling the way you do but what he cannot
    accept is your denial of Jesus Christ since this is the only way he could
    redeem us from the curse of death, an offering he freely made, despite the
    cost, so that you, could choose to re-enter into the fullness of his presence
    once again in the magnificent perfection of who you really are.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      My advise to you is to do some more research so that you
      can bring an accurate argument and not one just thumb sucked and while you go
      about it also include the phenomenon of satanism.

      And I advise you to stick with arguments. Did I make a mistake? Could be. Show it to me, and we’ll have something to talk about.

      he is the only human being who has been able to live a sinless life

      It’s a story, not history. Show me evidence otherwise.

      This supreme blood sacrifice, voluntarily given

      What does it say about God that he would demand such a thing?

      Jesus will not allow a single human being to go to hell without giving that
      person every possible chance to recognise

      I’m not sure he’s given me a chance. Sure doesn’t look like it.

      there will be a separating of the sheep from the goats.

      Yeah, and how does he separate the sheep from the goats? By good works, not by believing in the unbelievable.

      Which side will you be on? There is no middle ground.

      That’s what all religions say. Why is yours any different?

      I didn’t read beyond this point. Did I miss anything good?

      • busterggi

        You didn’t miss anything by stopping where you did, just a load of excessive words that boil down to “you’re going to Hell” as per the usual Christian .

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Dang! Still?!

        • Lea

          Hi Busterggi, now, now, is that a falsehood you’re propagating? My excessive words cover something else too, don’t they, yet not one of you has actually taken a level-headed look at it and responded. I am wondering if this blog is just a vacuum of ignorance without intelligence. The very nature of the thesis that Bob wrote covers the topic of hell so why judge me when I answer along the same theme, even you too, Bob, the moderator? That is more than dumb.
          As I read some of the posts here, I get the sense that atheists think themselves superior somehow to the rest of us believers in Jesus Christ. You are already programmed from the time you are birthed into this world until now. You religiously believe what scientists tell you about evolution without even questioning the theories they provide. This alone attributes blind faith on your part. Do you not know that the Darwin’s theory has been discarded?
          The scientists have moved on now to such theories that humans are hybrids. In their limitations and unbelief in the holy scripture they think that we are a hybrid between a pig and a chimpanzee but they are getting closer to the truth since we are hybrids. A hybrid between human and non-human demonic fallen angels. Lucifer appeared as a serpent to Eve meaning that this is one of the hybridisations that have occurred, reptle and human.
          From science we know that we carry reptilian DNA and the pineal gland which is a very curious sort of component found in our brain. Every other part of our brain comes in pairs except this pineal gland, which is singular. This gland uses tryptophan to create serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin can only be produced when it is completely dark while we sleep. Interesting is it not?
          Sin is believing something has value when it does not. Alot of our science falls into that category simply because we spend vast amounts of money on activities that have no value for humanity while there are millions suffering in poverty on the planet. Right now they are creating laboratory mutations of the grossest kind. Instead of worrying about how cruel God is because he sent himself to die on the cross in the form of Jesus perhaps you should consider the depravity we are participating in by supporting such science. I can bet you right now they are trying to mate a chimpanzee and a pig to see if they are going to get a human being. And there is a lot more going on behind closed doors that is just so perverted it is unspeakable.
          So Busterggi, since you are a human being, like the rest of us I hope, you too are believing in your own particular brand of religion in which you are the god of your own life. Come to think of it, it is rather strange to find an aetheist blog on a faith/religious website.
          I said before there is no middle ground. You either are on Lucifer’s side or you are on Jesus’s side. Right now, with the denial of Christ and the ridicule and mockery expounded on this thread, you are not above it all but merely fall into the category of anti-christ, so you should call this blog something more like: Luciferianism. Even though you do not know it you are serving him.
          But I do not condemn you. You are only a lost sheep and Jesus will surely find you.

        • busterggi

          Another excessively wordy way to say, “you’re going to Hell” but you did demonstrate your total ignorance of biology so that’s a sliver of a plus.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You religiously believe what scientists tell you about evolution without even q uestioni ng the theories they provide. This alone attributes blind faith on your part.

          What is it about Christian extremists and evolution? I don’t accept evolution on faith but on trust. It may not hold up over time, but science has such an incredible track record for teaching us about reality (contrast that with religion!) that it deserves our trust. No, not faith, but trust based on evidence.

          Do you not know that the Darwin’s theory has been discarded?

          I do not. Show me that the scientific consensus has rejected evolution.

          The scientists have moved on now to such theories that humans are hybrids.

          You need to read a different kind of “science.”

          I can bet you right now they are trying to mate a chimpanzee and a pig to see if they are going to get a human being.

          Read a little science.

          And there is a lot more going on behind closed doors that is just so perverted it is unspeakable.

          But those doors aren’t closed to you, are they? We’re fortunate that you’re here to tell us the Truth®.

          You either are on Lucifer’s side or you are on Jesus’s side.

          You do know that there are other religions, right?

        • Lea

          I’m surprised, Bob, that you are unaware of the these scientific developments. Billions of dollars have been spent on trying to find the “missing link” and it has not been found, instead they found the Cambrian Explosion which dispels Darwin’s theory of evolution over exceedingly long periods of time.
          There is no scientific consensus yet because most scientists are reacting to the chimp+pig=human, and a quick evolution idea in much the same way as creationists do to evolution theory. This is somewhat of a recent development from what I can understand.
          The reason that you may object to the word “faith” is because you think it only carries religious connotations? Faith and trust are much of the same. You say you trust evidence. To believe in the system of dating things back to millions, billions of years, requires faith especially when the evidence shows that these tests give widely differing, conflicting results depending on the source. It is in fact a wild hypothesis and nothing more. According to the Bible, faith is believing in those things that are unseen.
          You have placed your trust in scientists, believing in whatever they say as gospel even though they are only limited human beings themselves. This is a form of religion.
          Science has given us many positives but there is a side to the science that I consider positively evil since it provides nothing good for humanity, and is highly destructive and perverted. Inhumane.
          Apparently they have already produced a cross between a pig and chimp. I don’t think it is a far-fetched supposition to think that these scientists are also doing genetic hybridisation/mutations on humans in their labs, behind closed doors.
          You make these short and clever quips that I don’t know how to respond to because they seem a bit inane, so I’m going to ignore them and focus on what I would like to think of as an intelligent discussion, unless of course, you would prefer to end the conversation.
          I have studied as many religions as I can find, even minorities such as the Yezidi and Druze. I find that the Bible is exceptional and distinctive, unique when compared to all other religious text or beliefs (some do not have scripture). All these religions, and some of them stating they are Christian based, are similar to each other, following the same theme, just changing the names of the deities (all different manifestation of Lucifer and company). All of them incorporate truths that are found in the Bible to a lesser or greater extent. Doctrine, therefore religion, comes from demonic sources and enslaves mankind. There is only one truth or it would no longer be the truth. Scientifically I would expound like this: 1+1=2 and there is no other right answer.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m surprised that you wallow in Creationist propaganda and think that you understand the field.

          You (not surprisingly) ignored my challenge. To your “Do you not know that the Darwin’s theory has been discarded?” I demanded to see that the scientific consensus has rejected evolution. I follow the scientific consensus on matters of science. I’m funny that way.

          Apparently they have already produced a cross between a pig and chimp.

          I have no idea what you’re referring to. Show me.

          You make these short and clever quips that I do n’t know how to respond to because they seem a bit inane, so I’m going to ignore them

          Don’t. When you give me a very lo-o-o-ong essay that ignores what I wrote last time, I don’t have time for you. If you think my responses are inane, either wrestle with that (and see that perhaps you’re missing something) or don’t expect me to reply. When you write something and I take the time to respond to it, I have no interest in your ignoring that and writing thousands of words on yet another topic.

      • lea

        Hi Bob, if you did some research into the significance of the “blood sacrifice” and delve into the way that satanists (other religions too, such as buddhism) use this and why it may shed some light onto your understanding.

        The facts are that the Bible was written to tell us about Jesus and the prophecy has come true, as has and is other prophecy regarding our world. The only role for prophecy is to give people like you proof, evidence, in order to believe in Christ. It is not difficult to find the plan of God. The whole of the Old Testament builds up to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Your idea that Jesus never died because he came back to life is more than illogical. Death is death. A dead person coming back to life is another thing. Jesus did not leave behind a physical body. Instead this physical body was glorified into a new body, to show us that we too will one day receive such a body. Why do we need a new body? Because the present body has been tampered with and mutated to such an extent, by Lucifer and company, with our help of course, that it must be discarded, regenerated, completey transformed. Only the Holy Spirit of Christ can do this and bring us back into our perfection where we once were without death.

        It is like unto the story in the Bible about the rich man, Lazarus and the beggar at his gate who died and went to heaven. Lazarus died and ended up in hell. He saw Abraham and the beggar from across the chasm and asked Abraham to send the beggar over to him with a wet finger to dry his thirst. He was told the chasm could not be crossed. Lazarus then asked Abraham to send the beggar to tell his brothers about what happens after death. Abraham said that if his brothers did not believe Moses and the prophets then they would not believe even if a person rose from the dead. And this is the exact scenario we have here. There evidence is there. Seek and you shall find. All these stories comprise the history of humanity. But most of all, when you open your heart to the possibility that Jesus is for real and you ask with sincerity for such a revelation, the knowledge of Jesus will occur inside you.

        Jesus being God himself, born diminished into a human body, is the only person to have lived a sinless life on this earth. He even said this himself, that he is without sin, when people were accusing him of all sorts of things. The fore shadow of the animal sacrifices demanded purity with no blemishes. All this is history, his story as you know. If he were not without sin then the resurrection and ascension would not have occurred. The stories about Jesus, are for instance, very different to those of Mohammed, who had sex with minors, who gave himself a higher status than his followers, who killed, raped and plundered. I am trying not to write a book because I notice that you do not have the ability to concentrate on lengthy dissertations.

        Jesus separates the sheep from the goats according to those who know his voice. The parody of this, which Lucifer has created through a myriad of different religions, with the help of man, teaching about Pan (in different forms) who plays the flute etc calling mankind unto himself. Currently the new age channelers are telling about the Ascended Master from the starship called Ashtar, called Nada which means sound. We can also see the development of technology that can programme us through radio frequency sound into nothing more than mindless robots. Nothing is attained by works but as it is said: our work is to believe in Jesus Christ, that’s all. Good works can flow out of this grand relationship but they cannot save you.
        And yes, Bob, I do believe that through this blogging that you do you will come to find the reality of Jesus Christ before you die. Maybe you once believed in God for something and he was silent and then you turned your back on him, deciding he does not exist. I’ve gone through this experience and it sure is hard to keep faith with a God who is so unfathomable. Who even seems to dissappoint us. Yet, there is no other God besides YHWH, all else is a counterfeit. Lucifer has known the plan of God for humanity all along and has been exceedingly busy planting all sorts of different versions of the truth and he is very serious about taking down humanity. There is only one truth. This is because when you add a sum there is only one correct answer. Science. And no, not all religions say that there is no middle ground and that you must choose either life or death. Many religions embrace the evil as good.
        The truth is not found in the religious dogma of the various religions. It is found only in Jesus Christ. Doctrine comes from demonic origin enslaving mankind. Jesus fulfilled the law of karma, cause and effect, and has given us access to complete freedom.
        Is it not the highest form of mercy for one man to die for the sake of many that they may find life? Is it not the greatest love of God for man to incarnate on earth in the form of Jesus Christ and to take on the whole of sin of humanity upon himself?
        I hope you get this far because I want to tell you that the best part of your life is on its way.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hi Bob, if you did some research into the significance of the “blood sacrifice” and delve into the way that satanists (other religions too, such as buddhism) use this and why it may shed some light onto your understanding.

          I already understand, but thanks. Where I come from, if you’ve wronged someone, you can make it right by making amends and with an honest apology. But this God guy is so furious he needs to kill someone. For the imperfection in humans that he put there. The guy needs counseling.

          the prophecy has come true

          I’ve written and destroyed 3 prophecy claims in this blog (search and ye shall find). I’m unconvinced.

          Your idea that Jesus never died because he came back to life is more than illogical.

          (1) It’s a story, not history. (2) I know what dead is. A day and a half out of action isn’t “dead.”

          Death is death.

          Right, and that’s not what Jesus experienced in the story. So why get worked up about it? He had a bad weekend; he didn’t die.

          Jesus did not leave behind a physical body.

          You just believe everything you read, I’m guessing?

          the present body has bee n tamper ed with and mutated to such an extent, by Lucifer and company

          Don’t blame Lucifer when we come out of the box imperfect. Blame our Creator®.

          Lazarus died and ended up in hell.

          Infinite punishment for finite crime. Wow—that dude has no sense of justice.

          There evidence is there.

          It’s a story. It’s not evidence. Do you believe the Iliad was true? Gilgamesh? Beowulf? The story of Merlin?

          The stories about Jesus, are for instance, very different to those of Mohammed, who had sex with minors, who gave himself a higher status than his followers, who killed, raped and plundered.

          Jesus gave himself a higher status than his followers. As for genocide, support for slavery, and other barbarities, you can find that in Yahweh.

          I am trying not to write a book because I notice that you do not have the ability to concentrate on lengthy dissertations.

          Shorter comments would be helpful.

          Jesus separates the sheep from the goats according to those who know his voice.

          So replying to my point that the parable of the sheep and goats show that you get into heaven by works is difficult, so instead of admitting the problem you just ignore it?

          I do believe that t hrough t his blogging that you do you will come to find the reality of Jesus Christ before you die.

          You pretend that there’s Jesus and there’s atheism. Two choices. There are a lot of religions out there. Why elevate yours (I mean, besides the fact that you grew up in a Christian environment)?

          it sure is hard to keep faith with a God who is so unfathomable.

          I think you mean: It’s hard to keep faith with a God who acts just like a god who isn’t there.

          Yet, there is no other God besides YHWH

          An evidence-less faith statement. I have no use for such things, but thanks.

          Many religions embrace the evil as good.

          With all the disease and misery on the earth, how do you know the Creator was the good guy? Just as strong a case could be made that it was the bad guy and the “other” force is actually the good one.

        • Lea

          Who says we came out of the box imperfect? The Bible tells it differently. That perfect Adam and Eve, who represent humanity, communed with the serpent. They had been informed and warned but they were also free to choose. This led to the union between the non-human, foreign, demonic entities (fallen angels, nephilim) and the human. This resulted in our genetic mutation into a hybrid and as a result our bodies now carry the gene of evil and this can be verified through the scientific discovery of reptilian DNA in all humans. This is the root of corruption of our perfection and it is found to originate in the flesh body. We inherited from Lucifer and company the attraction for the bizarre, the perverted, the occult, the darkness etc. and we cannot save ourselves.

          Why hold it against God if he chooses to free mankind from this imperfect body and condition by sending himself to earth in the form of Jesus Christ to die on the cross, shedding his blood as a sacrifice, to cleanse us from all sin, giving us a chance to choose and enter into a life of perfection once again. I thought is was the cocky humans who killed him. To be sure, he knew that would happen, yet he wanted to do this for us. At least he didn’t send you or your son. According to the Bible, ultimately, sin requires blood to be cleansed away. Perhaps this has something to do with the power of the life force in blood. He vanquished sin and death through his own blood. Obviously the dynamic of the sin he was focused on required more than just an apology in order to bring about the salvation and transformation of humanity since it is inherent in our genes.

          Jesus did not give himself a higher status than his followers but served them. He did not partake in violence and then give himself 15% of all the booty his followers pillaged in crimes against humanity. Neither did he assign himself more wives while his followers could only have four. It’s time for humanity to grow up and stop blaming God for the things we do.

          * Yeah, and how does he separate the sheep from the goats? By good works, not by believing in the unbelievable.* You weren’t happy with my reply although I thought I covered the “good works” part as follows: Nothing is attained by works but as it is said: our work is to believe in Jesus Christ (God), that’s all. Good works can flow out of this grand relationship but they cannot save you. I now add: Without receiving the atonement of the blood of the lamb your good works are as filthy rags, meaning they cannot save you as you need to be born again (become a new person) in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven which is inside you.
          I am sure you must have noted my statement before that there are only two choices. Lucifer or Jesus. Aetheism falls into the category of anti-christ as does any other belief that refuses to acknowledge God in the form of Jesus Christ.
          Bob, you know nothing about me except from what you can gather on this blog. I never grew up in a Christian home. Although I received Christ at the age of thirteen I went on to reject him repeatedly for many of the same reasons you do. I embraced all religions and believed that God is to be found there just in a
          different manifestation according to the culture etc. I dislike the concept of hell even now but it exists whether I like it or not.
          Through the study of religions and reading the Bible and also being open and receptive to the Holy Spirit I eventually realised that there is a huge difference between Jesus and other gods, one that cannot be reconciled. I was never able to not believe there was a God because I had the evidence inside me already which I could not deny. I have hated him and his creation for a time but I have never been able to believe he does not exist. Even now it is not easy for me to tell someone there is no other way but Jesus. In fact I avoid making this statement unless I have to. I do not consider myself religious and only go to church on the odd occassion. Today I embrace things that the majority of Christians consider taboo such as aliens, reincarnation (not like it has been given by Buddhists and Hindus) and other concepts that I believe have been shown to me by the Holy Spirit. So I don’t fit into mainstream Christianity but I am indeed part of the body of Christ.
          At present humanity is incapable of understanding the concept of God even adequately but we can relate to Jesus. What I have found from experience is that if in the times when you think God is silent, not there, and you are able to keep faith with him that he does always show up. He also at times does this when you are not keeping faith. You can’t put him in a box or expect him to demonstrate himself in the manner according to your demands.
          Disease and misery came about through the original sin. The injection of foreign/alien matter into humanity and creation is the cause of all evil and disease. The Bible informs us about a time when good is called evil and vice versa. This is just to confuse and deceive us so that we turn against Jesus and sink humanity into further depravity and darkness.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Who
          says we came out of the box imperfect?

          Are you perfect? Are you able to live a sinless life?

          No? Then I guess you say that we came out of the box imperfect.

        • Lea

          Humanity was created by God as perfect and powerful. All these abilities we hear about such as telepathy, teleportation, the power of the mind to move objects (mountains), change the weather, healing, etc etc belong to us as natural inborn characteristics. Our vibrational frequency is love. The Bible is like a story about God becoming a parent. God informed and warned his children that there was an enemy of their life. His children paid no heed, disobeyed and chose to believe the enemy rather than him and made a choice which changed the destiny of mankind. It was a mistake like the kind of mistake that happens which cannot be changed once its happened, like a drunken car driver who kills another due to his drunkeness. You can say you are sorry as many times as you like, the family of the deceased may even say they forgive the drunkard, but it makes no difference to the changed situation due to the mistake. Adam did not apologise but blamed God, he told God that it was because of the woman that he had given him. The woman did not apologise but blamed the serpent. Even so the damage had been already been done and the consequences had to be faced. In the case of Adam and Eve, what ever it is they did, caused death, and its retinue, to enter creation. God then killed an animal (innocent having done no wrong), the first blood sacrifice for sin, and used the skin to clothe the humans. Just so, the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ covers the sin of all mankind. God did not demand the sacrifice but provided it. He provided the animal as a means to cover the nakedness of sin so that he and man could continue in a relationship, man was now sinful and God was holy and this difference caused a separation between them so that they could no longer communicate and ineteract as before. In the same way he provided himself as the ultimate blood sacrifice on the cross.
          If God is Designer of the Universe, the one behind Quantum Mechanics, do you think he could just change the rules without creating major disruption possibly even destroying creation completely? Just so, it is possible that he could not change the situation for Adam and Eve without destroying them in the process. For example, It is known that the alien implants that are found in some humans have ingrown to such an extent that they cannot be removed without killing the human.
          Furthermore, it is also likely, based on the attitude of Adam and Eve and their lack of remorse for their mistake, that they did not want God to interfere and change things for them. The humans, now fallen into error, failed to take responsibility for their condition or perhaps even to perceive that they were in error in the first place, maybe they even liked what they now were despite the shame and nakedness they experienced.
          So God clothed them and sent them out of the Garden of Eden to make sure that they could not access the Tree of Life because they, being very near to their original form, still possessed these “supernatural” powers and now this knowledge of evil as well – and they were sure going to abuse these abilities. Humans devolved as their lifespan decreased to under 100 years. Early humans lived very much longer. We lost the ability to use the fullness of our brain losing our natural powers and abilities since we now only use 10% of our brain. Personally I believe this is due to genetic interference by the serpent-god, Lucifer, who may well turn out to be one of those non-human aliens out there.
          You can say this is just a story but so are the ideas/theories put forward by scientists regarding the origin and evolution of mankind. They have proven nothing concrete to date despite the immense amount of time, energy and resources that has been ploughed into their endeavours, and their dating of the age of the earth is mere conjecture, a made up story. This desire to prove the Bible wrong and to prove that there is no Creator God, is only leading to deeper depths of perversion and darkness for humanity.
          Since I am unable to live a sinless life that I am wise enough to get with the programme of God and accept his gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ.

        • Kodie

          You can say this is just a story but so are the ideas/theories put
          forward by scientists regarding the origin and evolution of mankind.
          They have proven nothing concrete to date despite the immense amount of
          time, energy and resources that has been ploughed into their endeavours,
          and their dating of the age of the earth is mere conjecture, a made up
          story.

          You obviously know nothing about science except what you are told. I think it’s funny that you think science is “also” just a story, like, you admit what you believe is just a story, while you are talking like Cinderella is real, mice and birds can become people and pumpkins can become stagecoaches, and a prince can fall in love with someone in one night without her telling him her name, and he can find her because nobody in town wears the exact same shoe size, and they will be married even though he doesn’t know who she is, what she’s really like, and where she lives or who her family is. But it all works out so perfectly, so that is true too.

          Let’s start an archaeological dig to look for the glass slipper.

          By contrast, science is observed. It’s not based on personal feelings. Religion is based on assumptions and personal feelings and gullibility, especially upon suspicion of science and how scientists study their subjects. You want to bring science down to the level of your beliefs rather than bring your beliefs on the level of science – that’s a fine bit of propaganda. It’s because there is a barrier between religion and reality, you can’t quite make it. By misapprehending science you can pull it down to the fairy story level and spit on it, but that really just means you have no interest in leaving behind your delusions. It also means you agree your story sounds like bullshit to the outsider, while you go to great effort to try to make it sound academic, it sounds like a vivid hallucination and doesn’t resemble reality at all.

        • Lea

          Hi Kodie, didn’t see you post earlier. Thanks for the input and the compliment saying that my essays are academic sounding.
          Show me where I have misapprehended your doctrine. Science is not always observed. The evolution of mankind has not been observed. One of the biggest delusions foisted on humanity started with one of your great gods, Darwin. Scientists and their followers act just like religious bigots towards things they cannot find a material theory for. Aethiests are no more enlightened than the rest of religious humanity.
          I don’t think I made such admission – that my story sounds like bullshit. It’s not my story too. I was responding to a repeated statement that Bob makes whenever I give an answer to his above essay and so on. If I did come across like that then I want to make it clear that I absolutely and utterly and totally believe in Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible. Jesus is not a religion, he is God, and he is not in competition with science.

        • Kodie

          Thanks for the input and the compliment saying that my essays are academic sounding.

          That’s not what I said. I said you go to a lot of effort to try to make them sound academic, but they are basically just rambling hallucinations.

          Every time you compare science to your bullshit fairy story, you do try to bring science down to the incompetence of religious accounts and beliefs. It is as if you understand how made up and invented your religion is and you just want to say that science is random and made up too. You just said it again, then you say you don’t compare them.

          Scientists and their followers act just like religious bigots towards
          things they cannot find a material theory for. Aethiests are no more
          enlightened than the rest of religious humanity.

          Because there is nothing there. You are making many dumb assumptions about science because you are biased against learning. We know all about your beliefs and what they water down to. A heavy dose of confirmation bias, and a lot of other logical fallacies, especially the one where you assume there is a god. Science can’t find your god so you discredit science! That’s a heavy clue that you have never thought this all the way through.

          Also, it’s spelled ATHEIST. There is no such word as ‘aethiest’. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/an-

        • Lea

          This is what I am saying: You have no true basis for your beliefs other than what you accept as gospel from scientists. They tell you what to believe. And their theory of God not existing is so stupid because they simply cannot know for sure, yet they will go on to expound it as fact and deceive alot of people like you, just like with the far fetched idea that we come from apes etc. There is no evidence.
          We are all free to choose what we believe. Science has nothing better to offer when it comes to the “supernatural”, yet the unexplainable is happening all the time to people, casually and more often heatedly denounced. Science has the same characteristics as a religion, that is my point.
          Ah, ya, you right, I have been spelling it wrong all along. Thank you for pointing that out. Science is open to discredit because it makes such huge and unfounded assumptions.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You really need to tone it down a little, especially about the science. Maybe more “I’ve heard that” or “It seems to me” or things like this. Your knowledge about science is so poor that it doesn’t support your assertions, and you look more reasonable if you avoid speaking beyond your understanding.

        • Kodie

          What kind of unexplainable things happen all the time? I bet they all have explanations. You are describing science as a made up poppycock far fetched story that you find hard to believe – and you compare it to religion. See, you admit you are bringing science down to a level where your silly fairy tale can compete. But you don’t know what science even is, or how it works. You can’t raise religious nonsense up to the level of reality so you put science beside it and declare that science is the silly thing and your story is not. Are you listening to yourself?

          You are far removed from recognizing reality. You’re lying to yourself and me and everyone. Why can’t someone convince you that science reflects reality and you are hostile to it, biased by the tracts of bullshit that you consume to support your own brand of nonsense? Why do you think you can convince anyone that

          FUCKING angels and demons and invisible sky beings and blood sacrifice of a human being/not really a human being 2000 years ago somehow transforms your “soul” a thing that doesn’t exist in the body?

          Some kind of apes had sex and had baby apes and over time, over thousands of generations became upright and increased intelligence as it adapted them for survival, made tools, language, and feared spooky things they didn’t understand yet and called that god. Others were curious and asked about this “god” and they pulled stories about god out of their anus. Eventually, they learned more and more about their environment and eventually discovered where they actually came from was fucking apes, and you are just a credulous idiot ape.

          And we have mountains of evidence. You have been told we don’t have any, but that’s because the religious had to do something to keep you from finding out. You don’t investigate this shit on your own, because you already think you know everything.

        • Lea

          You are indoctrinated through your belief in the dogmas of the scientific education you have been exposed to which you accept without question. I am created in the image of God who is spirit and my permanent body is formless and cannot as yet be measured by the limited scope of science, as yet. I hope it will some day soon. There is NO EVIDENCE of our origin from apes or anything else. Since you don’t know this it means that you have not questioned anything that has been rammed down your throat as truth. You are believing a lie.

        • Kodie

          You are exceedingly ignorant about what science is, how people know it’s not just some hallucination, and what it accomplishes. Religion makes you say the stupidest assumptions about science and you sound like a true dope. You know why? It’s propaganda to make you suspicious about what you don’t know, call it names, and keep living in a dream world. How much money have you given them so far? Religions try and try to make up their own versions of “science” because gullible people like you don’t know the fucking difference.

          There is plenty of evidence that we came from apes. Why do you keep saying there is none? Where did you read about that? Question the people who tell you what to believe and what their motives might be.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If the only evidence for evolution was just our common ancestry with other great apes, we wouldn’t have evolution. Evolution is built on much, much more than that. (But why am I troubling you with this information? You don’t care. You whip up “science” as it suits you.)

          On the topic of evidence, you have evidence for your God hypothesis? Let’s see some.

        • Lea

          I do care. Evolution scientists are the ones whipping up a so-called pseudo-science which suits them not me. It doesn’t affect me because I am not programmed by their indoctrination and God can be seen in the unbelievable design of a flower, and human body, a child’s laugher, a smile, joy, love, peace. If I don’t take care now, I may just go on to write another essay.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Enough schoolyard retorts. Give me evidence, both that evolution is crap and that God exists.

          No one cares what you think about science. Show me the data, show me the experts.

    • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

      LEA, you wouldn’t need so many words if you had any actual evidence. Basically all you’ve done is write a dissertation of your own opinions interspersed with the biblical teachings that are already proven to be nothing but mythology. There is equal evidence for all religions, and it’s zero. Why don’t you just admit you made the arbitrary decision to choose Christianity, because you are a coward who is afraid to die, and can’t stand the thought of disappearing from existence when you die. Nothing happens when you die. You are weak. And you are a fool.

      • lea

        Hi Clay, thank you for your response. I wasn’t
        aware that the Bible had been proven to be Mythology. In fact, archeology
        appears to have substantiated the Biblical history to a great extent. I would
        think that there is enough evidence out there, should you wish to make a
        sincere investigation into the reality of the Bible. My belief in Jesus Christ
        has nothing to do with religion. Christianity is a label. Of course, other
        religions may feel the same way, the difference is to be shown in the impact
        that one’s beliefs have on one’s life and those around them. There are vast
        catalogues of testimony of people who have experienced the transformation in
        Christ Jesus. What more do you want?

        My dissertation was just an attempt to give the explanation, for the way of
        Christ Jesus and the meaning of his cruxifiction on the cross, in answer to
        Bob’s thesis. You have no proof that God does not exist, you do not know what
        happens to your soul when you die, you have no hard evidence for your beliefs,
        do you? And whatever you write is also just your opinion, one I am very
        interested in, even though I know very well that nothing except the power of
        the Holy Spirit can change your mind and heart.

        I always wonder at people who so easily discount other people’s experiences.
        Are they really seeking the truth about life and humanity or are they just the
        devil’s advocate? I should tell at the start that I take mythology literally
        which means that those incredible stories about gods and half-man, half-animal
        or half-reptile etc I consider to be mainly true. Why? Those stories are there
        because this is what humanity experienced at that time, and for no other
        reason. The Bible speaks of the Nephilim too, the fallen angels of God. The
        interbreeding of these fallen angels and humans is what constitutes the reason
        for the corruption of the perfection of humanity. The fall into sin.

        So if you are an aethiest then does this mean that you see no difference
        between good and evil? What do you base your morality on? Does everything and
        anything go? Or do you have an internal compass you follow? Do you have a
        conscience? Does anything you think and do matter?

        The mere fact that the vast majority of humanity throughout the ages have
        believed in a higher power and continues to do so should tell you something.
        Takes an open mind to consider that there may be some truth in what alot of
        other people are saying about the spriitual reality of life on earth. We call
        things myths and legends simply because they do not fit into our current worldview.

        Death (and dead bodies) and its inevitability appears to be a central focus for
        us. If it is true as you say that we disappear when we die, what is there to
        fear? Absolutely nothing. Makes life and death very easy, cut and dried. It may
        even give us a sense of freedom to do as we please without considering the
        effects to the causes we create – consequences. What a relief! Evil and
        sinfulness has no meaning, neither does love. There was a time I wished and
        wanted this to be so, I even disliked God for creating us in the first place
        because we are such a bunch of miserable losers. I have never been afraid to
        die, and in my darker moments, wished for that complete state of oblivion,
        non-existence that you speak about. In fact, why don’t we just all kill
        ourselves and put an end to the trauma of the human experience, since it all
        came about by pure chance and has no meaning at all. Is this what you believe?

        I have my own personal experience, as untold and told others have, and there is
        also a vast body of scientific work available to you, which has informed us
        that we are absolutely not our bodies. That our bodies are merely vehicles
        while we walk on earth. To choose to dismiss this available evidence is not
        clever.

        Perhaps you say to yourself, well, why have I not experienced this for myself.
        Maybe I am not chosen for heaven. I must be one of those who are depicted as
        going to hell because I have had no sign given to me. I must be bad because
        Jesus has not revealed himself to me. Something rises up, my inability to
        accept this situation, so I then decide and pronounce for myself that there is
        no Jesus and there is no heaven and hell, and I set myself free from the fear
        of life and death in this way. Pretty neat paradigm, isn’t it? Obviously one
        that may be working for you, but you are deceived.

        The vast majority of humans fear death, and even life itself. Many of them have
        been set free from fear through Christ Jesus. There seems to be this
        inclination in humanity to want to live forever. This desire is there because
        it is part of our human DNA, to be eternal. Thank you for calling me weak and a
        fool, for I am so, for Christ Jesus, who is the love of my life.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          I’ve actually watched a lot of Sam Harris youtube videos (if not all of them), as well as Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. I have never disagreed with a single word any of them have said. The best way for me to communicate to you all the problems with religion is to ask you to at least start with Sam Harris. He addresses point by point each of the things you mention.

        • Lea

          Hi Clay, I am going to do as you ask and watch what Sam Harris has to say. In the meantime, can I ask you to respond to the following please:

          So if you are an aethiest then does this mean that you see no difference
          between good and evil? What do you base your morality on? Does everything and
          anything go? Or do you have an internal compass you follow? Do you have a
          conscience? Does anything you think and do matter?
          I’m truly interested to know what you think.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve written quite a bit about morality here. You can search for it of go here for one post.

          The primary thing to understand is that there’s a difference between “objective morality” or “absolute morality” and “morality.” Just because you don’t have objective morality or meaning doesn’t mean that those things don’t exist.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          I believe all intelligent life on all planets will have a concept of good and evil, based on defining ‘good’ as anything that is helpful to the species. Morality is the desire to do good, and help your own kind. It is a form of ‘cooperation’ and is helpful to the survival of any organism. Humans have a very evolved empathy and we all understand the golden rule. (Sam Harris points this out). Even monkeys understand this, and even have an understanding of ‘fairness’ and basic morality. It’s all in the brain however. No supernatural being needed. All evidence shows that consciousness and all of thought happens in brain cells only. There is no need to suppose the existence of a god to further our understanding of minds. Anything man doesn’t understand he attributes to either magic or god…or at least we did before the so-called “enlightenment”. I’m open to the possibility that a god created Quantum Mechanics, but there’s no evidence that any of the actual established religions are anything other than mythology. If you can believe that a God can exist without a “first cause”, then you should also be able to wrap your mind around “Pantheism”. All agnostics or atheists would be fools to not admit that Pantheism is just as likely to be true as not. (see, I had time to type today!)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What makes obvious moral sense on earth might seem very strange on Vulcan or Romulus. Different environmental forces would create different moral programming.
          What is pantheism? That God = nature?

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          I think most lifeforms that evolve to reach intelligence have a concept of cooperation, and knowing what is best for the survival of the species. Those organisms that cooperate well will thrive as an evolutionary advantage, and out-survive those that don’t develop such cooperative desires. Once language developed, mankind had to create words/labels for it, which became “good”, “bad”, “moral”, “immoral”. Monkeys get it too, but they don’t have labels for it because obviously they don’t have language. There are exceptions to this, like human sacrifice, etc, which happened in ancient times out of religious fervour, mysticism, and fear of the unknown or imagined supernatural forces…and there would be similar “immoral” events on Vulcan and Romulus also. Vulcans and Romulans would definitely have a concept of self-preservation, cooperation, and a word for “good” and “bad”. But yes, if their religion called for sacrificing one of their own species, they would “do it” and they would call it “good” I guess. I think religion would evolve in all intelligent life also, as a way to explain things, and ultimately as science develops, contradictions arise, so the religion v.s. science debate will be happening on billions of planets right this minute!

          On Pantheism, it fits an idea I had long before knowing the word “pantheism”, which is that the entire universe may exist in the mind of God, and so we are all him, and he is us. It solves the contradiction of: “If God exists then did he create the universe, or is he PART OF the universe.” And it eliminates the “first cause” paradox. And it leaves open the possibility that God is not necessarily “conscious”,but merely “executing the rules” of Quantum Mechanics, like a machine.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Maybe. But then again, we only have one organism to study, and we don’t even understand that one thoroughly.

          Bears are solitary, and wolves are social. Different strokes for different folks?

          Romulans (as I understand them, poorly) are pretty savage. Their morality would be quite foreign to us. That seems plausible to me.

          Your point, presumably, is that this is just Hollywood and that cooperation would be essential to intelligent life forms. Sure, maybe, but who can say for sure?

          I understood pantheism as God = nature, but what does this explain? We understand nature, so let’s avoid applying a freighted name as a synonym.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          To me, saying all intelligent forms have a concept of good and evil, is as obvious as saying most creatures that don’t live in a liquid walk on legs. Even though we only know of life on this planet there are solid and reasonable extrapolations that can be made, IMO, regarding other life in the universe. And that extends to morality I believe. Just like math would be known, the number PI would be known. Certain truths are going to be universal about how brains work. Even brains, themselves, will all have similar structure. Networks of communicating cells driving motor cells of some kind for motion.

          You are right about the word “God” being a loaded term! People automatically think “biblical god” if they read the word God in some text. Mankind needs a better word to represent whatever it was that created Quantum Mechanics whenever speculating about perhaps QM not being its own “first cause”. QM is definitely a set of “rules” about how things are allowed to behave, and it created one hell of an interesting universe. I’m fine with people believing something probably created those rules other than a simple anthropic principle and multiverse cop out. What irks the hell outta me is people who are so brainwashed and scientifically illiterate that they accept the mythological writings from thousands of years ago as truth…hiding behind the fact that “you can’t prove a negative” as their shield from having to think logically.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I agree: intelligent beings have morality as a category of thought. What I’m not sure about is how closely their morality would resemble ours. If humans are social animals like wolves, why couldn’t there be nonsocial animals like bears that are intelligent?

          I agree with you that, from our very limited viewpoint, cooperation seems to be a key point to civilization. Maybe I’m coming at this from too sci-fi a standpoint, but intelligent beings that we’d consider impossibly savage seem plausible.

          And what’s the deal with God named “God”? It’s like a cat named “Cat.” What’s wrong with Yahweh?

          hiding behind the fact that “you can’t prove a negat ive” as their shield from having to think logically.

          I’m amazed when I hear this, not from lay Christians, but from professional apologists. Their arguments are a thinly veiled “OK, let me show you how to reinterpret the facts so that my Christian presupposition remains in the running.” Nowhere do they take the correct approach, which is to find the best interpretation of the facts.

          I want to avoid being closed minded, thinking that no apologists have anything interesting to say, but I’m getting there!

        • Lea

          Human sacrifice originates from the antediluvian period when humanity was under the tyrannical rule of the fallen demonic angels and their offspring who ate humans and fed off their blood (life force). Even today Lucifer requires the blood of humans in order to manifest himself physically to his followers.
          I agree that God is the Quantum Mechanics and we are all a part of him, everything is, but he is also a separate and supreme entity at the same time. God is without cause and effect which is a law that applies only to our dimension just like time.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Uh … the point here is that Yahweh demands a blood sacrifice. So does that make demanding a blood sacrifice a good thing or a bad thing?

          No quantum mechanics, please, until you can show us that in the Bible.

        • Lea

          I wrote on the first point you made here quite extensively down below on another post with regard to “demanding a blood sacrifice”. The blood sacrifice of animals as shown to us by God was a method used by the priests of that time to prepare themselves to enter into the presence of God since only the sprinkling of blood cleansed or covered the sin, otherwise they would have been destroyed by his holiness. It also acted as a means of cleansing the sinful consciousness/conscience of the people because guilt and shame drag the human spirit into despair. The most important teaching to take from the old testament sacrifice system is that of the foreshadowing of the event of Jesus Christ on the cross, God the ultimate sacrifice.

          It wasn’t an ideal measure and YHWH does make it clear on a number of occassions that he doesn’t like the issue and that it cannot absolve us of the sin that is in us entirely and so had to be repeated over and over again. And the way human beings managed to pervert this method also upset him.

          “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

          “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11

          “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
          From this I understand that the blood sacrifice was more for the people than for God, although God does want to remain in relationship with us and will do what it takes to keep in touch with his children. I am also certain that if there was another better way he would have taken it.

        • Kodie

          The blood sacrifice of animals as shown to us by God was a method used
          by the priests of that time to prepare themselves to enter into the
          presence of God since only the sprinkling of blood cleansed or covered
          the sin, otherwise they would have been destroyed by his holiness. It
          also acted as a means of cleansing the sinful consciousness/conscience
          of the people because guilt and shame drag the human spirit into
          despair.

          You mean it was a superstitious ritual that doesn’t cleanse anything.

        • Lea

          It was an imperfect, the perfect sacrifice was God himself.

        • Kodie

          You keep talking about god like he’s real.

        • Lea

          He is the only thing that is real.

        • Kodie

          You must have a different definition of ‘real’ than most people do.

        • Lea

          I suppose I do. The most important answers may never arrive through science although I keep hoping that it will bring something better than it has until now, especially since the advent of quantum physics which is taking scientists more and more into the esoteric realms.

        • busterggi

          So since god was the perfect sacrifice and redeemed us all then I guess we don’t have to worry about being sinners anymore – perfect, right?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          We didn’t do anything to be tainted by original sin, so we shouldn’t need to do anything to be purged of that sin.

          Sweet! See you in heaven.

        • busterggi

          Not unless the Marx brothers are there. Harpo is the only harpist I listen to.

        • Lea

          Unfortunately we inherited the sin genetically and sprititually which means we are born that way and then we go on also to commit our own brand of errors. Sounds good, I would love to see you in heaven!

        • Lea

          Perfection comes later, now begins the transformation.

        • busterggi

          Now begins????
          What’s god the daddy waiting for, he supposedly killed his kid 2000 years ago and he still hasn’t even started the next part of his plan?

        • Lea

          I think the entry above is the best response I’ve made regarding your thesis on the crucifiction of Jesus. What do you have to say about it, Bob?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Did you respond point by point to my argument in the post? If not, then there’s not much to talk about. Your theology is off topic.

        • Lea

          In him we live and breath move and have our being.

        • Lea

          If good is based on the instinct for survival then it must also justify any act required in defence or progress of such organism even if it creates injustice towards other organisms, species, tribes, religions. So it is innately self pre-occupied?
          Evidence does not show that consciousness and thought originates in the brain. Consciousness and thought continues to exist when separated from the body. The human being remains intact as an individual entity and retains their unique identity once separated from the body. There is more than enough evidence for this.
          God is a paradox. God is the matrix field of the universe, therefore to be found in nature and everything else, and at the same time God (YHWH) manifests as a individual entity who is capable of having a personal relationship with every single living being.
          I believe that mythology contains vast amounts of truth. Closer to the time of our creation the so-called supernatural obviously was a norm allowing for the incredible stories we read about. Uranus (sky god) had sex with Gaia (human female) and the Titans were born. A terrible spawn and the ensuing saga of humanity eventually wiped out by the flood. These stories are there only because that is what humanity experienced. It is part of our history.
          Religion and sorcery is a manifestation of these interactions with the supernatural/unseen/spiritual world and is itself evidence of such.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Lea, what is the evidence that consciousness exists outside of the brain? I will accept any repeatable experiment, which is the foundation of science. If you cannot name a repeatable experiment then all you have is a “story”. Do you believe in ghosts just because there are so many ghost stories that they must therefore all be based in truth?

        • Lea

          Clay, I will respond as soon as I find the time. I am not ignoring you or Bob. How many times does a man have to die and return to life before you will believe you are not your body? There are earthbound spirits and demons running around all around you.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Lea, your arguments are all circular anyhow. You use the Bible itself as a justification for why you believe in the Bible. I don’t think you are capable of having a discussion, because you are so full of platitudes and unfounded beliefs.

        • Lea

          The foundation of my faith is in only one, a holy, divine person called Jesus Christ. The Bible is his book and is useful, perhaps even vital, while alive on earth. I challenge you to read it and experience the living words of God but if you do it may just save you should you be one of those unfortunate souls that land up in hell when they die. Then you won’t think that its all platitudes and unfounded. That is when reality will hit you really hard.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The average atheist understand Christianity better than the average Christian. Most atheists you’ll encounter here are quite familiar with the Bible.

          But why the Bible? Why don’t you recommend that we read the Koran? Or the Tao Te Ching? Or maybe recommend that we study all religions before we settle down with one?

          You pretend that the choices are just Christianity (by that, I mean your version of Christianity) and atheism. They’re not.

        • Lea

          You reckon? I have taken notice that you in particular do know some of the scriptures as you have quoted them although you cannot claim to really understand it, could you, based on the erroneous claims you make in the original argument regarding the title of this page.
          The one truth turns out to be exquisitely simple and deeply profound. Jesus Christ is the difference. There is more and I am going to give it to you but I have to get some sleep too. I do recommend that all religions be studied, it was only when I looked deeper into these things that I understood more about who Jesus is and what makes him so different.
          And really, Bob, stay away from legalistic religion. Dogma is rooted in the demonic and enslvaes. Choose the true freedom that can only be found in Christ Jesus and you won’t go wrong.
          I think I answered this elswhere. Don’t accept any other person’s version of Christianity. Let it be a relationship between you and your invisible friend. The choice is only between Jesus and Lucifer, in other words, Life or death (hell?)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Respond to the points I made. And then we can move on to other stuff. I’m getting tired of beating down a flawed point, only to have you repeat your point or move on to another one.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Lea if you can explain why you chose your religion over all the other religions then that would prove that you are not brainwashed. However i think if somebody asked you to compare Christianity with other religions you’d be at a loss and only be able to quote biblical scripture because that’s all there is in your brain.

        • Lea

          I am never at a loss to tell you why I know that Jesus Christ is the way.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          BTW Lea, sorry for the personal insults. I usually don’t do that, and you proved yourself of good character by not replying in kind.

        • Lea

          Thank you for the apology, Clay.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (I think I’m responding to your note to Clay and not mine. Oh, well.)

          (Are you using a PC? If you compose your reply and then paste it into Notepad, then copy and paste that into Disqus, things look better. I’m just guessing, but perhaps that’s why you have the line breaks.)

          archeology
          appears to have substantiated the Biblical history to a great extent.

          Has it proven any miracles? That’s all that’s interesting. Saying, “Well, the Bible says that there was a city named X and, sure enough, we’ve found the evidence!” is negligible.

          What I’d like to see is archeological evidence for the Exodus. Where are the 2 million bodies in the Sinai?

          should you wish to make a
          sincere investigation into the reality of the Bible.

          Have you made a sincere investigation into the reality of any other religious book? Or did you stick to the one that was popular in your part of the world?

          You have no proof that God does not exist

          Is that necessary before you conclude that there is insufficient evidence to believe in God?

          nothing except the power of
          the Holy Spirit can change your mind and heart.

          So then it’s the Holy Spirit’s fault that I’m going to hell? (I’m taking him off my Christmas card list.)

          I always wonder at people who so easily discount other people’s experiences.

          Because they provide no evidence to you. There are plausible natural explanations for them.

          Those stories are there
          because this is what humanity experienced at that time, and for no other
          reason.

          Primitive man couldn’t have been confused?

          So if you are an aethiest then does this mean that you see no difference
          between good and evil?

          Look up those words. There is no supernatural backing to them in the dictionary.

          The mere fact that the vast majority of humanity throughout the ages have
          believed in a higher power and continues to do so should tell you something.

          Guess what it is!

          We call
          things myths and legends simply because they do not fit into our current worldview.

          By “current worldview,” do you mean “science”?

          Evil and
          sinfulness has no meaning, neither does love.

          True about sinfulness, but you need to check the dictionary about the other two. Again, nothing supernatural.

          why don’ t we just all kill
          ourselves and put an end to the trauma of the human experience, since it all
          came about by pure chance and has no meaning at all.

          You’re a smart guy. You want meaning in your life? Assign yourself some.

          vast body of scientific work available to you, which has informed us
          that we are absolutely not our bodies

          I’ve seen none of it. Speculations that use words like “quantum” and “vibrations,” sure, but this isn’t scientific consensus.

        • Lea

          Hi Bob, thank you for the input about the line breaks etc. I am brand new to blogging, this is my first landing. I am going to try and give you some good examples to consider, even though it is highly likely that you will reject them, but I hope that it will give food for thought. Near death and out of body experiences are a pretty good indication of what occurs after death, I think. I do believe the Bible. I take it literally. I found this link:

          http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html
          I’ll get back to you on the rest later.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This commenting system (Disqus) has some quirks, and that line break thing is one of them. That one must be blamed on Disqus.

          Why are the natural explanations for NDEs insufficient? I realize that science has yet more to learn, but what evidence is there to suppose that there really is something supernatural going on?

        • Lea

          Bob, tell me honestly, did you read all the information provided on that link? These are full blown aethiests like yourself who are providing these stories. Frankly, the natural explanations seem to be a little desperate to me and they are only suppositions too.

          These people who experienced NDE and OBE did not believe in God and believed that when they died they would no longer exist, but found a very different outcome. The Bible tells us that there is more unseen than what can be seen.

          You could wait until science verifies the phenomenon or you could in the meantime be open to the knowledge that there is a Supreme Being, the one we call YHWH, even if you find you cannot accept Jesus. It appears to me that it
          is not the absolute requirement to be “born again”, receive Christ by the Holy Spirit, while on earth in order to go to heaven when you die. There are chances to choose God, even after death but you might save yourself from some really horrible experiences because hell is indeed real, by simply recognising that there is this possibility that Jesus is real and of course, be the love that you are while you live.

          You cannot blame the Holy Spirit for not contacting you when you have the door firmly closed, locked and bolted, to his entrance. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit works to reveal Jesus Christ to you, so you are the one who has chosen to take the attitude that you have towards Jesus despite the knowledge that you have.
          You cannot put the blame anywhere else. Knock and the door will be opened.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Scanned it; didn’t read it.

          Frankly, the natural explanations seem to be a little desperate to me and they are only suppositions too.

          And you’re a neuroscientist, so you can evaluate “desperate”?

          When there’s a scientific consensus of the afterlife through NDEs, I’m there. Until that point, I wonder why Christians don’t try to get their supernatural claims validated by scientists. Every such attempt that I’m aware of has failed.

          You could wait until science verifies the phenomenon

          Science today gives us every reason to reject the supernatural. I’ve written on that here, and especially here.

          or you could in the meantime be open to the knowledge that there is a Supreme Being

          Why?? Why your guy instead of a hundred others? Just because you like him? You’ve made no attempt to show that the Christian god is any less make believe than any of the others.

          Consider also that Pascal’s Wager goes both ways.

          You cannot blame the Holy Spirit for not contacting you when you have the door firmly closed, locked and bolted

          And how do we distinguish this situation from the Holy Spirit® being make believe?

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Lea, you are just quoting things you have heard other Christians say. It’s all just platitudes and fluff. Each religion has its own unique set of such platitudes, and they are all meaningless to someone who is not sufficiently brainwashed to buy into them. There is a reason people raised atheist stay atheist, and people raised with religion cling to it for dear life. It has to do with not being able to admit you are wrong, and also being flat out brainwashed. I’m sure you disagree that you are brainwashed. Part of being brainwashed is that you don’t KNOW you are.

        • Lea

          An aethist is as brainwashed as any other, perhaps even more so because must take a exceptionally rigid mind to consistently deny the spiritual, that which cannot be measured or evidenced, the supernatural. It takes the most incredible gullibility to believe that our ancestors are apes and pigs or we evolved from rock and chance over billions and billions of years just because some human scientists said so (gods?) especially when they can’t even prove it. And it is untrue also that aethiests remain aethiests and those raised in a religion remain in that religion. Admitting you are wrong goes both ways. I am certain that I am not yet completely free from all programming because it runs deep and comes at you constantly but yes I do consider myself free from the dogma and doctrine of science and religion, merely because I ask God to help me discern stuff, so I don’t rely entirely on my own thinking. If you think that everything I am saying here is what I have heard from other christians then I have to say that you obviously don’t know much about christians.
          If I tell another christian that I think the original sin is intercourse between humans and demonic/reptilian entities and that we are hybrids, and that the UFO/ET phenonmenon is a physical manifestation of these foreign entities, they would burn me at the stake for heresy. No, I am only joking. Most Christians today are very open minded and loving, they just look at me as if I am mad and shake their head, but still accept me for who I am.

        • Kodie

          It takes the most incredible gullibility to believe that our ancestors
          are apes and pigs or we evolved from rock and chance over billions and
          billions of years just because some human scientists said so (gods?)
          especially when they can’t even prove it.

          Wow, you are still really programmed.

        • Lea

          No, you are.

        • Lea

          My dear Kodie, until you can admit that the theory of evolution is a brankrupt and corrupted implausible science fiction shoved down our throats by human beings who wanted to use the idea to destroy God, you will be under a delusion. It really doesn’t take rocket science to figure this one out.

        • Kodie

          merely because I ask God to help me discern stuff, so I don’t rely
          entirely on my own thinking. If you think that everything I am saying
          here is what I have heard from other christians then I have to say that
          you obviously don’t know much about christians.

          You ask yourself ‘what do I think’ and then you tell yourself what you want to believe. That’s the voice of god – you.

          The second part of this makes zero sense. Every Christian through here, just about, says what you say, and they all think we’re not aware of all this fascinating bullshit. Maybe we don’t know every christian, but we know all their regular arguments, their favorite “silver bullet” arguments.
          You are not new.

        • Lea

          How do you know how it works when hearing the voice of God, have you experienced this? I’m glad to hear that other christians have said the same thing. We have a rock of consensus amongst christians to say the least, one that isn’t ever changing or forced to fit in when “evidence” comes along that refutes their prior theories like constant shifting sand.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “A rock of consensus”?? Seriously? America is a Petri dish of Christianity. Look at the sects that we’ve invented in the last couple hundred years: Mormonism, the Holiness Movement, Salvation Army, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7th Day Adventist, plus uncountably many sects.

        • Lea

          Very true, some of us missing the focal point entirely which is Jesus Christ. There is a very strong unbreakable consensus though amongst most, even those who differ on trivialities, going on what you (or who?) say regarding other Christians having been here and saying the same thing. Unlike the science under discussion here, where the gods of your religion make up a theory and then go on to present false evidence, breaking all the scientific rules of emperical science to make the so-called discoveries fit the false theory, all because they hate God and Christians.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You don’t like science, do you? Kind of odd since you might be dead now if it weren’t for modern science.

          Oh well. Lots of people are ungrateful, I suppose. But I’m tired of the unsubstantiated claims. Show me the false evidence and show me that it’s driven by a hatred of Yahweh.

        • Lea

          There is alot about science that is absolutely wonderfully amazing, astounding and does advance humanity. I like the science that is without perversion, corruption.
          Do I have to go and do the research for you? I am sure you have access to the same avenues that I have to find the information you are demanding. But just one simple factor to put forth at this point is the idea of the chemical soup and the impossibility of this being able to transform into life as we know by random chance in accordance with established principles of science. Another easy one is the fossil trail which is turned out very dissappointing for the evolutionists.
          Evolution is like shooting out into space a large scrapyard and expecting a boeing to come out. Or take a frog and put it in a blender then let it stand until a frog jumps out.
          There, another shortish post. But I may come back with a vengeance armed with that evidence you want.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I like the science that is without perversion, corruption.

          And it must be marvelous to be the only person who’s able to sift through the science and figure out the perverse science from the good science. Wow.

          Do I have to go and do the research for you?

          I understand the research, thank you. I’m pretty sure, based on your unevidenced claims, that you don’t. Yes, you do have to do the hard work of understanding the issues before you make claims. (Saves you from embarrassment.)

          I could respond to your points, but there’s no point. You don’t care what I say, and you don’t care what science says. What sites do you use, BTW?

          Evolution is like shooting out into space a large scrapyard and expecting a boeing to come out. Or take a frog and put it in a blender then let it stand until a frog jumps out.

          That you don’t understand how these are incorrect analogies shows how little you know about the topic at hand.

          But I may come back with a vengeance armed with that evidence you want.

          I’m quite certain you won’t.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Lea, admitting that you “hear voices” isn’t helping your case much. You’ve already proven yourself to be scientifically illiterate… You’re just making a bigger fool of yourself each time you reply.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          An aethist is as brainwashed as any other, perhaps even more so because must take a exceptionally rigid mind to consistently deny the spiritual, that which cannot be measured or evidenced, the supernatural.

          You got it all figured out, huh? The best explanation for the paltry evidence for the supernatural is that it’s hidden, not that it’s nonexistent.

          It takes the most incredible gullibility to believe that our ancestors are apes and pigs

          Golly, you must be smart. I look at any profession of which I’m not a part and figure that I don’t really have the qualifications to evaluate and pass judgment on them. But not you.

          That kinda power can go to your head—watch out.

          especially when they can’t even prove it

          You need to learn at least a little about science, otherwise you look like a buffoon. Here, for example: science never proves anything. Ever. All the marvelous stuff we know from science isn’t proven and it’s always provisional.

          I ask God to help me discern stuff, so I don’t rely entirely on my own thinking

          Or, you just relabel your own thinking as having come from God. Nice! Any conclusions that I come to are just the result of a fallible person, but you can point to the Big G as the source of your wisdom. How can I compete against that??

          If I tell another christian that I think the original sin is intercourse between humans and demonic/reptilian entities and that we are hybrids, and that the UFO/ET phenonmenon is a physical manifestation of these foreign entities, they would burn me at the stake for heresy.

          Gee … “other Christians” are starting to sound a little better.

        • Lea

          Ddi I say science never proves anything? Well, that’s wrong, what I meant to say is that science has not proven that we come from apes or that creation has evolved from a rock and some moisture and chance etc. Takes more faith to believe in this possiblity that in a Creator God.
          I really must apologise also if it comes across like I know it all because I am fully aware that these things we are discussing cannot be proven through emperical science. So I thought we were just sharing points of view. Debating. I am open to God’s revelation and I may not always get it right because I am not perfect yet.
          You would come across a little smarter if you actually debated the issues at hand instead of trying so hard to dis me all the time. Your responses in the entry is what I find inane. I expect more from someone who knows more than me about science.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          what I meant to say is that science has not proven that we come from apes or that creation has evolved from a rock and some moisture and chance etc.

          You step back from an error (good for you) and then you repeat it? Not good.

          Science doesn’t prove stuff, but we know the conclusions of evolution as well as we know any scientific theory. It’s been tested for 150 years and it keeps holding up.

          Takes more faith to believe in this possiblity that in a Creator God.

          Cute line, but idiotic approach to science.

          I really must apologise also if it comes across like I know it all because I am fully aware that these things we are discussing cannot be proven through emperical science.

          You can’t prove anything with science! Yes, you do indeed sound like a Know It All. There is a scientific consensus and you, a non-scientist, reject it. On what grounds could you possibly do so?!

          You would come across a little smarter if you actually debated the issues at hand

          I love debating the issues at hand. Are you saying that I’m not holding up my end of this discussion? If I recall, I’ve given you very long and detailed responses to your comments.

          I expect more from someone who knows more than me about science.

          And what is that “more”? If your point is that I’m foolish for rejecting the obvious truth of God’s Creation, then we pretty far apart here and I can’t imagine I’ll ever please you.

        • Lea

          Scientists in the field of the origin and evolution of man and creation DO NOT HAVE EVIDENCE to substantiate the imaginative conclusions/theories that they expound as fact and have forced onto mankind, The hypotheses have not been substantiated but comprise of wild speculation, fraud and lies in an effort to conjure up “evidence”, that have regularly been exposed. This is akin to the same kind of thing that the Roman Catholic church did to humanity not so long ago in its quest for dominance, power and money in the world.

          Brainwashing is a method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion.

          You have been brainwashed by your education to dogmatically believe in a lie and you do so without question. To question it would be sacriligeous?

          The indoctrinated “scientific” mind is the result of some human beings wanting to believe there is no God because it suits their own agenda (a Lucifierian agenda). This field is heavily dominated by people who dislike christianity and fundamentalists and this discredits their ability to be
          objective/impartial.

          Darwin’s letters present this evidence: “he was admitting that he “fluctuated” and that he had “never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God” (1879). He said that “the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the
          existence of God” (1873). He also stated that one’s faith is a private matter for the individual alone.”

          Discussing the origins of the universe, Darwin admitted, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to
          remain an Agnostic.”

          There is no conclusive evidence for the transition from ape to man. On the contrary, there is some evidence that present day man is a somewhat deteriorated descendent of his ancestors. We have devolved. The primitive men were not brute beasts or semi-apish savages, as we are made to believe by evolutionists, and the probabilities are that the early man was no different than the present day man. In fact, since the Cro-Magnon man the human brain
          seems to be decreasing in size. According to the scientists themselves, the Cro-Magnon men were known to have been far superior to modern men both physically and mentally in terms of brain capacity.

          You have been deluded. I place my alliegance with that which brings blessing and love to humanity. You trust and believe in something that it simply not true science but a religion, and you have made Darwin your god, bringing greater darkness.

          To maintain that it is the way of science to replace old facts with new facts is simply not a sane or sober foundation because it reduces science to the
          ridiculous, to the fantasy, which it is by definition not supposed to be. To throw out the old ideas as the new arrive, is to throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak. It means we can never trust a so-called fact to be
          truth.

        • Kodie

          Brainwashing is a method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion.

          Isn’t that why you keep repeating yourself? You don’t have any evidence, your only argument is to have false ideas about science, and your religion has replaced sense with nonsense, made-up imaginary science to prop up the premise that there is a god. Whatever will fit to make that true. You will follow whatever they tell you to believe and distrust anyone trying to teach you science. That makes you a lost cause and a hypocrite as far as I’m concerned.

          You can “never trust” science because it keeps exploring and actually finding new facts that refine old ones. You can trust an imaginary fairy story that exists inside your fallible brain exactly because you’ve been brainwashed and indoctrinated that stability is the ideal. We’re just animals. We don’t know everything about our world much more, essentially, than a dog does. Science is figuring out how the world actually works. You are saying because it’s sometimes mistaken, or kind of rough, that it’s no good? You don’t like improvements? You are basically against progress. You don’t understand how progress works. Throw out your computer, you’re a disgrace of a human being. Just wash your clothes on a rock and collect berries for dinner – you have no idea what science is and why our knowledge tends to change. The truth doesn’t change – we just keep looking at it closer and closer, and guess what? GOD IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

          Sorry if that just makes you defensive about your beliefs, but you keep wrapping your fuzzy brain inside this shell of ignorance and you don’t have to. But I’m done with you. You answered a 5 month old post to evangelize your beliefs, having no idea that the whole internet has been here for years before you and already heard what you came to tell us that you think is brand new. You’re not making any new arguments. At all. And making tons of logical fallacies. The worst one you keep making is that science sounds too crazy to you that you favor your own delusion of a ghost who lives inside you, and epic battles between angels and demons, and a portal to an afterlife. If that sounds more realistic to you than evolution, you have no idea what you’re even talking about. You have an indoctrinated bias against science because you believe what you’re told by people who have a grave fear of you actually seeing them for liars and propagandists. The more you would learn about science, the more confused you would be why they would have told you untrue things all these years, and if you’re the least bit curious about comparing the two, all they can tell you is how horrible science is – it sounds imaginary! Stay dumb, Lea.

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          Kodie, extremely well said. I loved that rant! A true and justified one! :) You just said everything I wanted to say to Lea. It’s amazing that there are people still this illiterate in the world. She probably just got the internet at her little farm house last week, and she’s sitting on the front porch, with an old dog, knitting something out of yarn, just back from Sunday school, and knows that all of science is just a bunch of lies invented by Satan. lol. Only about 1 out of every million religious people are actually “evolution deniers”. They disagree with the fossils record not because it’s wrong, but because it disagrees with the Bible! What a complete imbecile. Back woods. Ancient Appalachian moonshine-drinking crazy. Saying that scientists are brainwashed and religious people aren’t !??? Such an amazing level of arrogance, mixed with stupidity, lack of education, and the aforementioned debatable quality of brainwashed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          When you ignore the points that I make, I assume that’s because you agree with them. Still, it would be good to have confirmation. Please don’t launch into yet another very long essay without resolving the points that we’ve been talking about to date.

          Scientists in the field of the origin and evolution of man and creation DO NOT HAVE EVIDENCE to substantiate the imaginative conclusions/theories that they expound as fact and have forced onto mankind

          And how do you know this? Ooh—let me guess: you read it on Answers in Genesis. Or at the Creation Research Institute. Or someplace similar, I’m guessing?

          Learn some science, bro.

          The indoctrinated “scientific” mind is the result of some human beings wanting to believe there is no God because it suits their own agenda

          Science gave us the world we live in today. 2 centuries ago, people died by the millions from measles, smallpox, and water-born illness. Today, not so much. 2 centuries ago, people rarely used GPS for navigation and communicated by laptops and the internet. Thank you, science. (Or should I say: Thank you Lucifer?)

          Darwin’s letters present this evidence

          No one cares what Darwin said. What Darwin said is in the domain of History of Science. That’s not today’s topic.

          since the Cro-Magnon man the human brain seems to be decreasing in size.

          We have a tiny brain compared to a whale. What do you deduce from that?

        • Lea

          I am devoting as much time as I can to respond to you, wish I could do more. For confirmation I chose to look mainly at atheist scientists who were honest and brave enough to acknowledge the error of their ways of adherence to the man-made religion of evolution and why. Elsewhere I found that the evolutionists themselves presented the evidence that they are confounded.
          Yes Bob I am totally 100% in agreement with you for the many good things alot of our good science has given humanity. As I asked Kodie, let’s be specific and not lose sight of the fact that the particular brand of science we are discussing here is the origin and evolution of man/creation. Lucifer is incapable of good.
          What sort of atheist are you, knocking Darwin like that? How could you, man? Don’t you know that people worship him? Shame on you!
          The point about Cro-Magnon man is that evidence shows that the human brain (nothing to do with the whale, since we want to compare oranges with oranges, not oranges with apples) has decreased in size as time went on, not the other way round as evolutionists proposed/expected/theorised. Devolution, dying humanity.
          You must admit I’m getting better at this blogging thing now, giving shorter answers and all.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          For confirmation I chose to look mainly at atheist scientists who were honest and brave enough to acknowledge the error of their ways of adherence to the man-made religion of evolution and why.

          That confirms both your bias and my suppositions. (Did you mean to confirm them both?)

          So you’ve already decided what the correct answer is. And you’re not even a biologist. Wow—how do you do that?

          Elsewhere I found that the evolutionists themselves presented the evidence that they are confounded.

          All that matters is what the consensus on evolution is within biology. What do you suppose it is?

          What sort of atheist are you, knocking Darwin like that? How could you, man? Do n’t you know that people worship him? Shame on you!

          Darwin worship might be a straw man that Creationists amuse themselves with, but I don’t care. And neither do biologists. No one double-checks their findings with the writings of the Great Man to make sure they’re in compliance.

          The point about Cro-Magnon man is that evidence shows that the human brain (nothing to do with the whale, since we want to compare oranges with oranges, not oranges with apples) has decreased in size as time went on

          1. With the whale example I showed you that brain size doesn’t mean much.

          2. Show me that the consensus about evolution has changed due to this information. If not, why are you wasting my time with it?

        • http://meta64.com/wclayf Clay Ferguson

          In your first sentence you said brainwashing is when a scientist doesn’t accept an idea without proof. Well you have the very definition of the word “brainwashing” wrong. Brainwashing is when you DO accept ideas without proof. The process of science is all about discarding old ideas that have been proven wrong, and admitting knowledge can increase as mankind learns more and more. Religion is about “clinging to” the old ideas that have been proven wrong, in order to not have to admit one is brainwashed, feel better about mortality, feel a meaning in life, and feel a moral superiority. Religion is about “feelings” and is based on delusional thinking. Science is about evidence and is based on facts. Using the “well so are you” argument when a scientist calls you brainwashed is just pure childish, and makes you seem like an elderly person who has passed into their final childhood.

    • Kodie

      Contrary to what you think, the majority of so-called humans that end up in
      hell with the demons are in fact no longer human since their souls have been
      wholly taken over and possessed by the non-human demonic beings who feed off
      their life soure.

      “In fact”????? You are talking about a story. Nothing happens after you die. You choose to believe that human life has this epic to unfold and understand, it’s a story written by humans for humans. You are talking about a fantasy. In reality, we are just animals. There is no cosmic justice. Good people die and just die, and bad people die and just die. Some people will never be rewarded and some people will never be punished. We are all in this together and if we see fit, we recognize someone who has done good things and punish people who have done bad things. Upon what is “good” or “bad,” we don’t always agree. Eventually, we move on to current events and forget about all people but the most famous examples. For example, Christopher Columbus. When I was a kid, he was considered a good person, someone to remember, learn about, and take a holiday off for. In recent decades, he’s seeming like not a very good guy. But he’s already been dead hundreds of years! How can we punish him now? Hope that god sorted that one out himself?

      What do you mean we don’t choose “life”, we’re alive. It’s not really that much of a choice. You are talking about the afterlife which doesn’t exist. You have brought up a lot of points and called them facts, as if you are the first person to address these points and Bob has never seen your side of things before, as if he may ponder your wise tome and reconsider that he hasn’t thought it all the way through. What it doesn’t sound like is facts. It sounds made up. Angels, demons, blood sacrifices, how does this all work? Where is heaven and where is hell, and why do you think there is more after life? Oh yeah, you believe accounts of NDEs. That’s bullshit. Brains play tricks on people, end of story.

      You start with the premise that there is a god and a Jesus Christ, and go to find any random unscientific hints that what you want to be true is true.

      Prometheus’s fire cannot grant eternal
      life, free from sin and death

      Neither can believing in Jesus.

  • Lea

    The blood sacrifice of animals as shown to us by God was a method used by the priests of that time to prepare themselves to enter into the presence of God since only the sprinkling of blood cleansed or covered the sin, otherwise they would have been destroyed by his holiness. It also acted as a means of cleansing the sinful consciousness/conscience of the people because guilt and shame drag the human spirit into despair. The most important teaching to take from the old testament sacrifice system is that of the foreshadowing of the event of Jesus Christ on the cross, God the ultimate sacrifice.

    It wasn’t an ideal measure and YHWH does make it clear on a number of occassions that he doesn’t like the issue and that it cannot absolve us of the sin that is in us entirely and so had to be repeated over and over again. And the way human beings managed to pervert this method also upset him.

    “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

    “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11

    “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
    From this I understand that the blood sacrifice was more for the people than for God, although God does want to remain in relationship with us and will do what it takes to keep in touch with his children. I am also certain that if there was another better way he would have taken it.

  • Lea

    The blood sacrifice of animals as shown to us by God was a method used by the priests of that time to prepare themselves to enter into the presence of God since only the sprinkling of blood cleansed or covered the sin, otherwise they would have been destroyed by his holiness. It also acted as a means of cleansing the sinful consciousness/conscience of the people because guilt and shame drag the human spirit into despair. The most important teaching to take from the old testament sacrifice system is that of the foreshadowing of the event of Jesus Christ on the cross, God the ultimate sacrifice.

    It wasn’t an ideal measure and YHWH does make it clear on a number of occassions that he doesn’t like the issue and that it cannot absolve us of the sin that is in us entirely and so had to be repeated over and over again. And the way human beings managed to pervert this method also upset him.

    “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

    “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11

    “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
    From this I understand that the blood sacrifice was more for the people than for God, although God does want to remain in relationship with us and will do what it takes to keep in touch with his children. I am also certain that if there was another better way he would have taken it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      A duplicate of your theological treatise?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ClericiBobby Bobby Clerici

    Once I found out the Jesus myth pre-dates christianity, that settled the issue. Research this for yourself and answer for yourself: did the church borrow from other religions?
    I am a seeker of truth.
    Sorry, christianity, like islam and other religions, do not pass the truth test.
    You’re all better off shrugging off the shackles of religion and just seeking truth as it relates to the Divine.

    • Renold Rift

      What is the Truth test .. ?

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/ClericiBobby Bobby Clerici

        Is what religion teaches validated by nature, history and science?
        Are they lying to you?
        Is there another agenda or motive?
        Again, you must seek these answers for yourself. There is no debate, and if you’re religious, it shall be a painful journey.
        Good Luck!

    • Truth

      look eastwards, hinduism “the sanathan darma” could appeal to you…

  • Dan Fu

    The Crucifixion story,indeed makes no sense.The story doesn’t belong to Jesus.He just act and made drama out of it.The question is,we’re did the story comes from?Can the bible reveal the mystery or the religion leaders or pheraps,you?

  • Paul Fernandez

    Yeah, the Greeks thought it was foolishness too, as Paul the Apostle pointed out. That didn’t stop him speaking about it, or it establishing a belief system that has changed the world.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, it has changed the world. Are you arguing that that’s evidence of its truth?

      • Paul Fernandez

        Nope. Conversely, you do seem to be saying that because you don’t believe in resurrection, it couldn’t have happened. Is that so?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          In the fiefdom that is my mind, everyone does what I tell them to, and I get to decide truth from falsehood. Darn it all, it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

          No, I don’t believe that I’m the sole arbiter of truth.

        • Paul Fernandez

          Okay, so you’re not too attached to point 3, then? “Middle English resurreccioun, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin resurrection-, resurrectio act of rising from the dead, from resurgere to rise from the dead, from Latin, to rise again, from re- + surgere to rise”. So technically, “reason 3″ completely fails logically. You said “if Jesus died, there’s no resurrection.” (Merriam-Webster) But from a language point of view, there can only be resurrection if Jesus died.

          Reason 3 only makes sense if you jettison the idea of language actually conveying meaning. Which is fine – but since you presumably believe that your language conveys meaning, I’m guessing that’s not a price you’re prepared to pay.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Okay, so you’re not too attached to point
          3, then?

          I said, “Miracle or sacrifice—you can’t have it both ways.”
          I’m missing the problem.

  • Mike Lee

    lol, and as this kind of bizzaro logic makes sense to them, it’s not a shock why science won’t get absorbed into the minds of hard core believers. That loop of madness is impenetrable.

  • miserableoldfart

    It’s called FAITH, and it is a belief in a form of existence that transcends time and logic. That’s about as much debate as there can be. The rest is all window dressing, and you know that’s a fact, even if you have a doctor of divinity degree, about as dumb as a master of business administration.

  • jejune

    Why blame Adam for a moral lapse that he couldn’t even understand?

    I thought Eve was to blame for that:P

    Hence the pain of childbirth, punishment to Eve and her descendents for the sin of making Adam eat the apple.

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