The Anti-Semitism of the New Testament

The history of anti-Semitism in the Christian church is a long, sad story. Ironically, this faith which began as a sect within Judaism has been responsible for many more atrocities against the Jewish people than any of their other enemies.For centuries, Christian Europe reviled Jewish believers as Christ-killers, and Jews were accused of ludicrous crimes like "host nailing" (stealing consecrated communion wafers and driving nails through them, to crucify Jesus anew) or draining the blood of … [Read more...]

Book Review: Misquoting Jesus

Summary: An eye-opening look at just how much the text of the Bible has changed over the centuries. Not to be missed.I've read two other books by Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted and God's Problem, and while they were both competent, readable works explaining the principles of biblical textual criticism, neither one really floored me. But I circled back around to read some of his earlier books, and I'm glad I did. His 2005 book, Misquoting Jesus, is by far the best of Ehrman's works that I've … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses XIII: Fetuses Don't Count

It's consistently been part of the anti-choice strategy to treat unborn fetuses as separate, autonomous people, even well before the point of viability. For instance, the anti-abortion website Abort73.com says:It is illegal to execute a pregnant woman on death row because the fetus living inside her is a distinct human being who cannot be executed for the crimes of the mother. (source)In fact, such niceties did not occur to the authors of the Bible. They did not value the unborn nearly so … [Read more...]

Paul's Resurrection Creed

In the book of First Corinthians, there's a passage that's frequently cited by Christian apologists:For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some … [Read more...]

New on Ebon Musings: Dating the Good News

I've uploaded a new essay to Ebon Musings, "Dating the Good News". This essay attempts to fix a date of composition for the New Testament's four canonical gospels based on documentary evidence, both positive and negative, and draws some conclusions on what this date tells us about the evolution of early Christianity.This is an open thread. Comments and discussion are welcome. … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses XII: Communism

"Atheism and communism always seem to go hand in hand," begins a letter to the editor I recently found through a Google alert. And though the fear of communism has died down since the crumbling of the Soviet Union, the prejudice that this writer was parroting has affected our politics for decades.In the Cold War, when anti-communist fear and paranoia were rampant, we sought to differentiate ourselves from the enemy in every way possible. It was this fear that spurred the U.S. government to … [Read more...]

On Inerrancy

Pandagon's recent post on Carlton Pearson, and the comment thread there, got me thinking about the question of inerrancy.Last February, in "The Aura of Infallibility", I observed that the apologist's claim of scriptural inerrancy is really a claim of personal inerrancy. Even if I believe a book to be without error, I must rationally admit that I could be wrong about that. The only way to maintain a claim of inerrancy with absolute confidence, as many theists do, is to believe that I myself am … [Read more...]

New on Ebon Musings: The Pillars of the Earth

A new essay, "The Pillars of the Earth", has been posted on Ebon Musings. This essay surveys apologist claims that the Bible displays miraculous foreknowledge of modern science, and sets the record straight as to what these verses really mean.This is an open thread. Comments and discussion are welcome. … [Read more...]

Jesus Never Laughed

In The Case for Christ, evangelical psychologist (and demon-believer) Dr. Gary Collins rendered this appraisal of the mental health of Jesus:"We don't see psychological difficulties in Jesus. He spoke clearly, powerfully and eloquently. He was brilliant and had absolutely amazing insights into human nature. He was loving but didn't let his compassion immobilize him; he didn't have a bloated ego, even though he was often surrounded by adoring crowds; he maintained balance despite an often … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses XI: Polygamy

In recent years, anti-gay bigots operating under the guise of "defending traditional marriage" have made many statements like this one:"Since the dawn of mankind, the sacred bond of marriage has been correctly defined as a union between one woman and one man....Our views on marriage are shaped not only by America's laws, but by God's laws. It is part of the shared heritage of the civilized world."—Pat Boone, "Marriage: One man, one woman". Knight Ridder, 14 May 2004.Pat Boone is … [Read more...]


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