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Those Militant Atheists…

Always acting like jerks and asking pesky questions…

You’re annoying Jesus.

Stop it.

2008-06-20.jpg

(via Jesus and Mo)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Pseudonym

    Of course, Jesus never said that any human would end up in eternal, unimaginable torment in a lake of fire, but let’s not let that get in the way of a fun comic, shall we?

    As Peter Carnley pointed out, Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world, but his followers have more than made up for the omission.

  • Darryl

    Except for Matthew 25

    31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    And Rev. 20 (“the revelation of Jesus Christ”)

    [7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
    [8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
    [9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
    [10] And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
    [11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
    [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Sorry, Dude, it’s your Bible.

  • Eliza

    Well, it’s not my Bible, but I’ll respond.

    These examples do not say “repent, otherwise eternal bad outcome”, nor do they say “believe in me, otherwise eternal bad outcome.”

    They say “do good, otherwise eternal bad outcome”.

    (…”according to their works” in Rev 20:13 above. It’s a little more obvious in the passage from Matthew).

  • Pseudonym

    Here’s what I claimed:

    Jesus never said that any human would end up in eternal, unimaginable torment in a lake of fire

    Neither passage quoted contradicts this claim.

    Taking the Revelation passage first:

    - This was written some time after Jesus’ death. I’m 100% correct in saying that Jesus didn’t say this.

    - Fire is a common Hebrew symbol, and it is about destruction, not punishment. (See, for example, Malachi 4:1.)

    - Only “the devil” is described as being “tormented” eternally in this passage, not humans.

    OK, now Matthew 25. The only verse we need concern ourselves with here is 46, and in particular the phrase kolasin aionion, which is here translated “eternal punishment”.

    Exactly the same term is used in Jude 7:

    So also Sodom and Gomorrah [...] are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

    Last I heard, Sodom and Gomorrah were not still burning. This phrase does not mean what you think it means.

    Now I happen to be liberal enough that I’m not certain that Revelation should even be there. I also spend almost no time thinking about what happens after death; I don’t think that “hell” was mentioned once in my church when I was growing up. I also am most definitely not a literalist.

    However, I’d far rather let the text say what it says. There’s enough embarrassing stuff in the Bible without having to read things into it.

    Few of those who believe in the popular image of hell know that it’s mostly drawn from Dante’s Inferno (which was allegorical and satirical anyway) rather than the Bible.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    The point of the comic is that simply asking for proof of extraordinary claims earns one labels like militant or strident.

    Your first problem, Pseudo in your comment, is that the comic character is fictitious and says and does things that weren’t claimed by the authors of the Bible. Things like drinking in a British Pub with Mo. It is unreasonable to limit the character to only mouthing quotations of himself.

    This was written some time after Jesus’ death.

    Everything in the NT was written a generation or more after the events being described. So?

    I’m 100% correct in saying that Jesus didn’t say this.

    You mean the copies we are left with do not quote him as saying it. Of course a person named Jesus never said it. You are 100% correct, if only because there likely was no physical person on whom the stories were based. The original writers and audience understood that it was allegory and myth.

    It is a strange meta world in which one uses words from a book one does not oneself believe to be true, to convince a believer that they are wrong.

    Clearly anyone who bases their beliefs on the self-contradictory Bible is already very adept at rationalisation. Pointing out one more passage for them to ignore or re-interpret or side step is not at all guaranteed to break the back of their imagined camel.

    Now go and look through the archives of jesusandmo.net. The author has made some very interesting observations in the strips, often delightfully subtle.

  • Darryl

    First, what Jesus said is a matter for religious people to decide, and quite many of them have decided this way and that.

    This was written some time after Jesus’ death. I’m 100% correct in saying that Jesus didn’t say this.

    Now, if you bother to read the opening words of the book of Revelation you’ll see that John claimed to have gotten this revelation from Jesus. If you’re prepared to deny the canonicity of this book, be my guest.

    Fire is a common Hebrew symbol, and it is about destruction, not punishment. (See, for example, Malachi 4:1.)

    Since the Revelation passage describes the final judgment it seems to follow that those who will be judged guilty will be punished.

    Only “the devil” is described as being “tormented” eternally in this passage, not humans.

    Since you seem not to have read the passage, let me make an ellipsis here that might help you:

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    6And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,

    7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

    Jude’s topic here is Christians doing naughty sexual things. He argues against such practices by using the fallen angels as any example. Jude believed in the apocryphal story of the Angels coming down to earth and having sexual relations with women and bearing offspring who were giants. Well, for this act of nastiness these angels are being held until the final judgment. And what will happen then? Well, just like “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

    The peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them were in Jude’s mind an example of God’s wrath by fire on this kind of thing. If Jude is not as precise with his language as you would like, that doesn’t change his point: Just like the fallen angels, anyone who engages in this kind of sexual immorality will share their fate–”the punishment of eternal fire.” Rather than redefine “eternal fire,” this passage supports my reading of Revelation and Matthew. This view of the Last Judgment was a widely held belief among Jews at the time.

    Now, if your experience in a liberal tradition disregarded Hell and punishment, good for you. But, please, refrain from making assertions that you can’t support. The Bible is a mess; don’t try to use it to help yourself.

  • Pseudonym

    Your first problem, Pseudo in your comment, is that the comic character is fictitious and says and does things that weren’t claimed by the authors of the Bible. Things like drinking in a British Pub with Mo. It is unreasonable to limit the character to only mouthing quotations of himself.

    Oh, absolutely. This reminds me very much of the Onion article about Jesus being arrested after bombing an abortion clinic.

    I also found it funny, FWIW. And reading back, it did seem like I was dismissing the cartoon in my first post. Sorry about that; it was late.

    Using Jesus as a proxy for the hoardes of stupid Christians has always been funny. The problem is that unlike bombing an abortion clinic, some of the hoardes of stupid Christians really do seem to think that Jesus said something like this.

    You mean the copies we are left with do not quote him as saying it.

    Yes, I meant that there is no evidence that Jesus ever said this.

    Of course a person named Jesus never said it. You are 100% correct, if only because there likely was no physical person on whom the stories were based.

    Not this argument again.

    OK, look: While I agree that the records that we have of Jesus’ sayings and deeds are mythological rather than historical, it is an extremely small minority of historians who argue that Jesus never existed at all; probably fewer than the proportion of scientists who don’t believe in evolution.

    I’m not saying they’re wrong. It wouldn’t matter to me one bit if the character of Jesus was not based on a real person. However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    And I’m always triply suspicious if the extraordinary claims conform exactly to a preconceived bias. I find no end of amusement in the fact that some atheists (not many, but some) are willing to believe anything that sounds even vaguely anti-religious.

    It is a strange meta world in which one uses words from a book one does not oneself believe to be true, to convince a believer that they are wrong.

    That’s what you think you’re doing, is it?

    OK, since I have no personal stake in this, let me try to expand on what I’m saying. Ignore what you think I believe for a moment, because chances are very good that you’re wrong, and it’s irrelevant anyway.

    Here are the facts:

    There is precisely one place in the New Testament which can possibly be understood as Jesus saying that people will be tormented eternally. That place is Matt 25:46. Everywhere else (even Revelation) he refers to destruction, or eternal punishment of “devils”. (Interpret that word how you will.)

    Now, here’s the obvious conclusion from the facts:

    If you are the sort of person who believes in the popular notion of hell, and that all contradictions in the Bible can be explained away, then Matt 25:46 is the verse that you have to explain away or rationalise, because it’s the odd one out.

    Having said that, my personal opinion is that Matt 25:46 doesn’t mean what most English translations translate it as. I base this entirely on Greek linguistics. The word “aion” (which we often transliterate as “aeon”) means an indeterminate time, not an unlimited time.


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