Tales of Roman Emperors Feeding Christians to the Lions Are Titillating to Christians… and Wholly Made Up

Cracked‘s J. Wisniewski  just published an entertaining article headlined 5 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About Ancient Civilizations.

Lie #3 is the tale of Christians being thrown to the lions by hard-hearted Roman emperors. In truth,

There are zero authentic accounts of Christian martyrdom in the Colosseum until over a century after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, not a single legitimate record exists of the Romans executing any Christians in the Colosseum. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Early Christian writers made up the entire narrative, starting in the second century A.D.

The “Martyr Acts” were stories about the church’s beginnings, when heroic men and women professed their faith in spite of terrible torture and suffering. This “sacred pornography of cruelty” was hugely popular — if you were a literate Christian living in Imperial Rome, the Martyr Acts were your Harry Potter. With symbolism even less subtle than Dan Brown’s novels, the Martyr Acts told stories of good and pure Christians being trampled to death or decapitated by violent Roman officials. The Martyr Acts satisfied the desire of early Christians to: 1) read faith-affirming literature filled with heroes exemplifying pacifism, love, and forgiveness and 2) read faith-affirming literature overflowing with the violence, death, and destruction that made a story readable to Romans.

Call it persecution porn. Plus ça change…

You don’t have to take it on Wisniewski’s say-so. There’s ample academic proof for Cracked‘s claim, most notably in Candida Moss‘s 2013 book The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented A Story of Martyrdom. Moss, an Oxford- and Yale-educated professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame (of all places), writes that

“…the prosecution of Christians was rare, and the persecution of Christians was limited to no more than a handful of years.”

In an interview with Religion News Service, she explains what she finds especially problematic about Christianity’s ongoing persecution complex as it exists in the modern-day U.S.:

 When people talk about being persecuted in modern America, I think it’s dangerous. I’m talking about everyone from Rick Santorum to Mitt Romney to Catholic bishops, and Bill O’Reilly talking about a war on Easter. The problem with this is that it destroys dialogue. Persecutors don’t have legitimate complaints so you can’t really have productive discussions.

But you can disagree with someone sharply on the basis of your religious beliefs without accusing them of persecution. When you say they’re persecuting you, you’re basically accusing them of acting with Satan.

No one is saying that Christians don’t face actual, provable persecution. They do — in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China. In the West, however, the same allegation is absurd, perhaps nowhere more so than in the United States, with its 76% Christian majority and its 95% Christian Congress.

When American Christians yelp about being discriminated against, it is doubly galling: for one, because the whole thing is so obviously spun out of thin air; and also because such claims make light of Christians elsewhere who really do get a raw deal from their governments.

Says Moss:

It’s a “boy who cried wolf” situation. One of the reasons we are not hearing about them is because of all of the cries of persecution here — and local cries about persecution overshadow the global ones. We do need to hear those stories about Christians in other parts of the world, but we need to make sure that instead of talking about the global war on Christianity — which a lot of Christian and Catholic reporters have done — that we tell the story in a way that doesn’t do violence to other persecuted groups.

In the words of the Daily Beast, Christians link their sufferings to those of Jesus,

and align the source of those sufferings with the forces that killed Jesus. From the very beginning, victimhood was hardwired into the Christian psyche.

After 2,000 years, it’s time to give up the act.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Art_Vandelay

    and align the source of those sufferings with the forces that killed Jesus. From the very beginning, victimhood was hardwired into the Christian psyche.

    It’s curious too because if you believe that the blood sacrifice of the son of God was a fulfilled prophecy and you believe in the holy trinity, the forces that killed Jesus was…himself. If it’s martyrdom and victim-hood that you’re attracted to, you really couldn’t pick a more contrived martyr. Dude took a 36 hour nap…35 if they did it on the weekend they set the clocks back.*

    (Last line blatantly stolen from a Mr. Deity sketch)

    • Suzanne Spiers

      I am not sure if you have ever read the Bible and I am sure by your comment that you have not understood the account of Jesus’s death and resurrection. He would have preferred not to be crucified and died and tortured in the way that he was. If you have watched ‘The Passion of the Christ’ you will see what it was like for Jesus to have gone through that experience. He chose to go through this because He was both fully God and fully man and was also sinless. Under the old covenant, a sacrifice needed to be made and the children of Israel used unblemished animals in this way. It was to represent the true sacrifice that was in the form of Jesus, who sacrificed His life so that we could have eternal life and be forgiven for our sins. Jesus was no victim. He understood His purpose and willingly carried it out. He prayed deeply in the hours prior to being taken away to trial and execution that ‘this cup be taken from me, but your will, not mine, be done’. I wonder if you have read the accounts of those who saw the empty tomb and those who saw Jesus in person after his death and resurrection. One historian of the time, Josephus, who was not a Christian, but rather a historian, chronicled these accounts. Perhaps you might like to read them and perhaps you might like to read the Scriptural accounts of who Jesus actually claimed He was.

      • DMB

        Spin it however you want. But when you are omnipotent you don’t get to say “They did this to me.” You had to have seen it coming. Or your not omnipotent and therefor not a god. Those are the only two choices.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Jesus never acted like a victim. He willingly chose to lay down His life and this was prophesied many years before His birth and death. He is omnipotent because He is both God and man and He is the only person ever to die and to be resurrected. Although he did cause his good friend Lazarus to be restored to life after he had been dead and stinking for some days. Read the works of Josephus, a Jewish historian from the first century who was a contemporary of Jesus and was born in 37.

          • b s

            Born a few years after Jesus died really doesn’t make one a contemporary.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Even though Josephus was born in 37, he would have had access to many people who were around when Jesus was engaged in His ministry. To suggest that what Josephus has to say is not valid, perhaps this would also include all contemporary historians writing about things that occurred not just within this century but over more than 1000 years ago. People are quite happy to accept what historians write about other historical figures and times, so I wonder why there is so much consternation about Jesus? Interesting! Josephus at least was born in the same century and within a few years of Jesus’s death, when he would have had the knowledge of Jesus that was present at the time.

              • Pofarmer

                Now, C’mon. Let’s say Jesus was crucified in 30. At the age of 30. Josephus was born in 37. Maybe he started doing the historian Gig at 20(I doubt it was that young, but) Let’s say that the avg age of Jesus followers was the same age as he was. That would put them in their late 60′s, at a time when the avg life expectancy was probably in the mid 40′s or so for a male. In other words, it would have been slim pickings for actual “contemporaries.”

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well, what do you have to say about other historians writing about history in centuries long ago when they certainly were not alive. Does that make them inaccurate even if they do their research well? At least Josephus was born in the same century and he would have had access to information in his time and also had access to those who knew about Jesus. Did Hadrian not exist, or Caligula, or Queen Elizabeth1? These are all historical figures who have been written about. I am sure that you are aware of their existence and would take note of what historians have to say about them. What makes Josephus any different? Or perhaps it is his subject matter that is challenging!

                • Pofarmer

                  THere is more than likely ACTUAL contemporary works for those mentioned, as well a their own work in their own words, plus architectural evidence and much more. It’s interesting that there is zero architectural evidence for Jesus from his lifetime.

          • Dower_House

            There is so much doubt and debate about Josephus’s account that it really is irrelevant. Do read both pro and anti literature to gain a wider insight.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Perhaps there is doubt about Josephus’s accounts of history of his time. I have observed that all the people commenting about the reality of Jesus’s birth, death and resurrection on this site have not actually read any of the Scriptures in any depth and those who purport to have done so, have not even understood what they have read about the passages they have quoted. Interesting!

              • Glasofruix

                Scriptures are not proof or evidence of anything…

              • Dower_House

                Please don’t tell me what I have or have not read. Please do not tell me that I have not understood what I have read. You have no way of knowing.

                Your message conveys to me considerable arrogance and closed-mindedness – your (and your teachers) interpretation is the only one that is possible it seems?!

                To quote Hitch – I assume you have read him? -:

                “You give me the awful impression of, I hate to have to say it, of someone who hasn’t read any of the arguments against your position, ever”

                You also say:
                ” but the one thing that is not [up for discussion], is the birth, death and actual resurrection of Jesus Christ”

                Sorry this is very much up for discussion – read Richard Carrier, Bart Ehrmann, G A Wells, Gauvin etc. etc.. Wikipedia has a long and well referenced article on the mythology of Jesus. Current consensus in the academic world seems to be that Jesus did exist as a person but that the gospels can not be relied upon – but because of the numerous contradictions in the gospels you will be aware of this already (birth place, which King was alive at birth, was there a census, lineage variations of his non-father etc. etc..).

                Of course the Gospels are also in doubt because of the lack of original copies, that they were written a long time after Jesus died, that they are copies of copies of copies and we have proof of tampering in some copies. and the youngest copy is about three hundred years old. They were also written in Greek (not translated) and that is odd for faith based on Aramaic speakers.

          • Sarah

            Josephus says that Hercules was a real person, do you believe in Hercules?

            • Suzanne Spiers

              The only part of what Josephus was writing that is relevant here in this discussion is the part where he refers to the historical Jesus.

              • Glasofruix

                And being a liar in other areas qualify him as a reliable source?

              • phantomreader42

                And that part is a known forgery. But the part about the historical Hercules ISN’T a known forgery. So why should we believe the ridiculous claims that are known to be forgeries, but NOT the ridiculous claims that aren’t forgeries? Why believe any of those ridiculous claims at all? Oh, yeah, because the forged one is convenient to your cult. That’s not actually a good reason.

      • Greg G.

        Mark’s Jesus seems reluctant and somewhat afraid. Luke’s Jesus is much braver and forgiving everybody invoved. It’s the big book of multiple choice. Do you choose the Synoptic version where Jesus was killed after the Passover or John’s version where he was killed before it? It’s an interesting story when you look at how it is assembled. The seams are apparent. It’s a manufactured fiction.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Hmm. You could present these arguments and go back and forth as many scholars have done over the years. The Christian faith however, is reliant on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is God and who came in the flesh to be the one true sacrifice for our sins. We can argue about lots of things such as whether Adam and Eve were real people, whether Noah’s ark actually existed, whether we should celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday or a Sunday, or even if and when the Earth came into being or whether there were dinosaurs. All of these things are up for discussion, but the one thing that is not, is the birth, death and actual resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you can prove that Jesus did not die and was not resurrected, then you would have a good case for Christianity to be a faith for imbeciles or people of little intelligence. Many have tried and cannot disprove that Jesus was not who He claimed to be. You might like to read the works of Josephus who was a historian who lived in the first century. He writes an account of the actual death and resurrection of Jesus and also writes about the many people who witnessed His physical presence following His resurrection. Josephus also talks about the many, many miracles that Jesus performed throughout His ministry. All the best and if you are able to show me where I have gone wrong in my understanding and my inaccuracies regarding factual knowledge, feel free to advise me. Cheers.

          • Brian Hogg

            Whether or not dinosaurs is not up for discussion, at least not if you’re remotely scientifically literate.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Didn’t know that dinosaurs had much to do with Science.

              • Glasofruix

                You really are an idiot then…

                • Blacksheep

                  Always rude, Glaso. Always a comment thoughtfully intended not to make someone feel good.

                • Glasofruix

                  Well, reality is harsh sometimes.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Perhaps you need to be educated to use the English language effectively. If your only response is to call people names, then you have a long way to go. Unfortunate being that you are.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  “Unfortunate being that you are”

                  Thinks people who call others names are mean.
                  Immediately follows with a personal insult.

                  You have a long way to go, Suzanne.

                • Glasofruix

                  Unfortunate being that you are.

                  Ooooooooh, me sad, me thinks you mean.

                  FYI, i’m educated enough to speak 5 languages and not to take fairy tales and mythology seriously.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Tsk tsk, your lack of the ability to use words in an intelligent manner demonstrates your lack of ability to communicate intelligently. Name-calling no less. A form of bullying! Very mature – NOT!

          • Glasofruix

            So being born AFTER the alleged facts, makes you a credible historian?

            • Suzanne Spiers

              I am not a historian. However, Josephus was a historian who was born in the same century as Jesus and he had quite a bit to say about Jesus. You might like to read his works.

              • Glasofruix

                So what? It doesn’t change the fact that he was born after the events and started his investigation way later. Considering how bad the first christians were about keeping historical records (and the authors of the bible are widely known for getting proven historical facts wrong) i would not even consider giving him much credit.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Does that apply to all historians or only Josephus?

                • Glasofruix

                  Josephus is a fraud whose work was based on folklore, real historians don’t base their finding on hearsays.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  So, are you saying that modern day historians who live many centuries away from the original events are not basing their findings on hearsay. I mean, their original sources would be long dead! Where is your proof for what you are saying about Josephus?

                • phantomreader42

                  It applies to all historians whose work is known to have been fraudulently edited by death cultists with a motive to lie.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  So where is your proof that what you are saying is accurate. You have made statements that have no support with facts.

              • edb3803

                Actually, it’s been shown that the (one) writing by Josephus about (the legendary) Jesus was most likely embellished some time later, probably by some ‘true christians’ who wanted to create more ‘evidence’ that their (mythological) leader once existed.

                The writings of Josephus are the best evidence for a real Jesus, and they fall far short of anything convincing.

              • phantomreader42

                Actually, Josephus said little or nothing about jesus. It’s well-documented that christian frauds inserted fake references to jesus in the works of Josephus in a desperate attempt to manufacture evidence for their delusions. If your cult really had the truth on its side, it wouldn’t need to lie constantly.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  If that is true, where is your proof? I have read Josephus’s account of Jesus and there are several references to Him. Read it for yourself. Incidentally, Christianity is not a cult as you suggest but rather a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. At least get your facts right.

                • phantomreader42

                  So, you can’t be bothered to offer a speck of evidence in support of your claims, but you expect others to do what you yourself refuse to do. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with hypocrites?

                • glebealyth

                  Actually, Suzanne, a text search of an electronic copy of Josephus reveals only ONE reference to Jesus, as in the putative Christ, NOT several.

                  I fear you are over-egging your pudding, again.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Perhaps you should look again.

                • glebealyth

                  Perhaps you could supply us with a list, as you already have it, else you could not gainsay my comment so quickly.

                  You could let us have the benefit of your knowledge, rather than your speculation.

                  ;o)

              • evodevo

                No he didn’t.

          • Randay

            Jesus never existed, so there is no need for proof of birth, death, and ressurection. As most all Xians, you have no sense of humor and are as boring as hell. As I previously noted, not one word was written by or about Jesus during his supposed life. You just ignore inconvenient facts. But facts for Xians don’t have the importance of delusion.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Really! On what do you base this statement? You also state that Christians have no sense of humour. You state that they are boring as … I actually have an excellent sense of humour and I certainly live a very interesting and satisfying life, so don’t really think you know much. Perhaps it is you who has no sense of humour and perhaps you are the boring one and are projecting that on others. Takes one to know one! There is a lot of information about Jesus and if He did not exist, why is our present calendar modelled after Him BC and AD of the Roman calendar? Why is Christmas and Easter celebrated. I suppose you have heard of Christmas and Easter and I suppose that you have encountered such a thing as a calendar during your time on Earth.

              • SphericalBunny

                Congrats, you have now ‘proved’ that gods such as Janus + Thor exist. I suppose you do use the names of months and days, right?

                Stunning argumentation there.

              • Stev84

                Both Christmas and Easter are based on pagan festivals stolen by the Christians. Christmas is a winter solstice festival, and Easter (named after a Germanic goddess) is a fertility ritual. Why else is it celebrated around the spring equinox and has rabbits and eggs?

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Christmas is celebrated by Christians to mark the birth of Christ. It may have originally, as you suggest, been based on a pagan festival. Same for Easter except that Christians use it to mark the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

                • Glasofruix

                  Basically stolen holidays designed to overshadow those pesky pagan rituals.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Except used to celebrate Jesus and what He did for all people everywhere, including you.

                • Glasofruix

                  Is your brain in a working condition? Xtian celebrations are nothing more than a marketing ploy destined to destroy pagan rituals, it’s no coincidence they happen at the same exact time. And besides, there’s no mention in the bible when jesus were born, if i remember correctly, theologians think it’s somewhere between summer and autumn.

                  Oh, and jesus never did anything for me, for all i know he never existed, and if he did, he died long time before my birth.

              • Randay

                We now use CE and BCE for the Common Era and Before the Common Era. The first xian calendar had to be revised because it was accurate enough. It still forgets to add the year ZER0 so we jump from -1 to +1. What sense does that make?

                • glebealyth

                  Randray, there is not, nor was there ever, a year zero.
                  It is in the nature of zero that it has no duration.
                  Year 1 CE/AD began at the moment of Jesus supposed birth, or the moment arbitrarily decided was the time of this fictitious event.

                • Randay

                  At the time, they did not know ZERO. But Jesus was not born 1 year old. Centuries later when the number came from India by way of the Arabs, the Catholic church in its Catholic wisdom comdemned it as the work of the devil. But businessmen found it useful and as usual they prevailed.

                • glebealyth

                  Matters not.

                  10 minutes after Jesus’ birth was ten minutes into year ONE, not Zero

                  0.5 is half of 1, not half of 0.

                • Randay

                  When a baby is born, we don’t count it as one-year old. We celebrate its first birthday one year later, not its second. So when it is born it is at point zero. Then we start counting: one day, one month, etc.

                  When we launch a rocket, we count down 5,4,3,2,1, 0(lift off) and then we count up, 1,2,3,4, 5…Lift off is not at -1, so we don’t jump from -1 to +1.

                  Our calendar compresses 2 years into one. So a baby born in 1 BCE, would it be one year old in 1 CE, or two?

                • glebealyth

                  That’s right, we start counting as ONE day old.
                  Babies have an age of zero only at the moment they leave the birth canal and the umbilicus is severed.

                  At 6 months old, they are 0.5 of ONE year old, not 0.5 of Zero years old.
                  The latter case would mean the child does not exist, as
                  0.5 x 0 = 0!

                  Zero has no duration and is a point through which we pass in counting

                  Day 1 of the new diet you start as aNew Year’s Resolution begins at midnight as the New Year is Celebrated – if you begin your diet on New Year’s Day. It is not Day 0, otherwise day 1 of your diet would be Jan 2nd.

                  Mathematically and logically, time zero is when time started.
                  1 picosecond later is one picosend into year (or whatever unit is being used) ONE. You have left zero behind.

                  The whole confusion was fostered by ignorant marketroids working for companies that did not want to wait for the actual beginning of the 21st Century to profit from the celebrations and who hoped that when the real celebrations happened on 01/01/2001, that they could cash in twice.

                  Think of it i terms of apples.

                  You have not eaten 100 apples until you have consumed apple #100.
                  Until you started eating, you had consumed zero apples.
                  The moment you took your first bite, you were eating appl #1, not apple #0.
                  Hence4, the century ended at the end of year 2000.

                  Similarly, BCE ended at the end of year -1 and CE began at the beginning of year +1. Zero was not a year but a transition point which was passed through but had no duration.

                  Your baby, born in 1 BCE would have it’s first birthday in 1 CE.

              • Randay

                Well, you didn’t respond to my mentions of Mr. Deity nor of Patty Smith. How many xian comedians do you know of? “Takes one to know one” is a double-edged sword.

                Information about Jesus is rare and there is none during his lifetime. Paul, who never knew Jesus, first writes about the character in 50-60 CE, about 20 years after his alleged death, and has only a couple of references to Jesus’ life. Josephus wrote one or two passages in 93-94 CE and likely got them hearsay from xian sources. Josephus didn’t mention him in a book he wrote 20 years earlier, the Jewish War. The works of Josephus mention 20 different people with the name Jesus. Tacitus wrote once about him in 116 CE, also from hearsay.

            • Blacksheep

              “Jesus never existed…”

              Your opinion goes against virtually all of educated society from every branch of belief (or lack thereof).

              • Glasofruix

                Buddhist or taoists don’t give a flying fuck about jeebus, and some of them have a better education than the average christian.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Sure they do because they are Buddhists and Taoists and obviously NOT Christians as you have pointed out. It does not mean that Christianity is not valid. Oh, I forgot! Are you also saying that all Buddhists and Taoists have better educations? Tsk Tsk! I suppose you have conducted a survey of all the Buddhists and Taoists in the world to be able to support that premise!

                • Glasofruix

                  Oh please, a 4 year old chinese kid can take the likes of you on without breaking a sweat.

                  Anyway, he said that every educated society believes in jeebus, i proved him wrong.

              • Randay

                Wrong! Just because “virtually all of educated society[how do you know that?]” thinks it, doesn’t make it right. Skepticism about the existence of Jesus goes back to at least the 18th century. For a contemporary analysis, see Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uxvH02nGCY

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  You are obviously skeptical about the existence of Jesus too. Isn’t it amazing that He has the power to create such vehement emotion as people do their best to discount His existence or to discount the existence of a creator God. You cannot disprove that Jesus existed. Many have tired and failed, but go for it. Then let me know what you discover!

                • Glasofruix

                  The burden of proof is on you, not on us. Anyway, i’m still waiting for you to disprove my purple monkey god on saturn.

                • Randay

                  Well, I see part of your brain is functioning as you cleverly deduced that I am skeptical about existence of Jesus. You can’t prove that Jesus existed as there is no real evidence. You know, evidence makes things a little more credible to me. I have no more emotion, vehement or other, than I do about Heracles or Thor. At least they had interesting stories about them. Jesus stories are really mickey mouse in comparison.

                  Discounting your imaginary God is easy. I discount all the thousands of the other imaginary friends, er, gods that people have created too.

              • glebealyth

                ALL educated society once believed that the Sun orbited the Earth.

                Did that make it correct?

          • Greg G.

            Hi Suzanne,

            Do I know you from talk.origins?

            Except for the Sabbath, you are willing to discuss things that have strong evidence against Bible interpretations. That which has no evidence you put out of bounds.

            Paul says the Jews demand signs and the Greeks demand wisdom but he can’t provide either because he doesn’t know anything about a miracle worker ir a wise teacher. He only preaches Christ crucified which he supports with OT verses but not with anecdotes of a first century person. None of the pregospel epistles support miracles, teachings, or theology of a first century person.

            Various scholars, some Christian, have pointed out the sources Mark used from the literature of the day. When they are combined, nearly every passage is accounted for so it doesn’t appear that the gospel stories come from oral traditions either.

            Josephus was born about year 37 so he would have required his own sources. He may have read Mark and believed it. It’s not as if he never presents religious texts as history.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Hello Greg. No, I do not think I have encountered you before. I am not sure what you mean by ‘no evidence’ By this, I suppose you mean that the Scriptures are not considered appropriate or valid evidence. I am also not sure what you mean by ‘Pre-gospel epistles’ The only epistles of which I am aware are those written by Paul to the various churches. I get annoyed when I hear or see people write about the Scriptures as if they have no validity when they misquote them for a start and use the Old Testament as an argument to support their ideas that God is this way or that. Perhaps if they stopped disparaging the New Testament and actually read what it says with an open heart they might learn something valuable. Christianity is after all a faith that is experienced by the individual. People can try to prove or disprove many things, including what Scripture says. Josephus wrote what he did in his manuscripts and since he is dead, I imagine that like any historian, people need to read what he has written just like they would read what was written by historians about any time in history. Are they inaccurate or saying falsehoods? Each person must make up his or her own mind about issues of faith.

              • Greg G.

                Hi Suzanne,

                If you are the Suzanne who has posted at TO for several years, then I do remember you. You had many correspondents so I wouldn’t expect you to remember me. There were many Gregs with a last initial G but for most of my posts I signed off as Greg G. with the period. There was once a different Greg G without the period.

                By pre-gospel epistles, I would eliminate those that are thought to be much later than Paul’s authentic writings. The late epistles include 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter.

                What is wrong with quoting the OT? Paul and James quote the OT to make their arguments. They never use a Jesus quote even when it would have made their argument much stronger. Both seem to get their information from the OT. The Epistle of James appears to be answering Galatians bringing out OT verses to refute Paul’s arguments from OT verses. The last three verses of Romans tells us Paul thinks he’s uncovering mysteries that have been hidden in the scriptures for centuries but is now being revealed.

                Faith is a poor reason to believe something and it is worse to act on those beliefs.

                One can read historians without taking everything they say as gospel. If we did, we’d have to think Alexander the Great had supernatural abilities, too. If Josephus had written the Testimonium Flavianum as we have it, I expect Origen would have commented on it. Many scholars think a reduced form of it may have been embellished. The reduced form corresponds phrase for phrase with Luke’s Emmaus road testimony. I think the evidence shows that Luke used Josephus as a source and a muse, so I take that as evidence that Josephus probably did write a reduced form of it.

                Nobody should make their mind up based on faith. One’s opinions should be held according to the strength of one’s evidence.

          • SphericalBunny

            “…or even if and when the Earth came into being…”

            if

            I have never before seen even the dimmest of lackwits question whether the planet they’re living on actually exists. Truly you are plumbing new intellectual depths.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Really! I wonder if you have ever thought about all the forms of life on Earth and the ways in which they interact with each other. People have tried to create mechanical organs and these do not function perfectly as the healthy organs they are replacing, do. Have you ever considered how the Earth came into being and how it is kept in place and what keeps it in place? Surely an intelligence has something to do with this. I like to think of this intelligence as the God who created this universe. Perhaps you are the ignorant dim lackwit! I do not doubt that this Earth I live on exists, but there are theories about how it came into existence. Your arrogance does not make you an attractive conversationalist!

              • Glasofruix

                People have tried to create mechanical organs and these do not function perfectly as the healthy organs they are replacing, do.

                Well, a few years back you could die from an infected appendix, now it’s just a mild inconvenience, science tends to progress with time, shocking i know. No proof of skyfairy here.

                Have you ever considered how the Earth came into being and how it is kept in place and what keeps it in place?

                Exploding stars and gravity, on other words laws of physics. You know, there’s that thing called science which given the time explains more and more things humand don’t understand.

                Surely an intelligence has something to do with this

                Nope

                I like to think of this intelligence as the God who created this universe.

                Which god?

                but there are theories about how it came into existence.

                There are scientific theories and wishful thinking, believing really hard in something does not make it true.

                Your arrogance does not make you an attractive conversationalist!

                Christians believe skyfairy created the universe just for us, and we’re the arrogant ones?

                • Art_Vandelay

                  Well, a few years back you could die from an infected appendix, now it’s just a mild inconvenience, science tends to progress with time, shocking i know. No proof of skyfairy here.

                  The appendix has always been the nail in the coffin for “design” for me. We have a fucking organ that not only serves no purpose but we’d be better off without it? It’s like this ticking time-bomb of vestigial doom!

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  *Adds “Vestigial Doom” to possible death metal band names*

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  The annoying part is that we will never get rid of it. There’s no selection pressure for it to get smaller than it is now, because if it did, it would get infected more often. And it’s very very unlikely that another mutation will arise and spread that is good enough to outweigh that.

                • Art_Vandelay

                  Yeah, but eventually we’ll have wings so we won’t give a shit.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Hmm. Perhaps a God that created the universe and everything in it has something to do with it also. You are arrogant if you think you can simply think that you are right to suppose that God does not exist. You cannot prove that He doesn’t.

                • Glasofruix

                  Times again, you have to prove that your god exists, not us to disprove that it doesn’t. And so far you proved nothing.

                • glebealyth

                  Absolute tosh.

                  It is logically impossible to prove a negative – ANY NEGATIVE – which is why you pose it in an attempt to justify refusing to provide proof for the extraordinary claim you make about the existence of a god.

                • phantomreader42

                  You cannot prove that Blurdiggeldy-florp does not exist, can you Suzanne?

              • SphericalBunny

                Well, it is difficult to enter into a conversation with someone whose head is inserted so magnificently far up their rectum that they can observe the digestion of their own dinner.

                You questioned whether the planet we live on actually existed whilst simultaneously claiming that we couldn’t question whether Jesus existed on it, you’ve lied repeatedly about Josephus being a contemporary of Jesus and a reliable source, you’ve compared homosexuality to bestiality, and you’ve claimed the calendar as evidence for your God whilst being too dumb to grasp it would therefore also provide evidence for many other gods; and all this whilst admitting you have no proof or evidence for your God (against your own calender claims), yet stating that other people don’t understand because your wishful thinking and a fictional book makes you really believe it’s real. You are full of arrogance, hubris and horseshit.

                I shouldn’t have called you the dimmest of lackwits; this is obviously a compliment that you can only dream of aspiring to.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  I do not question the fact of the Earth’s existence and do not know what makes you think that. I also think that you have a way to go to learn how to be polite. You are certainly extremely rude and crass! You make a number of statements that make no sense. Josephus was born in the first century in 37. I am not sure what makes him any less a reliable source than any other historian. I have not compared homosexuality to bestiality. I am saying that homosexual acts are things that God does not condone and He also does not condone bestiality. Unless you are really not tuned in, these are separate things but both considered sinful in nature. Many cultures recognised many gods and some cultures still do. However, the God that I worship and to whom I pray is the creator God who made the heavens and the Earth. If you are implying that I am the ‘dimmest of lackwits, full of arrogance, hubris and horseshit’ well, people are mirrors so welcome to yourself. It takes one to know one and I guess, sadly that you are all of these things. You cannot even make a valid argument and back it up with fact. Not only that, but you have not really studied the Scriptures and have absolutely no idea about them except your own thoughts. At least I have studied them.

                • SphericalBunny

                  Did you miss the bit where you said that, or the bit where I quoted your own words?

                  “…or even if and when the Earth came into being…”

                  Dumb as pigshit, and caught lying again. And no, not using delicate flowery prose does nothing to negate the point.

                  “I am not sure what makes him any less a reliable source than any other historian.”

                  Well, you could try reading the other 100-odd comments on this, but I’m sure you’d rather stay ignorant + disingenuous.

                  “I have not compared homosexuality to bestiality.”

                  Yeah. And if I were to bang on about the multitude of both Christians and imbeciles in the world, I would in no way be implying connotations between the two.

                  “Not only that, but you have not really studied the Scriptures and have absolutely no idea about them except your own thoughts.”

                  The arrogance of assumption. Well, ‘people are mirrors’, so for you to say that means you haven’t either. Your logic :)

                  “At least I have studied them.”

                  Oh, so you lied about the mirror thing, right? Shocker. Yes I noted your claimed credentials were graduating from a theological college. I guess my degree in religion and philosophy trumps your education if you want to resort to arguments from authority.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Tsk tsk tsk, all you can do is call names. I do not think that you are capable of intelligent conversation. Even Kindergarten children are more able to converse politely than you. I think it interesting that you are so reactive. So you think that you are so clever because you have a theological degree and one in philosophy? Well, you certainly are full of your ego and just because you have these degrees, they haven’t made you particularly intelligent. You may have a degree in religion but you certainly are not spiritual and all you can do is name-call and argue. You also know nothing about Scripture that makes any sense except to disparage it without any proof. All the things that you have called me are really what you think about yourself!

                • Glasofruix

                  So one of you is an actual thelogian (you know, someone who knows stuff about religion) and the other one is what? A kindergarten teacher or something?

                • SphericalBunny

                  Not a theologian; theology assumes an existing belief. It’s a study of religion ‘from the inside’ – *how* should we worship god/s rather than *should* we worship god/s. Theology tends to also stick with just the one religion for the previous reasons. Religious studies however, are done as an external observer; personal beliefs are irrelevant. They’re more likely to cover a range of practises + beliefs. God/s existence is also irrelevant; the study is focused on the behaviour of other humans. I did philosophy for the existential questions :)

                • SphericalBunny

                  “Tsk tsk tsk, all you can do is call names.”

                  Well, and make points. With quotes. Of your actual words. Which you’re unable to acknowledge or refute. But hey, at least you’ve got incoherent whining down to an art form.

                  It is apparently impossible to hold an intelligent conversation with someone who questions the existence of the Earth, and thinks that intelligence and politeness are synonyms.

                  “I think it interesting that you are so reactive.”

                  I find it interesting that you seem completely unaware that you’ve spent 15 hours spewing your vacuous bullshit all over this thread in multitudinous comments…yet think my 4 comments are ‘reactive’.

                  “So you think that you are so clever because you have a theological degree and one in philosophy?”

                  No, I know I’m smarter than you because I can read for comprehension (1 degree in philosophy + religion – not 2, not theology. Yes there’s a difference. No, I’m not surprised you didn’t know). I’m also smarter because I can use reason (I only brought up my credentials because you crowed about having gone to theological college. Argument from authority; countered + surpassed in kind). There’s also the fact that you’re desperately having to scrabble for strawmen because you can’t address anything I actually say – I never claimed to be spiritual, and I haven’t bothered commenting on scripture.

                  “All the things that you have called me are really what you think about yourself!”

                  Ah, the ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ level of school yard argumentation. I can see now why you brought up Kindergarten children; they are obviously your peers, contemporaries and role models.

                • Randay

                  “It takes one to know one” Dimwit, you used that in a response to me, and as I said, it is a double-edged sword. It is obvious that you think the more you say the same inanities, the more believable they become.

                  Reading the Scriptures is the only thing you need to do, studying them is a waste of time. Not only are you dishonest, but you are a coward. You never respond to me but search for suckers.

                • Jim Jones

                  > “However, the God that I worship and to whom I pray is the creator God who made the heavens and the Earth.”

                  I am the one and only God. Worship Me — or else.

              • Jim Jones

                > “People have tried to create mechanical organs and these do not function perfectly as the healthy organs they are replacing, do.”

                Point? We don’t fly around the world in planes powered with birds. As for the replacement organs, we’re growing better and better ones and eventually they’ll be near perfect – or better than.

          • Art_Vandelay

            If you can prove that Jesus did not die and was not resurrected, then you would have a good case for Christianity to be a faith for imbeciles or people of little intelligence. Many have tried and cannot disprove that Jesus was not who He claimed to be.

            No but I love this game! Okay, now I’d like for you to prove that Thor didn’t conquer the stone-brained giants attempting to overthrow Odin and take over Valhalla. Go.

          • evodevo

            If Adam and Eve were not “real”, then there was no Original Sin, and therefore no justification for a “sacrifice”. Sorry. the whole Jesus resurrection thing was made up out of whole cloth by a group of grieving Disciples. Your story doesn’t track.

          • Jim Jones

            > “We can argue about lots of things such as whether Adam and Eve were real people, whether Noah’s ark actually existed, whether we should celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday or a Sunday, or even if and when the Earth came into being or whether there were dinosaurs. All of these
            things are up for discussion.”

            No they aren’t. Adam and Eve are fictional, just like Moses, Abraham, Noah, Cain, Abel …. and Jesus. And we know when the Earth came into being and that there were dinosaurs.

      • Eric Sotnak

        “Under the old covenant, a sacrifice needed to be made and the children of Israel used unblemished animals in this way. It was to represent the true sacrifice that was in the form of Jesus, who sacrificed His life so that we could have eternal life and be forgiven for our sins”

        This makes no sense. I’m not even close to omnipotent and I can forgive people without anyone having to make a blood sacrifice to me, first.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Well, in many religions, sacrifice is a necessary tenet of that religion and it is also true of the Jewish people. The animal sacrifices that were made at that time were meant to be representative of the one true sacrifice that would come in the form of the Messiah aka Jesus. Whether you realise it or not, I wonder if you have ever considered where the concept of forgiveness comes from or why you would even think to forgive anyone if it is worthless concept. In Scripture, God says that He has written His laws on human hearts. Interestingly, how do people know the difference between right and wrong and where did they get the idea that there were certain ways that are acceptable to behave. So, perhaps God has had more of an influence on your life than you are consciously aware of. I am glad that you have the capacity to forgive people, to what extent and for what wrongs, only you know. Just be aware that Jesus died on the cross for everyone, you included, because God is well aware that humans are anything but omnipotent and constantly need forgiveness as they grow and learn.

          • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

            Suzanne, no one dies in My place. I pay My own debts and I want no part of a human sacrifice, temporary or not.

            As for forgiveness, I think that it’s a psychological process that happens naturally when one has satisfactorily finished processing a negative event and is ready to let go of it.

            And as for morality, that’s quite simple: There is a natural bias towards moral behaviour in successful cultures. Groups that attack their own members just don’t tend to last all that long, leaving better-behaved tribes to carry on for another generation.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Well, Jesus did die for you and for all humanity. Sure you pay your own debts, as do we all, but nobody could pay for the sin that we all carry. It is in our nature and not necessarily something that we do. The behavours that we exhibit are simply symptoms of the human condition which affects us all. Jesus was not a human sacrifice as such, being wholly God and wholly man and He was resurrected so is not dead. As for forgiveness, that is a process and necessary for the one forgiving. It is not about letting anyone off the hook but rather letting go and not giving that person any more energy. What happened is in the past and cannot be undone. I find it very freeing. There are a lot of things that have happened in my life that were extremely painful and the perpetrators have never apologised and are never likely to do so. If I was to hang on to anger or bitterness in the hope that they might change, I would be the one who would suffer. I prefer to live freely and happily with joy. The perpetrators have to live with what they have done and I am not their judge. I am not a moral person and know my dark side and my shadow extremely well. I am under no illusions. This side of me does not control me and is not projected on others. As I become aware of certain aspects of myself that are destructive, I deal with them and do the necessary work to put them in their right place. It is an ongoing work as it is for all conscious people. The only difference between me and someone who is not a Christian is that I happen to have a faith that sustains me and is intelligent. People might say that there is no God, but really, they do not know that and cannot prove it because it is a faith-based thing. I do read the Scriptures and I do pray and the scriptures actually have a lot of positive practices and wisdom that can benefit people. Each person can accept or reject God as they will.

          • Randay

            So Jesus was just another animal sacrifice. This is known as the scapegoat in many cultures and religions. Once again “In Scripture” means nothing. It is “evidence” of nothing. There was not a word written by or about Jesus during his pretend life time. As Patty Smith sang, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy9fs3cndrQ

          • Brian Hogg

            People know the difference between right and wrong — as do members of so many other species — because we’ve evolved to be moral beings, because that’s more productive than the alternative.

            Science explains this; the concept of a god is an unnecessary and unsatisfactory bit that people tack on.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              people know the difference between right and wrong. As for other beings, I do not think that they have the language capacity or the ability to reason as do human beings. I would also like to say that although people know the difference between right and wrong, many people do not act in a moral way; just look at all the violence and war that is seen on a regular basis; alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, domestic violence, hate crimes – the list could continue ad infinitum. I am interested in how you perceive that Science explains the concept of a god being an ‘unnecessary bit that people tack on. What scientific studies say that? If you know of any studies that are rigorous with unskewed data, I would be interested in knowing about these.

          • Glasofruix

            Interestingly, how do people know the difference between right and wrong
            and where did they get the idea that there were certain ways that are
            acceptable to behave.

            It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a divinely inspired prophet to get the fact that bashing the skulls of the people you live with is a bad idea…

          • brindlethorpe

            So animal sacrifice was a Jewish cultural tradition. Ok. But why would God conform to a barbaric cultural ritual — in fact raising the bar to human sacrifice? Can you imagine God thinking, “Well, these sorry humans think they have to kill something to earn forgiveness. Who am I to go against their tradition? I guess I had better conform to their cultural superstitions and show that I can forgive them by killing something really important!”

            Really?

            • Suzanne Spiers

              God did not conform to anything. He wanted the Children of Israel to offer animal sacrifices to atone for sin. These animal sacrifices were stopped once Jesus ushered in the new covenant. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins, we do not have to earn anything. It is a free gift and salvation cannot be earned. Jesus died for you on the cross. His sacrifice paid the price and was once for all.

              • brindlethorpe

                I still don’t get it. Why did there have to be any sacrifices at all – especially on the part of God? What’s the point of being God if you can’t just say, “Let the tradition of buying forgiveness through sacrifice be ended!” Instead, we have this weird situation where God is saying, “I really want to end the old covenant and start a new one, but my hands are tied. I’m bound by the language of the old covenant. I should have hired a different lawyer when we drafted that relic. I guess I’d better find a legal loophole. I know! If I become human and sacrifice myself, the infinite worth of the sacrifice will be enough to compensate for an infinite amount of sin, and no further sacrifices will be necessary!”

                But come on – surely God could have just said, “Hey, you puny mortals: no more sacrifices. I hereby declare all sins forgiven. Let’s start with a clean slate.”

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  According to Scripture, God created the world perfectly and planned for man to live in intimate relationship with Him. Man was given free will and it also became apparent that there was an aspect to his nature that has come to be called original sin. It is not something that people do, but something that we have within us that causes us to act in non-life supporting and destructive ways. People chose to go against the way that God desired and to go their own way. God loved humanity so He gave Moses the Law. God also knew that it was impossible to fully keep the law no matter how hard a person would try to live the perfect life. So, that is why blood sacrifice was necessary; to atone for sin. It was also the forerunner to the time when God would send His Son into the Earth to be the saviour. Since He was sinless, He could be the one who could rescue the human race from sin. Through Jesus, Christians have the ability to have their sins forgiven, because, being human, it is impossible to live a perfect life and we need forgiveness to keep the slate clean, It also means that we do not have to carry around old emotional and other baggage, but can get on with the business of living life. God cannot look upon sin because His nature is to be holy. However, when God looks on a Christian, that person is covered with the blood of Jesus and Jesus is the advocate for that person before God. That is the Christian view. Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice, so there was no longer any need for animal sacrifice.

                • Glasofruix

                  And since he’s omniscient he would have known that humans are trouble but he decided to make some anyway…

                • brindlethorpe

                  Suzanne, I appreciate that you are trying to answer the questions, here, but I have to say the concept of a blood sacrifice as atonement for sin just makes no sense. For argument’s sake, I’ll grant the idea of original sin (though I have problems with that, too). But How does killing and burning an animal have anything at all to do with earning forgiveness? Is it a dramatic way of proving that one is sincerely sorry? (“I’m so sorry, and I’ll prove it by killing and burning my prize goat.”) Why does it have to be a BLOOD sacrifice? (Wouldn’t my prize vase do just as well? Or maybe some nice flowers? I mean, would you want your husband to apologize for forgetting your anniversary by slaughtering a sheep?) It also seems pointless for an omniscient God who would always know whether or not someone was truly sorry or if they were insincere.
                  The problem is bigger when it comes to Jesus as sacrifice because he wasn’t offered up as a sacrifice by the people who needed forgiveness. God took it upon himself to do this. “Look, you guys just aren’t getting it. Let me make it easy for you by sacrificing something of infinite worth even though you aren’t on board with this plan. You can sign on later. Oh, but I’m also going to bring the sacrifice back so that it isn’t really a sacrifice at all. I’m going to do that to prove a completely different point, which is that there is life after death. Even though you already believe that.”
                  Do you see why I’m confused by all this?

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  LOL. I hope your goat doesn’t mind being eaten for dinner ha ha. I respect the way that you are genuinely seeking to understand what I have written. I was feeling rather cross and thinking that it is easier sometimes not to express what I believe. I am also feeling really upset because I do really care about my faith and when I responded to the people on here I felt really annoyed at some of the crass masculine responses I received. However, I do have a right to express myself and I do believe what I do and what the heck; if people don’t get it, it is too tiring to continue and I think I’ll go and play with my friends.

                  On a more serious note; the concept of blood sacrifice. In order to really get this understanding, it is important to have an understanding of the character of YWEH. God has many names according to the aspect of His character that is under question. The God that I believe in is holy God who cannot abide sin. A lot of people have an idea about sin but really, it means to not meet the mark. Human nature is such that it has an aspect to it that causes destruction and death when full-blown. The behaviours that people exhibit are simply symptoms of the underlying condition and there is no human alive who is free from this condition. It manifests in all sorts of ways such as addictions, gossip, lies, cheating, adultery, coveting what others have, lust for power and money; the list goes on. IT is ego at its worst. God realised that He had created man (collectively) with free will. He also realised that man was subject to this condition that can lead to both spiritual and actual physical death at its worst manifestation. Having struggled with my own human nature and worked very hard to get free, I understand the power of my own sinful nature and am under no illusions about its destructiveness in my own life and in the lives of some of the people who I love very much.
                  Anyway, God knew this and made a plan. The first one was to give man the Law, through Moses. The Children of Israel were to follow this Law and part of the Law mandated that blood sacrifice was to be made to atone for sin. God also knew that keeping the Law was impossible because man had his sinful nature. So the Law was a forerunner to the time when God would send His Son as a baby in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus was both man and God and did not sin. Therefore, He was the one true sacrifice who could be our saviour and give us eternal life. Jesus did not sin in His earthly life and He had come to Earth with a lowered form of His actual full power, so that the life that He lived would be the same as the lives of ordinary people. He knew that He would go to to cross for us and He also knew that He would rise on the third day following the crucifixion. God knew that the only hope for humanity was for Jesus to make this sacrifice. In scriptural terms, He was the second Adam. So, people have access to God through Jesus and can be forgiven for their sins. None of us is free from the sinful nature and it is impossible to work for salvation. It is a free gift, not earned and one cannot earn this gift. We can be forgiven and we can live free lives full of joy and free from guilt when we understand. The Holy Spirit comes into a person once one accepts Jesus and He is the One who helps us transform into our full selves over time and it is a journey. This means that we are free to be who we are and to change and grow and to deal with all the things in our lives that need to change. It is a process. I have been a Christian for over 27 years and I understand more now than I did when I became a Christian and I live a full, rich life. I have fallen and taken wrong terms and picked myself up. I have learned to take full responsibility for those things in me that need to change such as co-dependent traits, to heal from childhood wounds and to deal with the destuctive effects of the ego so that the self that is present is my true self, not the false self that exists when ego has its way. I really understand your confusion and I have also had a lot of resistance and lack of understanding too over the years. It is always a process of growing to maturity. You perhaps need to understand that you can do nothing of yourself to earn God’s grace; it is a free gift of enormous cost to Him. To get an idea of the suffering that Jesus endured for the joy that He knew lay before Him, you might watch Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, about the crucifixion. It is fairly graphic but also what it would have actually been like.

                  To understand further involves a risk of choosing to accept by faith what God has done through the death and resurrection of His Son. When people take the step to enter into relationship with God through Jesus, they will embark on an amazingly unexpected journey. It is a journey of faith and even the most intelligent minds on Earth have questioned and struggled with issues of faith. It is not something that you can analyse, but rather experience. All the talk and debate in the world still leaves the question of who Jesus is and the risk of entering into relationship with Him.

                  Don’t know if this all makes sense to you, but I am happy to continue to share with you if it helps. We all start from a stance of unbelief and some of us never get further than that. At least you have a questioning mind.

                • brindlethorpe

                  I can accept the idea of God making a plan that involves commanding and forbidding certain types of acts that would be wrong. But the idea of including blood sacrifices as part of such a plan is where I have to protest. Since I think unnecessary animal suffering is a moral wrong, it makes no sense that a morally perfect being would demand this. Are you really convinced that an all-knowing, morally perfect being couldn’t think of a better way to encourage people to follow the Law? Suppose I want to encourage my kids to behave well. Am I going to lay down a rule that if they don’t go to bed on time, they will have to kill the gerbil and burn it on the grill? Child protective services would rightly frown on that sort of thing, don’t you think?
                  Now suppose I respond to the complaints of CPS by saying “Not to worry! This is only plan A. Next week I’m going to implement plan B, in which I cut off my own hand and burn it on the grill so that my kids won’t have to kill any more of their pets. This will free them from the burdens of the law of sacrifice and let them see that I love them so much I’ll even sacrifice my own hand – of course, I’ve taken a drug that will make my hand grow back after three days. And if my kids who are away at camp don’t believe later on that my hand really did grow back after three days, I’ll disown them”
                  This is what the Christian doctrine sounds like to me, and frankly, any sane person would treat such ramblings as compelling evidence of serious mental problems, don’t you agree?
                  I was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian college, and have read my share of theology. My experience has been that the more I really think things through, the more confused I get. The idea that one has to resort to faith seems to be an admission of defeat; that if reason can’t make sense of things, then so much the worse for reason.

                • Discordia

                  So into this perfect world your perfect loving God put two innocent, trusting people without the slightest knowledge of right and wrong/good and evil into a Garden with the most diabolical being in all creation, the Talking Snake, as a babysitter and then walks away like He doesn’t have a clue about what He just put in motion.

                • glebealyth

                  Ah, this is explained in Leviticus 1:17:

                  He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

                  It appears that YHWH takes delight in the tearing apart of small animals and the smell of barbecued flesh. It seems he tried to wean himself off it by ripping apart his only son.

                  Oh yes! This IS a MORAL deity!

                • Discordia

                  You made a typo. That last sentence should have read “This is an amoral deity.” :)

                • glebealyth

                  No typo, I’m afraid – I was just wrong and you are right.

                  If we are made in its image, one would expect this deity to have at least a vestigial conscience and show some remorse. Then its acts would be immoral as it would have demonstrated a knowledge of right and wrong.

                  As it is, this deity is reported to continue repeating the same sorts of immorality, without conscience, making it actually amoral.

                  Thank you for the correction!

                • Discordia

                  Or omniscient /omnipotent God could have just opted to NOT make humans sinful and blaming them for being sinful, rather like a potter can choose to NOT make pots with holes in them and blame them for having holes..

                • brindlethorpe

                  This raises an interesting theological puzzle. If sin is a NECESSARY possibility for any being having free will, then either God is capable of sin, or God lacks free will.

              • Jim Jones

                Now explain why Superman didn’t stop WWII.

          • Blacksheep

            Well said.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Well, coming from your world view, it is apparent that you have no background knowledge about why sacrifice was considered important. I am truly glad that you have got the capacity to forgive people; at least you will not be bringing a lack of forgiveness into the world to contaminate it and others further. Since you are not a Christian and have no understanding of your sinful nature aka all the things you hate about yourself and your destructive attributes, all of which exist and in your quieter moments you will know, because they do not make your life function well. At least being a Christian helps me to get these harmful aspects of life removed at their core so that I can live freely as my true self and not a false self. Perhaps you do not want to deal with your shadow self and all of your dark side if you are aware that you have it. That is your choice. For me, I would rather live in the light and get all these things sorted out so that my life is filled with peace, love and joy. It is a much more attractive way to engage with life.

      • b s

        “He would have preferred not to be crucified and died and tortured in the way that he was”
        Did he have a choice in the matter? Being omniscient, he already knew that he was going to, and of course he also knew he was going to come back to life, so no big loss anyway.
        Or wait, being omnipotent too, could he also have chosen not to die and simply have forgiven mankind?

        • Suzanne Spiers

          If you read the Scriptures, you will read that Jesus did have a choice in the matter and He chose to accept His Father’s will and go through with the crucifixion. He also knew that he would be resurrected and He also knew that He would be the sacrifice necessary for humankind since He was the only one who was both God and man and was without sin. The nature and character of God is such that God cannot abide sin and it cannot exist in His presence. If a believer sins, then he/she can ask for forgiveness and it will be granted. For the believer, God sees Jesus who covers the believer. He does not see the sin. Even though God is omniscient, the choice that was made for Jesus to be born as a human infant, with the nature of God, meant that He was not in His full power as God. In order to live on Earth He had to live as a man with all of our temptations and not succumb. Just read the story about Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness; temptations common to man; wealth, power, omnipotence. Jesus resisted these temptations using the words of Scripture. Jesus was exposed to many things that we are and He understands what we are up against since He lived on Earth as a man, like each of us does. A sacrifice was needed, not just forgiveness and the nature that causes us to do what we would rather not, is in every human. The only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that the Christian recognises his/ her need for God and realises that he/she is powerless to combat the sinful nature independently of God. It is a spiritual war and you only have to look at all the terrible atrocities that occur in the world to see that mankind on its own, is not capable of dealing with what it is capable of inflicting on fellow humans. Ask anyone who is trying to deal with an addiction if they find it easy. It is not. That is just one example.

          • Brian Hogg

            You don’t need god to deal with an addiction.

            Also, if you look at the statistics, not only have we been getting progressively better and less violent as an overall trend for centuries, those who are the least religious are also the least violent. The greatest sources of violence and oppression in the world are those still willingly yoked to various gods, howling about how sinful we all are.

            Pinker’s excellent “the better angels of our nature” is an excellent encapsulation of how much better it is than people tend to think.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              I agree that you do not need to be a Christian or hold any other faith to deal with an addiction, but addiction is caused through the human condition and needs treatment in order not to destroy the person who has it. As for your comment about humankind getting progressively better and less violent; what planet are you on! Just remember that we have many countries that are currently involved in wars; think Afghanistan for one. Just remember all the people who were killed in the Twin Towers by Muslim extremists, just think about all the human trafficking that is occurring, the child abuse, the divorce rate, the single parent families finding it difficult to survive, the many children growing up without 2 parent families, the violent incidents where students in schools have been gunned down; the list could go on. You state that the least religious are the least violent. On what research do you base this statement?

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                You don’t appear to see the difference between something occurring more often (for example, war), technology making that thing more effective, and technology allowing for better knowledge of a thing occurring (media)

          • Glasofruix

            If you read the Scriptures

            Scriptures are fairy tales, they don’t hold any truth or evidence, so please, don’t present them as such…

            • Suzanne Spiers

              So, the Scriptures talk about forgiveness, love, kindness, patience, longsuffering, truth, learning to control the tongue and using it to cause damage and many other things that are of value in human relationships. These things are valuable for living everyday life. However, if you are perfect and do not gossip, if you are a very loving and forgiving person, then guess you know it all.

              • Glasofruix

                Except that we don’t need fairy tales about imaginary skyfairies in order to be moral and decent people. And here’s a shocker, those concepts existed long before any mention of christianity.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  So, if you are moral, does that mean that all your thoughts are pure, you never get inappropriately angry, you are not judgemental, you never gossip, you never lust after a person of the opposite sex that you find attractive, you never steal, cheat or lie or judge others, you are not arrogant, you do not engage in pornography, you are extremely patient, you are always peaceful and joyful, you never hurt anyone deliberately. I could say more. Unless you are incredibly enlightened, I think that you are like the rest of us; subject to the human condition which is what is referred to in Scripture as the sinful nature that has us in its grip until we can get free. These things that hound our humanity are not fairy tales and any one who has been addicted to a substance or who has done things about which he/ she is not proud, will understand the power that this darker side of our human nature has over us. So before you tout anyone about being a moral or good person, perhaps you might like to consider the list of things that I have suggested, and there are many more to which you would be subject if you examine your heart. These things have been around as long as humanity and God was also around at the beginning of humanity since it was He who created us.

                • glebealyth

                  …you never lust after a person of the opposite sex that you find attractive…

                  “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign
                  over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

                  But do it without being sexually attracted to anyone of the opposite sex.

                • Glasofruix

                  So, if you are moral, does that mean that all your thoughts are pure

                  Define pure. My thoughts are my own and i don’t have to be accountable for them to anyone.

                  you never get inappropriately angry

                  I do get angry, that doesn’t make me immoral.

                  you are not judgemental

                  I know an idiot when i read one (hint hint)

                  you never gossip

                  And that would be bad, because?

                  you never lust after a person of the opposite sex that you find attractive

                  It’s called healthy human behaviour as long as it does not degenerate. And usually that’s how couples form, because they find each other attractive.

                  you never steal, cheat or lie

                  I lie a lot, that’s how society works. I don’t steal because i see no reason to, not because i’m affraid of punishement.

                  you do not engage in pornography

                  I do enjoy some porn, nothig shameful or bad here.

                  you are extremely patient

                  Being impatient is being immoral?

                  you are always peaceful and joyful

                  Being sad is immoral?

                  you never hurt anyone deliberately

                  I totally would for various reasons and according to my own standards, and i totally did in the past, does not make me immoral.

                  sinful nature

                  I do not recognize sin, my behaviour is my own and as long as i’m acting according to my standards and the law i’m good.

                  These things that hound our humanity

                  The things that hound you and your imaginary friend, don’t hound me at all.

                  So before you tout anyone about being a moral or good person, perhaps
                  you might like to consider the list of things that I have suggested

                  Again, it’s your list it’s your own and nobody else has to abide by it.

                  He who created us.

                  Proof? And not that bullshit scripture of yours.

                • phantomreader42

                  So, Suzanne, wht you’re saying is that the only thing that keeps you from raping, killing, and eating every person you see is that you’re afraid the invisible man in the sky will burn you alive forever if you indulge in the orgy of murder and torture that you so despeartely crave without his explicit permission. You don’t have any morality, all you have is fear of your own delusions. You’re a sociopath on a flimsy leash, just waiting for the voices in your head to tell you it’s okay to slaughter the infidels and bathe in their blood. That’s the “morality” your cult has given you. Well, unlike you, some people have a little thing called “empathy”, which your death cult’s brainwashing has rendered you incapable of understanding.

              • blasphemous_kansan

                “..So, the Scriptures talk about forgiveness, love, kindness, patience, longsuffering, truth, learning to control the tongue and using it to cause damage”

                It’s been awhile since I read them, but don’t the Harry Potter books cover most of this, also?

                • Glasofruix

                  I have a preference for my little pony series.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  LOL. If that is the level of your development, then it is no wonder you have little understanding of the scriptures and how they apply to you.

                • Glasofruix

                  In addition of being thick you don’t get sarcasm, do you?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It isn’t shocking that you’d be contemptuous of a series whose themes include honesty and inquisitiveness as virtues.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Unfortunately no! The books are a good read though and kids love them.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  Well, if you say so, then it must be true!

                  (sarcasm)

                  I admit, the comment was a joke, but I thought about it more, and I’m having a hard time thinking of any of the things you mentioned that aren’t taught in the Potter universe. Maybe you could help me out here with a specific example that show’s I’m wrong? Surely you have read the books yourself if you can make such a confident statement, right?

                  Potter aside, the point being that no god, and certainly not your god, is required for a human being to appreciate or learn any of the values that you mentioned: “forgiveness, love, kindness, patience, longsuffering, truth, learning to control the tongue and using it to cause damage”. I cannot find anything on this list that is exclusive to your particular brand of religious fervor, and that cannot be found from a secular source, or from simply interacting with another human being once in a while.

                  This is why you fail: you think you’re offering something new, but you’re not. The lessons are old. They are older than your religion and hence older than your god. It is sad to me when one needs help from an ancient book, which itself is full of nastiness, to learn the lessons for basic human interaction. And even more sad when they can’t conceive of people learning those lessons from any other source.

                  If your scriptures have turned you into the enlightened being that you are pretending to be, you wouldn’t even be wasting your time here. If you really have the moral high ground then why do you insist on wrestling in the mud here with us?

          • brindlethorpe

            But in another comment you suggested that it was Jewish tradition to demand a sacrifice. Here you suggest that this tradition was actually correct – God really demanded sacrifices? Why? What good did they do him?

            Suppose my neighbor runs over my mailbox. I say that I will forgive him, but first he has to kill his dog and set fire to the carcass. Does that make any sense at all?

            • Suzanne Spiers

              If you accept that there is a God who created the universe and in particular, the Earth and the humans and other creatures that inhabit the Earth, then who is this God. It was not Jewish tradition that demanded sacrifice but the God that they served. He is a holy God who cannot abide sin. God demanded sacrifices to atone for the sin that people committed and the animal sacrifices that were required were representative of the true sacrifice that would later come in the form of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. I would ask you if you have a sense of what is right and wrong. If you do, where did that concept come from. Why is it wrong to kill other human beings or to steal from them or to commit adultery or to covet what other people have? God didn’t need the sacrifices; they were for the benefit of the people so they could atone for their sin. Your argument about your mailbox and your dog is not really relevant.

              • Glasofruix

                I would ask you if you have a sense of what is right and wrong. If you
                do, where did that concept come from. Why is it wrong to kill other
                human beings or to steal from them or to commit adultery or to covet
                what other people have?

                Again,you don’t need to be a divinely inspired genius to get that killing and stealing from people you live with is a bad idea, generally groups tend to survive better when their members don’t kill and steal from each other, even the animals get that.

                The concepts of right and wrong existed long before christianity.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Of course they did! God was in existence long before Christianity was born. Guess who decided that killing and stealing was not a good thing. Incidentally, left to themselves, many people think nothing of killing and stealing! Funny that!

                • Glasofruix

                  Guess who decided that killing and stealing was not a good thing.

                  A person who applied logic to his situation, god is not needed for this task.

          • Pofarmer

            Ya know, when you put it all together like that, it makes even less sense.

          • Blacksheep

            Challenging to simplify in a internet forum response – but very well said.

          • b s

            “If you read the Scriptures, you will read that Jesus did have
            a choice in the matter and He chose to accept His Father’s will…He also knew that He would be the sacrifice necessary for humankind”

            So he knew he would be the sacrifice, he knew it would be his fathers will (who is actually himself, so it was also his own will) and he is perfectly omniscient so he could look into the future and see that he was going to be crucified. Where was his choice again?

            “He was not in His full power as God”

            Where is that in the bible?

            • Glasofruix

              It’n not in the bible per se, but in a lower part of human anatomy that serves a waste disposal role.

      • Randay

        Mr. Deity explains it much more simply in the episode “Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzuxyq3ltls&feature=user

        “The Live of Brian” by Monty Python is more historically true than “The Passion of Christ”.

        The accounts of Josephus were hearsay based on hearsay and some were forged. The only place you have real mention of these supposed events is in the Bible. As Hitchens pointed out, these reports were mostly from hysterical women who at the time would not have had any credibility. Referring to “Scriptural accounts” is useless in addressing yourself to people you should know don’t believe a word of it.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Really! On what do you base your premise that The Life of Brian is more historically correct than The Passion of the Christ’? I am also interested in where you got your information about Josephus. What is your source that indicates that the accounts of Josephus were based on hearsay and were forged? Who are the hysterical women that you refer to, indicated by Hitchens. Who is Hitchens and on what authority does he base his statements. i can see by your post that you have not actually read any of the Scriptural accounts and you have not read any of what was written by Josephus. In fact, you are really demonstrating your own ignorance.

          • Randay

            The forgery of Josephus is well-known and you can google it yourself. I don’t do free work for Jesus Freaks. I know the Bible better than many of them as I have shown in several previous posts. Believing in the Bible or any other holy book is the definition of ignorance. For the women Hitchens described, read your damn Babble, er, I mean Bible. Another display of your ignorance. Not knowing who Hitchens was is yet another. I actually read the Bible which obviously you haven’t.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Really! Well unfortunately your ignorance of the Scriptures is obvious since there is nothing that you have written that demonstrates that you have a good understanding, or have been able to cross-reference what you have read. I also do not think that you have studied them or read them on a regular basis. It is not a matter of believing in the Bible, but if you had read it as you say, then you would learn a lot of things that are very wise and would assist you to live your life with integrity. You would learn respect for others for a start instead of expressing yourself with arrogance!

              • Randay

                Why should I or anyone else have to study them or read them on a regular basis? What a waste of time. I can understand almost everything I read on the first go. It’s not that hard. There a some science books that I have read parts of a second time, but that’s about it.

                There is nothing very wise in the Bible, except for a few things the writers borrowed from other religions or cultures. I certainly wouldn’t use the Bible to learn to live my life with integrity. There isn’t any in it.

          • Glasofruix

            What is your source that indicates that the accounts of Josephus were based on hearsay and were forged?

            Cuz he was born way after jeebus’ alleged resurrection and if we take into account the time needed for him to grow up and get educated, he began his work at least a good 20-30 years after the “facts” it’s plenty of time for the “witnesses” to die out or forget stuff.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Not all historians were born in the century in which they engaged in their research and writing. Josephus was born in 37 and this is very close to the date at which Jesus died and was resurrected and certainly in the same century. Historians working today on things that happened centuries ago, do not have the luxury of having contemporary subjects still alive with whom to confer. Josephus would have had access to many of these people.

              • Glasofruix

                Uh, he was born 4 years after and unless he started right after he got out of his mother’s vagina we can safely add a few (tens of) years to that. So no, being born the same century does not make you a contemporary.

                Historians working today on things that happened centuries ago, do not
                have the luxury of having contemporary subjects still alive with whom to
                confer.

                The big difference is that they have a lot of verifiable documents and plenty of physical evidence from various sources which are more reliable than the bible or the scriptures written by first century con artists.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  To which documents are you referring? Perhaps you might like to share which ones and then cite your sources. What makes these sources any more reliable than that of Josephus and what is your evidence for that?

                • Glasofruix

                  Let’s start with one simple example, how do we know that Pompei existed and what happened to it.
                  - We actually know where it is
                  - It was burried under volcanic ashes
                  - There’s a friggin volcano nearby
                  - We actually know someone who lived there and he wrote about it
                  - There’s another person who lived there and whose writings check out with the first guy
                  - The city is full of historic artifacts and various documents

                  So, we have physical evidence and written evidence from reliable authors. We have none of the above for jesus, no written testimonies, no physical evidence.

              • edb3803

                Josephus’ writings on Jesus were around 93-94 CE, loooooong after the alleged crucifixion. Anyone around in 30 CE would have been dead by this time.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  So are all of the people who knew Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Elizabeth 1. So are you saying that historians who write about both of those people are accurate but Josephus is not? I mean, those people would all be dead too!

                • Glasofruix

                  People who wrote about those historical figures actually lived at the same time as them, their writings contain no contradictions, the dates and events check out (they do not in the “scriptures” or in Josephus’ babbles).

      • glebealyth

        One historian of the time, Josephus, who was not a Christian, but rather a historian, chronicled these accounts. Perhaps you might like to read them and perhaps you might like to read the Scriptural accounts of who Jesus actually claimed He was.

        No, he didn’t.
        I have read the Bible, many times and it an inconsistent collection of folklore and propaganda.
        I have read Josephus – ALL OF IT – and it, also, is merely a regurtitation of folklore and myth, claiming even that the pillar of salt which was Lot’s wife could still be seen when he wrote.
        The passage you rely upon is a forgery. That it is a forgery does not invalidate any other piece of historical evidence of any other historical event, it merely shows that the whole christinsanity is based upon lies.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Really! Why is it that I have a problem with what you are saying? I do not think that you would be saying what you are saying if you had actually read everything that Josephus has written. I do not believe that you have studied the Bible either. You are inaccurate in your thinking and incidentally, the story about Lot’s wife is in the Old Testament and not in any of Josephus’s writings. Josephus’s writings are presented as a straightforward historical account. You might say the same for any other historian. Have they all fabricated lies and myths as well; or just Josephus.

          • glebealyth

            Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 11.4:

            4. But God was much displeased at their impudent behavior, so that he both smote those men with blindness, and condemned the Sodomites to universal destruction. But Lot, upon God’s informing him of the future destruction of the Sodomites, went away, taking with him his wife and daughters, who were two, and still virgins; for those that were betrothed to them were above the thoughts of going, and deemed that Lot’s words were trifling. God then cast a thunderbolt upon the city, and set it on fire, with its inhabitants; and laid waste the country with the like burning, as I formerly said when I wrote the Jewish War. But Lot’s wife continually turning back to view the city as she went from it, and being too nicely inquisitive what would become of it, although God had forbidden her so to do, was changed into a pillar of salt; for I have seen it, and it remains at this day. Now he and his daughters fled to a certain small place, encompassed with the fire, and settled in it: it is to this day called Zoar, for that is the word which the Hebrews use for a small thing. There it was that he lived a miserable life, on account of his having no company, and his want of provisions.

            I will accept your apology!

            • Art_Vandelay

              Oh man…that’s fantastic.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              You make the statement that the Bible is an inconsistent collection of folklore and propaganda. May I turn your attention to the New Testament and perhaps you might like to share what chapters and verses of all of those books are inconsistent, folkloric and propaganda. I really do not think you have read and studied it sufficiently to even understand what it is saying and you are speaking from ignorance.

              • glebealyth

                I notice, Suzanne, that whenever one of your comments is shown to be inaccurate, or mendacious, you ignore the criticism and attempt to move on to something else.

                I have called you out as a Liar4Jesus once and need never do so again, as you prove it to be so, over and over.

                Now, if you wish to retain any credence, please apologize, address the criticism and address the rebuttal.

                Otherwise, it really does appear you are out of your depth here and boxing far, far above your weight.

              • glebealyth

                May I turn your attention to the New Testament and perhaps you might like to share what chapters and verses of all of those books are inconsistent, folkloric and propaganda.

                Perhaps you would like to document the non-biblical references to support the assertion in Matthew 27: 52 & 53
                that the city of Jerusalem was actually treated to the spectacle of walking dead -

                “…52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. …”

                Now, this was a cataclysmic event in the history of mankind. The raising of Lazarus pales into insignificance beside the events narrated here. We must take the divinely-inspired word of god to be just that, so this happened.
                You can, I am sure, provide supporting evidence and documents, for this and your comments should be interesting.

          • glebealyth

            I do not think that you would be saying what you are saying if you had actually read everything that Josephus has written.

            I have actually read Josephus’ entire gamut twice. I gave my first copy to a friend who went to bible college, while I was a believer, after I had read it. (He still has not returned it, btw)

            I then purchased another copy a few years ago, and read it again.

          • edb3803

            The Testimonium Flavianum is generally considered to be not entirely authentic. This evidence is tainted.

          • glebealyth

            Please retract your above statement.

            The story of Lot’s wife actually DOES appear in Josephus.

            It would be polite and well-mannered of you to acknowledge your error.

      • Jim Jones

        The bible cannot validate the bible.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I dunno, I’ve taken some pretty serious naps and always felt like hell afterwards. Maybe the headache and eyes full of sand were the the actual sacrifice?

    • glebealyth

      Have you noticed, Art, that whenever one fails to agree with Suzanne, it is always because one is ignorant?

      I suppose she speaks from vast experience of ignorance.

      • Suzanne Spiers

        LOl. Well perhaps what I say is causing you to think about what you really believe; perhaps not, but I do believe that Jesus is who He says He is and I do react when people misinterpret Scripture by taking it out of context. I am also enjoying these various things that people are writing because their opinions about me say more about them than they do about me.

        • glebealyth

          Still, they say much about you.

          You are apparently sufficiently ill-educated and gullible to believe things which have as their foundation, egregious lies and will base your life and belief-system on a foundation of untruth and fantasy.

          The only evidence, extra-gospel, which you have presented for your beliefs has been thoroughly debunked, both here and in numerous scholarly articles and theses which you have not the wit to read.

          When pressed for evidence, you ignore the request and give all the appearance on one standing with her fingers firmly in her ears, singing “LALALALALALALALA”.

          You asked me to tell you which parts of the NT I considered to be folkloric and myth and fable and propaganda. I have given you just one example to work on. You have not yet done me the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let lone a reply. THIS speaks volumes about you.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Umm, to which part of the NT are you referring? I cannot see the specific verse or chapter to which you refer. I think that I am educated sufficiently and I do not believe that I am any more gullible than you. You have not given any evidence incidentally and although you intimate that the sources to which I refer, namely Josephus and the Scriptures, are not reliable, perhaps you might like to share the sources that debunk both. Or perhaps it is just because you are not a Christian, you just like to think you know. So where are your sources. You condemn mine, but where are yours? You think I am unintelligent for not producing evidence other than Biblical evidence. That is your opinion, but who is to say that you are right in your thinking?I have done you the courtesy of responding to you and NO, it does not speak volumes about me. You do not even know me! Now who is the one making false assumptions! I am a Christian and I am happy with my faith and you cannot prove what you are saying about Scripture. If you can prove what you say from a reputable source that can prove that Jesus did not either exist, die on a cross, be resurrected. If you can prove that what the New Testament is saying is both inaccurate and false, then bring it on and prove it. You know what! Ithink you will not be able to do it. Many people have tried and none have been successful. Incidentally, what was the ONE example you gave me to work on. I did not see it!

            • Glasofruix

              Well, there was that time where you said that Josephus never wrote about Lot and the salt statue and then glebealyth quoted the passage where Josephus actually did write about Lot, and then you changed the subject (aka fingers in the ears and LALALALALA thing) so it kind of makes you a big fat liar.

            • glebealyth

              Strangely, Suzanne, though you do not know me, it is permissible for you to make assumptions about me, but not vice versa. Could this be one of the “standards” to which xians adhere so strongly, you know, the double ones?

              I have copied and pasted the original reply I made, below.

              It should keep you busy for a while.

              btw, I am still awaiting your apology for calling me a liar and a fraud in respect of the contents of Josephus which, it is clear, you never read beyond the forgery.

              Please address the following:

              May I turn your attention to the New Testament and perhaps you might like to share what chapters and verses of all of those books are inconsistent, folkloric and propaganda.

              Perhaps you would like to document the non-biblical references to support the assertion in Matthew 27: 52 & 53
              that the city of Jerusalem was actually treated to the spectacle of walking dead -

              “…52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. …”

              Now, this was a cataclysmic event in the history of mankind. The raising of Lazarus pales into insignificance beside the events narrated here. We must take the divinely-inspired word of god to be just that, so this happened.
              You can, I am sure, provide supporting evidence, and documents, for this and your comments should be interesting.

            • glebealyth

              Right.

              Perhaps you should turn your email on so that you can receive this things when disqus decides to go all FUBAR.

              Below is the response I made earlier AND copied here for you earlier.

              First, to respond to your current comment:

              I am not making any claims here, you are. It therefore behooves you, not me, to provide evidence for your claims.

              It is interesting that, after disecting my character and motivations, you bleat, “You do not even know me! Now who is the one making false assumptions.” This is an example of those “standards” that xians adhere to twice as strongly as atheists do to theirs, on account of the being double?

              I am still awaiting your apology for calling me a liar and a fraud in respect of the contents of Josephus. Stick to those standards!

              Please address the following, which I supplied earlier, at your reqwuest -

              May I turn your attention to the New Testament and perhaps you might like to share what chapters and verses of all of those books are inconsistent, folkloric and propaganda.

              Perhaps you would like to expound upon and document the non-biblical references twhich support the assertion in Matthew 27: 52 & 53, that the city of Jerusalem was actually treated to the spectacle of walking dead and earthquakes -

              “…52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. …”

              Now, this was a cataclysmic, unique event in the history of mankind. The raising of Lazarus pales into insignificance beside the events narrated here. We must take the divinely-inspired word of god to be just that, so this must have happened. At least, it must, if one is a believer.
              You can, I am sure, provide supporting evidence and documentation, to add authenticity to this biblical assertion.

              Your comments should be interesting.

              Clue: Josephus doesn’t mention them.

              • Suzanne Spiers

                Bleat! Now that is an interesting choice of word. You do not know me and I am happy with my faith. At least it works and the words of Scripture enable me to live my life well and I have not found any of what I read to be false in my everyday life. This is true for all my Christian friends also and for the people in my church, which incidentally has 5,000 people attend each weekend.

                I notice that instead of referring to all the apparent misinformation in the NT, you are now gaslighting and turning the attention to me inferring that you are a liar. Only you know if this is so. That is up to you. I have read the parts of the Josephus manuscript that refer to Jesus, and it is quite straightforward so it is true that I have read it. You are implying that the document is fake or has been tampered with. That is your opinion based on things you have read. You obviously trust your sources of information. Good on you. For me, I have been a Christian for many years now and I have discovered that what is in the New Testament actually works, as I live my life and follow its wisdom. When I pray, I have had many prayers answered in sometimes miraculous ways, and my life over the time has just continued to improve because it is based in biblical values such as love, forgiveness, peace, purity of living, living in integrity each day and serving others. In case you ever think that God may possibly exist, in one of your reflective moments, just take a look at His creation and the patterns that are evident in every living thing. Perhaps you might take in the beauty of a sunset, or consider the stars in the sky, or admire aspects of nature. I believe that only an amazing intelligence could have put you and I with all the systems in our bodies, and every creature and plant and natural formation that exists. You may choose to focus on your head knowledge which is useful, but there is much, much more than that in the human being, such as integrating the emotional self, the mind and the soul.

                In order for me to address what you ask for, which is to provide evidence from non-biblical sources, makes an interesting situation. You are coming from a place where you do not believe that Scripture was divinely inspired. Therefore we are not on the same page for a start. Perhaps it is important for you to spend your life examining every document for its accuracy and for that, you would have to be certain that your sources were also accurate. Good luck in your search for the perfect document. I wonder how you can be sure that any document has been tampered with or not. Perhaps some of the documents you rely on are fake and you have been misled. You seem so sure that you are correct. Sometimes faith is not something that you can you can take out of a box and examine as you can a document; it must be experienced!

                • Theory_of_I

                  Suzanne-
                  Reading your comments is like talking with someone who lived thousands of years ago. Trying to explain to you that the world is secularly understandable or that believing superstition is folly and remaining ignorant is a poor way to live is futile because your mind has been hijacked by the industry of religion, with or without your consent, and you, per your training, can offer nothing but puked-up hearsay, myth and nonsense in response.

                  The platitudes and absurdities you regurgitate were all implanted in your mind through continuous, intrusive and officious instruction and training by those religious industry functionaries whose livelihoods depend on the success and continuation of your inculcation (and that of your Christian friends and co-believers as well).

                  Have you ever had an original thought?

                  If your belief was the result and unique product of your own volition, as has always been the case with the thousands of gods and religious beliefs conceived by thousands of other people thruout human history (all but one of which you undoubtedly refuse to believe), you would be able to offer your own original ideas about what you believe and why.

                  If you did so, many of us would be fascinated to learn of your discovery! But you can’t do that because the industry of religion has stolen your ability to originate any new and independant thoughts on the subject. And since you can’t, your comments are just the same old proselytizing puke everyone has heard and summarily dumped on the trash heap with the other superstitious nonsense…just as you have with what you’ve been instructed not to believe.

                • glebealyth

                  Rather than compound your complete lack of humility and absence of politeness. Please, address the point I raised, at your request.
                  The fact that I do not believe as you do is irrelevant.

                  What is at issue are two things:

                  1. You asserted that there is no inconsistency or contradiction in scripture and challenged me to give you some examples. I have given you one, yet you are seeking to escape dealing with it;

                  2. My beliefs do not impinge upon the historical accuracy of the gospel records. it is the truth, supporting evidence, consistency and veracity of those records which is important.

                  You have shown yourself an extremely capable woman, as long as the use of straw men and issue-avoidance are to counted as worthy capabilities.

                  Please, address the points I raised and solve the inconsistency. I maintain that this episode in Matthew 27 support, in all aspects, my point that the gospel records are inconsistent, folkloric and propaganda.

                  Please rise to the challenge or admit that you cannot.

                  Either way, put up or shut up.

                  As to gaslighting –

                  You accused me of lying about the content of Josephus and accused me of lying about having read the same.
                  You them proceeded to demonstrate your abject and sorry ignorance of the work by stating that Josephus does not mention Lot, his wife and a pillar of salt.
                  You were wrong on all counts and would, in polite society, have apologized.

                  I am sure, not that I am correct, but that you are.

                  Why am I so sure?

                  Because you cannot do what you boast of being able to do, to show that the gospel records are consistent, non-folkloric and true.

                  Address the issue or go away with tail tucked between your legs appropriately.

                  I expect you to go away as ignominious retreat after issuing the threat of eternal damnation is the standard final debating tacticof the xian believer.

                  Peace,

                  David

        • Jim Jones

          Every piece of evidence confirms that gospel Jesus never existed.

          The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:

          Josephus, Philo-Judaeus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Hermogones, Valerius Maximus, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Appian, Theon of Smyrna, Phlegon, Pompon Mela, Quintius Curtius, Lucian, Pausanias, Valerius Flaccus, Florus Lucius, Favorinus, Phaedrus, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Columella, Dio Chrysostom, Lysias, Appion of Alexandria.

          Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.

          Philo of Alexandria was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

          He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place — when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.

          From “The Christ” — John E. Remsberg

          BTW, there’s also nothing about Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls — and there should be.

          • Suzanne Spiers

            Thank you for your comprehensive list of authors. It appears that you have made a concerted effort to seek information about the existence of Jesus. I think that ultimately, no matter how much reading any of us does, we are still left with questions about life and faith and each of us does our best to find a way to negotiate this in our own lives. I also think that when everything has been read, all boils down to faith which cannot be measured. Sometimes words get in the way. Best wishes for your journey through life and for your seeking for truth.

            • Glasofruix

              Still not adressing the fact that you are a liar? Your mastery of avoidance is legendary.

  • Spuddie

    I am getting flashbacks to History of the World Part I.

    “Sammus Davis Junior”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTpgu9J1t4U

  • klmr

    I’d love to believe this but this glaringly contradicts the Wikipedia article, which cites as its sources the Roman historians Tacitus and Tertullian (living in the 1st and 2nd century AD, respectively), saying that they were *contemporaries* of said torture. I can’t judge who is right but a proper discussion needs to address these claims.

    • Atheistiana

      Yes, because the Oxford- and Yale-educated professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame surely didn’t check those sources herself.

      • klmr

        How is that relevant? I’m not questioning said professor (I haven’t read her), I’m saying that this article is on the skimpy side because it claims that there are no references, and fails to address the apparent fact that there actually happen to be several such references.

    • NickDB

      I’m going to go with a professor over Wikipedia, It’s a useful site but not gospel.

      • klmr

        I’m not assuming Wikipedia as a proper source. I’m just pointing out that Wikipedia, *giving lots of references*, contradicts that, and that this contradiction needs addressing.

    • Stev84

      As if Tertullian is an unbiased source

      • klmr

        I didn’t claim he was. Neither is Tacitus (but on the other end of the spectrum). But that in itself isn’t enough to discard his account.

        • Spuddie

          Tacitus is not an accurate source either. He wrote for political effect, not for factual clarity.

    • skinnercitycyclist

      Tertullian was no “Roman historian.” He was a Christian apologist who spent his time attacking (persecuting) other Christians. And no one denies that people were killed as Christians, but the extent of it has been grossly exaggerated, and in many instances it was a case of “suicide by persecution,” so much that bishops at the time took to warning people off actively seeking “martyrdom.”

    • Greg G.

      Tacitus was a contemporary of the events of his account but would have been a pre-teen so his is not likely a first-hand account, either.

      • Spuddie

        Tacitus was also know to make stuff up if it made the Imperial government look bad. He was a political commenter who used semi-historical example for what amounted to op-ed pieces. An ancient Breitbart.

  • sam

    “…the prosecution of Christians was rare, and the persecution of Christians was limited to no more than a handful of years.” That’s true.

    “There are zero authentic accounts of Christian martyrdom in the Colosseum…”
    That’s either hyperbole or irrelevant.
    I’ve never heard any historian doubt the authenticity of the first chapters of the martyrdom of Perpetua. The fact that it didn’t take place in the Colosseum is irrelevant. Some persecution took place and was then greatly exaggerated.

  • William Anton Walters

    These people believe stories about a supposed god-child based on second-hand (at best) accounts and zero contemporary corroboration. For some reason, I doubt a lack of evidence to support their other stories will matter.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Ha…so true. A lack of evidence may even reinforce it for them.

    • Suzanne Spiers

      Umm. If the ‘god-child’ you are referring to to Jesus, Scripture states that Jesus is the Word, He is God and He is from God. He is fully God in the flesh as well and fully man. He died, was buried and on the third day He rose again and went to Heaven some time later. Many people saw Him following His death. There are accounts in Scripture and also from contemporary historians such as Josephus if you would care to read them.

      • William Anton Walters

        When was Josephus born?

        • Suzanne Spiers

          Josephus, aka Titus Flavius Josephus was born in

          AD 37 – C 100. He was also called Joseph ben Matityahu. He fought against the Romans in the first Jewish-Roman War. Josephus recorded Jewish history with special emphasis on the first century AD. His important works are The Jewish War (c 75) and The Antiquities of the Jews (c 94). In the Testamonium Flavianum, he reports an account of the death and resurrection of Jesus and reports that many people observed Him following His resurrection following the crucifixion and the accounts were verified. In that work, Josephus also refers to the myriad of miracles that Jesus performed throughout His ministry. Hope this helps.

          • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

            Suzanne, if Josephus was born in 37 CE, he couldn’t have been an eyewitness to anything pertaining to a historical Jesus and therefore is not a primary historical source.

            Furthermore, the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum is in dispute and the “Jesus” passage may have been interpolated into the text by a Christian copyist some years after the death of Josephus himself (Apparently the Greek MS has the disputed passage but an Arabic version does not).

            • Suzanne Spiers

              So, if your premise is correct, that would also mean that all current day historians writing about aspects of history are also invalid. Since Josephus was born in 37, he was still born within the first century and although not an eye witness, he would be privy to conversations with a variety of people who did have first-hand knowledge. If Jesus was born at the commencement of the Roman calendar, which indicates His birth i.e. BC and AD, Josephus would have been born only a few years after Jesus’s death. After the Second World War and to the present time, information is still coming to light about the treatment of Jewish prisoners during the war whilst they were interned in concentration camps. This is more than 50 years after the event. There information is still valid since these people experienced the events. Josephus was a reliable historian of the day. The disciples were eye witnesses, however, so are you saying that their accounts are also not valid since they appear in Scripture itself. Matthew, Mark and John were with Jesus throughout His ministry and I think are more than qualified to comment. Jesus’s brother James was also a disciple and he wrote the book of James. St Paul, although not with Jesus during His ministry, was a historical figure and he also had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus which is recorded in Scripture. Paul actually was one of those who persecuted the early Christians mercilessly. Is his account also not valid? Perhaps there are scholars who dispute the validity of the Testimonium Flavianum. However, I find it interesting that Jesus is still recorded as a miracle worker and it is recorded that many people observed Him alive, following His resurrection. If you can disprove this I would be very interested to learn of your findings. If you say that these documents are in dispute, I hope that you give the same attention to other historical information that is recorded as history, or do you accept that these accounts are valid? Perhaps the reason that people have a desire to discount any truth that may be found about Jesus is that if it is true, then a person would also have to consider the implications for themselves which are enormous. Consider this; if Jesus is who He says He is – God – and if salvation comes through Him and Him alone, then that is a sobering thought. If Jesus can be made into a good man or one who does good works, yet is not God, then one does not have to consider what Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross might mean; anyway, just a thought.

              • Brian Hogg

                People focus more on the historical evidences or profound lack of same for Jesus because most other historical figures who have equally thin evidence for their existences aren’t used at the basis and justification of 2,000 years of moral hideousness. We all tend to focus on the problems, after all.

                Also, while you acknowledge Josephus didn’t exist when Jesus did, you refer to him as a “contemporary” because that implies eye witness, and serves to give his account more credibility than it has. You’re misrepresenting facts to improve the view of your position, and essentially lying doesn’t exactly seem Christ-like.

                Regarding Paul and the resurrection of Jesus, the bible talks about how the apostles didn’t recognize Jesus after he came back, which makes you wonder why. Maybe it was a different person, simply claiming to be Jesus? And how could Paul know he was talking to Jesus rather than someone simply claiming to be Jesus? It’s not like Paul would have had ready access to a photograph of him.

                Really, though, this is all angels on the head of a pin talk, since the scriptures are all clearly fiction, with the myth of Jesus and his resurrection being cribbed from many earlier sources. That is, unless you believe the bizarre apologist notion that the earlier precedents for the Jesus myth, like Osiris and many others, were simply echoes of the future events going backward through time.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  2000 years of moral hideousness. I can quite agree with you if you are referring to people who carried the name Christian but were part of the Catholic Church. Jesus never advocated violence or atrocities such as were carried out by the church over the years. The people who visited these atrocities were not Christians in the biblical sense of the word. Perhaps I was wrong in my choice of the word ‘Contemporary’ but Josephus was born in 37 and he did write about Jesus in the same century that Jesus was on Earth. I do not think that this is a lie. Many historians have written about historical figures many centuries after those people died. Does that make them more reliable than Josephus? How do you know!
                  Paul persecuted the Christians and openly admits this in Scripture. He had an experience on the road to Damascus and was made blind. He was given instructions about where to go. Something in the interaction with the person who he encountered on the way to Damascus, made him think he was talking to Jesus. He did regain his sight some days later. I think it interesting that he turned from being someone who was bent on destroying Christians, to someone who preached about Jesus for the rest of his life.

                  You say that the Scriptures are clearly fiction yet you give no valid argument for your stance. You cannot prove or disprove what they say. I will be interested if you offer evidence to support your argument. You believe, from what you say that Jesus was not a real historical character and is the stuff of myth. You are entitled to your opinion but you may find that Jesus was a real person and you may be incorrect in your stance.

              • Glasofruix

                The big difference between ww2 and josephus is that we actually have a lot of contemporary material about ww2 that does not contradict itself every few sentences…

              • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

                Suzanne Spiers: “So, if your premise is correct, that would also mean that all current day historians writing about aspects of history are also invalid.”

                Nonsense! We have actual writings from eye witnesses, and even from historical notables such as Julius Caesar. Not only was Josephus not an eye witness, but his work has been tampered with posthumously.

                “Josephus was a reliable historian of the day.”

                Reliable except for the Testimonium, which was probably added to the text by a copyist. Eusebius is one of the prime suspects.

                “The disciples were eye witnesses, however, so are you saying that their accounts are also not valid since they appear in Scripture itself….”

                Wrong! The Gospels were written decades after the events they describe, and there are no original manuscripts in existence. Luke may actually have been written by a physician named Luke, but he doesn’t claim to be an eye witness. The other gospels were named after disciples but not necessarily written by them, and the gospel of John couldn’t possibly have been written by the disciple John because it is considerably younger than the other Gospels.

                “St Paul, although not with Jesus during His ministry, was a historical figure and he also had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus…”

                He had an “encounter” in his imagination, in the form of a vision. He did not encounter a real, live Jesus.

                “However, I find it interesting that Jesus is still recorded as a miracle worker and it is recorded that many people observed Him alive, following His resurrection. If you can disprove this I would be very interested to learn of your findings.”

                Simple: People don’t come back to life in the real world; therefore the Gospels are almost certainly fictional. In a work of fiction, you can put in any supporting details you like (such as people encountering a resurrected Jesus) but that doesn’t make it any more true.

                “Consider this; if Jesus is who He says He is – God – and if salvation comes through Him and Him alone, then that is a sobering thought.”

                Yup. It means that your god is a sadistic S.O.B. who isn’t worthy of worship anyway because it condemns sentient beings to hell for the “sin” of not believing a book of silly tales.

                But that’s okay; I’ve already taken a vow to go to Hell if it actually exists (although I rather think it doesn’t), and I’m not leaving till everyone has been rescued. In that context, your lost-long-weekend “saviour” is a bit of an underachiever compared to Me.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well, having read this account, I now understand that you do not support the Christian faith and your understanding of God is simply that of one who is not interested in getting to know Him since you see that He embodies only negative characteristics. I imagine that you have not prayed or experienced His presence. You say that the Scriptures are a bunch of fabricated fables and imaginative forays by a bunch of people who apparently have no credibility in your eyes. You are entitled to your beliefs and thoughts, but there are other views and perhaps one day, you might actually read what Scripture has to say, particularly the books in the New Testament. I find it intriguing that the people who have not actually read the books and put what they say in to daily practice are also the ones that condemn what is written the loudest. You may believe that God does not exist and that is your right. You have free will. However, you might find that He does at some stage in your life. It is quite possible that God exists whether you believe in Him or not.

                • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

                  I’ve read the Gospels, Suzanne — Decades ago. I knew all the major Bible stories when I was seven years old. I’m going on 56, and it’s still just a bunch of tall tales to Me.

                  And although your god supposedly wanted Paul of Tarsus on side so badly that Paul got blinded for 3 days, it apparently doesn’t feel as strongly about Me.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Hello Astreja. Just because we might think differently, doesn’t mean that thinking about things or having opinions about them is who we are. I am not your enemy and I think what has happened at me for the moment is that I have suddenly been able to share what I think and express my opinion openly for the first time in a long time without being shut down, or rather, I have not shut myself down. Finally I care enough about myself to say what I think no matter what. What other people think about me is not as important as what I think about me. On reflection, I have been thinking that no matter what you think or what I think, we are both humans and it is probably better to spend energy relating rather than debating. I wasn’t going to respond to your last msg to me but then I thought that I would because you cared enough to write and I would honour your effort.

                  I can understand that you see the Bible stories as a bunch of tales and I also can see that you think (correct me if I am wrong) that God doesn’t care about you). I have not got all the answers about God and it is a journey for me. What I do know is that since I have become a Christian, I have grown enormously as a person and healed a lot of damage from childhood and because of a lot of miraculous answers to prayer, am where I am today in my life. I am also aware that this journey is a feeling journey from the heart and I was struck that most of the communication on this site is hard masculine thinking. I think that the God I know is a relational God who expects me to learn and to take responsibility for myself and to go into the dark places in my soul so that they can be healed and I can be fully me in my own power. That is what has happened. My theology has changed somewhat over the years and I know that when I am really honest with God and with the safe humans around me and express all that dark stuff that prevents love from being present, and it is exposed to the light, I do not have that inside any more. So, we could really argue about who said what and whether this document is correct or not. Really, I would prefer to leave that because it is a thing that separates me from you and really, all that you are is all that I am and if I am separate from you, then I am separate from myself and cut off.

                  I felt sad when I read that you thought that God wanted Paul but does not care enough about you. It has taken me a long time to see that God does care about me; all of me and He does not want me to cut any of my bits off. Rather, He takes all the parts that really don’t work and heals them so that I can be whole, joyous and free from all that is destructive in me.

                  I am not sure where in the world you live, but wherever it is, I hope that your day/evening is going well.

              • glebealyth

                So, if your premise is correct, that would also mean that all current day historians writing about aspects of history are also invalid.

                Suzanne,

                You have now used almost all of the standards logical fallacies which are the stock in trade of xians:

                1. Argumentum ad hominem

                Attack the messenger because I cannot rebut the argument (message).

                2. Argumentum ad verecundiam

                I cannot rebut the argument, so I will Invoke the authority of someone else, preferably ancient and dead or otherwise unavailable for comment.

                3 argumentum as baculum

                I cannot rebut the argument, so I will assert that as my god/church is bigger or older than you, it must be right, implying that it is dangerous for your interlocutor to pursue the point. This normally takes the form of the threat of eternal damnation if you fail to agree with me or fall down and worship my god.

                4 Unsupported Assertion

                I have no evidence for the assertion, but will make it, loudly and often, anyway – GOD EXISTS; JESUS DIED FOR YOU, etc.

                5. Straw Man

                I am embarrassed by my ignorance on this matter. so I will ignore it and try to steer the discussion away from it so no-one will see my blushes.

                6.False Dichotomy

                I have nor response to your cogent argument, so will manufacture a plausible, yet illogical, non sequitur as a possible consequence of your argument, setting an on/off, either/or condition with no middle ground, in the hope that it will show me to be wiser than you.

                These are just a few of the fallacies you have indulged in.

                When you combine, as you do, fallacy with delusion, you are setting yourself up for a very big fall.

                Oh, have you used Pascal’s Wager yet? I probably missed it lurking in the screed of nonsense you have written. If you have, I must ask you in response, why are you not a follower of Poseidon, Allah or Bangor, just in case one of those is the true god?

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Hmm. That’s an impressive long list of things and all in Latin too. I didn’t realise that I did all these things with long Latin names ha ha. Thanks for enlightening me about the true nature of my behaviour.

                  OK. Now here is my response. You are probably a very learned scholar who delights in academia and exploration of obscure texts. Your responses to me are very logical and of a masculine bent. I am not going to play that game and instead I will respond to you from my own self.

                  Basically, I am tired of analytical arguments that really solve no problems and do not permit relationship, but rather alienate people from sharing from the heart. I am not going to offer you arguments so that you might be impressed and agree with me or hold an arrogant stance that allows you to look down on me from your lofty position with the intellegentsia of the gods.

                  I am a Christian because it actually is a very practical faith that works and it has also revolutionised my life, healed me and allowed me to function as a whole, joyous and free human being. You can argue about Jesus all you want and you can live in a stance of ‘being right’ if that makes you happy. What I do know is that my faith is very powerful and spiritual in nature and prayer actually works. I also understand from my studies in Theology that God works in the heart of man to bring man to Himself. He wants that all men come to belong to Him and respects the free will when people choose otherwise. You may choose to retain your atheistic stance and it is your right. Perhaps one day, you might consider the possibility that there is a creator God who can be known personally and enter into relationship with Him. That would involve letting go of your egoic stance and entering vulnerably into a situation where you would entertain something through faith that cannot be measured or analysed intellectually but experienced. Many very great minds have also wrestled with the concepts of faith and the existence of God. All the best.

                • glebealyth

                  Suzanne,

                  Thank you for your response.

                  My responses are not of a “masculine bent” they are merely rational. I do not indulge in sexism in order to classify others for my benefit.

                  I have no interest in “looking down upon you”. I am more concerned that you should know the truth, and that it should set you free.

                  I have no interest in a “stance of ‘being right’”, merely one of being informed. I think it is a travesty and a tragedy if one discovers, later rather than sooner, that one’s belief system or philosophy is based upon a collection of falsehoods.

                  Actually, I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any gods, because there is a lack of evidence to attest to their existence. I particularly do not believe in YHWH, as the only records we have that claim do describe him portray a misogynistic, capricious, genocidal being who should be taken out by a bigger god and spanked soundly until he grows up and joins the ranks of moral beings. There may be a god and, when evidence is forthcoming, I shall become a believer. In the meantime, I certainly cannot believe in a god who insists the I believe despite no evidence, who hides himself from scrutiny and who will then condemn me to eternal torture because I used the rational faculties it is claimed he gave me to reach the conclusions I did.

                  Now, you claim to have been healed and to have a practical faith. Let me issue you a small challenge.

                  I have a medical condition which is intractable to modern (or all) medicine but which, it is claimed, can be healed by intercessory prayer. Ask your god to reveal to you what it is and pray for it to be healed as a sign of his love to me, my family and you.

                  I will keep you informed as to progress and you may publish the nature of my condition here when your god reveals it to you.

                  I think that is a fair thing to ask of someone so strong in their practical, miraculous faith as you are. Would you not agree?

                  It is such a shame that you could not resist a parting shot – “That would involve letting go of your egoist stance…”

                  I am not in the least bit an egoist, at least not in the sense you mean it. I am fully and always aware of my ignorance, which is why I endeavour to learn as much as I can about anything and everything I can, applying rationality, logic and rules of evidence to what I discover, so that I can make informed choices about my actions to ensure the greatest benefit to myself and those around me. In fact, so much of an egoist am I that I try out the things I learn, where appropriate, on myself first either by way of action or thought experiment to ensure that they will cause no harm to others, before I use that knowledge to attempt to benefit others.

                  You really do presume and assume so much. Do you believe so strongly in an omniscient god that you consider it likely that he would gift you with the same omniscience, or are you just being petulant?

                  I will monitor this forum and return weekly to post updates for you about the progress of my healing.

                  I wish you well. Greater minds than those which have succumbed to the xian delusion have also wrestled with the concepts of faith and god. It was they who discovered, among other things, the functions and actions of the right temporal lobe.

                  Peace,

                  Dvaid

      • glebealyth

        The Josephus passage you allude to is recognized almost universally as a fraud, inserted by, or at the behest of, Eusebius, a religious who advocated strongly the use of lying to further the Church’s cause.

        Not a single contemporary historian mentions the crucifixion, nor events around the time it is supposed to have happened. Certainly, there is no record anywhere of the grave in Jerusalem bursting open and the dead wandering the streets for days, nor of the darkness which is supposed to have accompanied Jesus’ death.

        You only have the fiction of the Gospels to call upon, not a single other contemprary source.

        For the following, I thank a friend on another forum:

         “The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:
        Josephus, Philo-Judaeus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Hermogones, Valerius Maximus, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Appian, Theon of Smyrna, Phlegon, Pompon Mela, Quintius Curtius, Lucian, Pausanias, Valerius
        Flaccus, Florus Lucius, Favorinus, Phaedrus, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Columella, Dio Chrysostom, Lysias, Appion of Alexandria.
        Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.”
         To this I add some info from EbonMusings (rephrased) which speaks to your last point of no one noticing a whole bunch of purported miracles:
        “As for the “truth” of the New Testament, it claims that
        Jesus was followed around by great multitudes, attracted the attention of many important Jewish and Roman officials, performed dozens of public miracles, and his death was attended by an earthquake, a three hour darkness, and saints leaving their graves and walking around town. Now notice that not one single historian of that period ever noticed even one of these wondrous things, as not one ever mentioned Jesus in his writings. That simple fact suggests very strongly that the NT is a work of fiction, a compilation of myth and legend.”

  • DavidMHart

    “Call it persecution porn.”

    I much prefer the word ‘martyrbation’ :-)

    • randomfactor

      “Snuff theology.”

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Snuffisticated theology?

    • Matt D

      Heh….that “martyrbation” meme is a keeper!

    • usclat

      So do I D! Lovely!

  • BobaFuct

    “Martyr Acts”…is that the same as “Foxes’ Book of Martyrs”? That book was required reading when I was growing up, and it definitely was martyr porn in the truest sense, as rumors of an “uncensored version” swirled among us school kids. Pretty sick, looking back on it, but at the time the attitude was “the more horrific the death, the more awesome a christian they were” so the goriest tales were the most fun to read.

  • BobaFuct

    Also, I haven’t had a chance to read Moss’ book, but isn’t the main thrust that Christians were persecuted, but it was because religious cults weren’t well-tolerated by the Romans and Christians were particularly uppity and revolutionary? This, as opposed to “we are feeding you to the lions because you love Jesus and we hate him and love Satan” or whatever…

    • b s

      Saw something on the history channel (OK, maybe not a real reliable source) recently that said many of the christians who were persecuted really went out of their way to be persecuted. If they would have just kept to themselves, they probably would have been ignored.

      • Pseudonym

        If by “keeping to yourself”, you mean “participating in public rituals like you’re expected to”, then that’s true. What Christians were doing during this period was kind of like refusing to say “under God” in the pledge.

        • b s

          That was some of it, but if I remember the show correctly (wasn’t really paying that much attention), there were some christians who would blatantly refuse and loudly and publicly proclaim they wouldn’t participate in the rituals (and generally act obnoxious) because the world was going to end at any moment.
          Oops.

          • Pseudonym

            If blatanly refusing and loudly and publicly proclaiming that you won’t participate in a religious ritual to which you don’t ascribe and generally acting obnoxious is a bad thing, then the FFRF is in serious trouble.

            • b s

              Depends. Are christians going to start killing nonbelievers again?

    • The Captain

      Well close. I haven’t read Moss book either so I’m not sure what she says, but the reasons for roman persecution of christians most defiantly had less to do about their religion, and more to do with how they viewed rome.

      Romans really didn’t give too many shits about ones religion (unless politicly motivated) and probably would have never had any problems with the christian cult had they not as you say been so damn uppity and revolutionary. Part of the reason also has to do with christians identifying themselves more as “Christian” than “Roman”. They wouldn’t swear oaths to Rome since they thought that was putting Rome about christ. That was a big no no in ancient civilizations.

      You need to remember in the iron age (and before) ones State, Tribe, or other “Group” was paramount. It gave you privilege, but could also get you killed. Thus sincere loyalty to the group and public displays of such from all it’s members was necessary. The Greeks where famous for this kind of stuff, but Hellenized Rome was not far behind. The christians basically said that they would not do this, and thus where viewed as rejecting rome and being “roman” and thus a possible threat.

    • Stev84

      The Romans were pretty tolerant of other religions. Take Mithraism, for example, which was hugely popular at the same time Christianity started to spread and amass power. Especially in the military. It was a mystery cult with secretive rituals. But nothing was done against it.

      They merely required people to acknowledge the state religion (not even necessarily share it) and maybe perform some rituals as civic duty now and then, but otherwise people could largely believe what they wanted. They also frequently included the gods of other peoples into their pantheon as a way to integrate them into the Empire. But they never cared about any particular theology. The state religion was just a way to unite people and demand obedience to the government.

    • rustywheeler

      What all these good people said.

      I’m currently reading “Christianity: the First 3,000 Years” by Diarmaid MacCulloch. In a nutshell, Roman episodes of Christian persecution were emperor-specific, and had more to do with the anti-pluralist nature of Christianity than with the specific tenets of the faith.

  • The Captain

    I haven’t read Moss’ book it seems she is only arguing that the persecution of christians was not as severe or for as long as many christians claim. Which is most probably true. But the Cracked article claims that it did not happen at all, and that there are no records of it ever have happening. That’s kinda bullshit, and most importantly I don’t think Moss’ work supports that as this article is implying.

    Sure there are no state records or pronouncements to persecute christians, but there are several roman historians of the time that report on it happening. Now there reports are not too specific, so that leaves the amounts/duration up for questioning (what Moss does). But to say it never happened is going against most roman history experts.

    • Terry Firma

      No, the Cracked article claims that the ever-popular accounts of Christians being fed to the lions are bullshit — not that there was never any prosecution (I have my doubts about persecution) of Christians. Important difference.

      • The Captain

        Oops my bad, I got the impression from this article that that’s what they where saying. (yea, I read the links to Moss’ works and not the original cracked article D’OH!)

      • Erp

        In the Colosseum. I should point out that (a) the Colosseum wasn’t the only place blood games took place and (b) I doubt we have many current records about the games (we do have records for a few) so it is difficult to say what did or did not take place. Persecution of Christians did take place (there was a Christian schism over how to treat those who temporarily disavowed Christianity while under pressure [see Donatists]) though apparently vastly overstated (and some actively sought persecution). One early pre-Constantine account has Perpetua and Felicity executed in a North African arena (wild cattle, leopards, bears, sword but no lions involved). It is generally considered historically based (one of the few accounts so considered).

        I do need to read Moss’s book but don’t overstate the thesis.

      • Pseudonym

        Exactly.

        Local discrimination was widespread, in much the same way that local discrimination against atheists and those in minority religions today is widespread today.

        State persecution did happen, and we know this because we have records from people who did it. However, it wasn’t the usual state of affairs; the Diocletian persecution, for example, really did happen, but it was shorter than the war in Afghanistan.

        Of course, even a couple of decades of persecution spread out over 300 years of history is… well, it’s easy to see it as an aberration in hindsight. But it’s still bad if you’re on the receiving end.

  • rwlawoffice

    So an article in Cracked magazine is now seen as proof? I guess we have to if you are going to forget all of the ancient accounts of Romans such as Tacitus that talk about Christians being martyred, regardless of if it was in the Colosseum, to try and make the absurd point that Christians did not face persecution.

    • randomfactor

      Cracked is more reliable than the Bible is…

    • The Captain

      The Cracked article is specifically saying that christians where never persecuted in the colosseum like modern christians tend to portray. Either as gladiator fodder or lion food. I also missed this at first, but after looking agin they are most probably correct.

      Tactitus never says anything about anyone being thrown to the lions in the colosseum.

    • blasphemous_kansan

      I’d take Cracked over you, or any religious tome.

      At least Cracked cites their sources.

      “… to try and make the absurd point that Christians did not face persecution.”

      When did they say this in the article, or try to prove this point? Was it before or after this sentence:

      “Because back when Emperor Nero was busily persecuting early Christians as arsonists, the Colosseum hadn’t even been built yet.”
      Oh yeah, that’s totally making the point that Christians faced no persecution.

      In the future, actually reading the source material can help you avoid looking foolish.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: “So an article in Cracked magazine is now seen as proof?”

      It certainly can be … if their sources hold up.

      What was that … you never realized you could scrutinize someone’s sources? That you’re not forced to just take their own word for something, or not?

      Check out Cracked’s sources before deciding whether or not they’re to be believed. Or you can just dismiss what they say because you’re sanctimoniously enraged by it and you just refuse to acknowledge it might be true. Your choice.

    • RobertoTheChi

      I can’t believe you’re not talking about abortion! *falls off of chair clutching at chest *

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Well, this IS a step up from his defending the murder of gays to “protect” straights in Uganda from AIDS… which is spread primarily by heterosexuals there…

    • glebealyth

      So an article in Cracked magazine is now seen as proof?

      When you have no argument, attack the messenger.

      Argumentum ad hominem is no prettier when directed against a magazine tham when directed against a person.

      Because your own arguments are discreditable and discredited, you should not resort to discrediting another merely in an attempt to deflect from your failure to support your position.

      You must get your morality from the Bible!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I’ve never seen a Cracked article make arguments half so bad as yours, and that includes the gibberish ones whose theme is “Boobs are great, shut up women”.

      Oh, no one said they never faced persecution. You lied again. Poor baby.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    {White, evangelical, heterosexual male voice}

    Wait. Ma’am are you trying to imply that not getting my way all of the time on every single issue isn’t persecution? Are you trying to make that word meaningless? Can’t you see the damage you are doing to me? You’re just intolarent and you’re persecuting me just like the commie hippies persecuted Reagan.

    {/White, evangelical, heterosexual male voice}

  • Thin-ice

    And on the other hand, there IS historical, real evidence from multiple sources that the Christian establishment during the Inquisition and afterwards, persecuted, tortured and murdered people in horrible ways that even the Romans would have found shocking, and in far greater numbers.

    • Stev84

      Apostasy was punished with death not long after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.

    • Blacksheep

      Actually the numbers (based on real evidence from multiple sources) are at the very least the same – but by many accounts far higher (many more Christians killed by Rome). Horrible and shocking? I think it’s all pretty horrible and shocking. being torn aprt by dogs is pretty bad, and crucifixion is still considered one of the worst tortures ever devised.

      • Thin-ice

        Have you actually ever read any books describing the Inquisition and it’s methods? Not that anyone except those who have experienced these tortures can make any comparison (most would have died), but I’m pretty sure that crucifixion would not be the worst of them. If you want to defend the Church’s tortures as milder than the Romans, be my guest.

        • Blacksheep

          I have – all horrifying stuff.

          I’m not – but if you want to defend the Roman’s torture as milder than be your guest, too.

        • Suzanne Spiers

          The church’s tortures are as you say, horrific and done in the name of either the church or Christianity. These tortures were devised by men in powerful positions within the church and governments and have nothing to do with Christianity as expressed in the Scriptures. In the Scriptures, you will find nothing that suggests that one should torture or harm anyone. Jesus ushered in the new covenant and He advocated love, forgiveness, kindness and turning the other cheek. I have never read anything else in the pages of the New Testament and if you read it, you will find the same.

          • DMB

            Torture in the Bible, coming up

            Proverbs 20:30

            Deuteronomy 25:2

            Proverbs 18:6

            Proverbs 19:29

            Proverbs 26:3

            Beating children, always a winner

            Proverbs 13:24

            Psalm 89:31-2
            ect.. ect.. ect..

            • Suzanne Spiers

              You are absolutely correct in your verses about such things. However, you have forgotten or do not know about the most important part of the argument. The Old Testament was part of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in with His death, burial and resurrection, ushered in the New Covenant. Nowhere in the NT does it say anything about harming anyone. Perhaps you might like to read it in its entirety and find out where you think these verses might be and let me know. I have studied the Bible for many years and have also attended theological college and I have not found any verses that cause harm to anyone. In fact, if you put what you are asked to do into practice, you will be so busy loving and caring for people, forgiving them and living peacefully and responsibly, you would not have time for much else.

              • glebealyth

                So, with the OT being now redundant, you would advise churches to stop persecuting homosexuals?
                And, you would forgo the doctrine of original sin, based as it is on the Fall?

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  There is nowhere in Scripture, including the New Testament that says that homosexual acts are ok. Homosexuals should be respected like any other human being, but the Bible has a lot to say about homosexual acts, bestiality and sexuality in general. As for original sin, every human alive struggles with the human condition and being able to live life well. I have not met anyone who has not faced suffering of some kind or other and struggled with how to deal with it. I did not write the Scriptures, but as I live my life, I am glad that I have them as a guide to living my daily life and that I have a God who answers prayer. Sure, anyone can live their lives without God, and many do. That does not mean that He does not exist and does not have an idea about how He wants people to live their lives. Just because you might think it is all rubbish, does not mean that you are right in your thinking. What if there is a God and He exists in a form that does not take into account, your thinking. In Scripture He says “My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord, and ” Your thoughts are not my thoughts.”

                • glebealyth

                  Do you have any, any at all, verifiable evidence for the existence of this god of yours?

                  If you have, I will believe.

                  I do not “think it is all rubbish”, except in the way that I think that interplanetary teapots are rubbish. Please provide evidence and stop bleating about historians and gospel accounts when you have absolutely nothing to back up your belief that those fantasies and forgeries.

                  Has Jesus come back, as he promised to, in the lifetimes of those to whom he made the promises?

                  Have you, as one of his followers, regularly healed the sick and raised the dead, as he promised you would?

                  The evidence says that the promises are empty and the reasonable conclusion to draw is that it is based upon empty belief in something that has no substance.

                  As to original sin – I do not struggle to live with the human condition, but accept it and take the consequences of my actions and thoughts. Xians, on the other hand, forever seek scapegoats for their failure to live properly, claiming Original Sin or the Devil as the causes of their miscreance and misbehaviour.

                  If you are a moral person, I salute you, but do not claim your morality is in any way derived from the tales of a mysogynistic, thieving and genocidal deity as described in the Bible.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  If you want me to prove that God exists, I am not here to offer you proof. However, God does say in His Scriptures that you see evidence all around you of the beauty of His creation. He also sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin. I wonder if you have ever prayed to God. If you have not and you wish to have a relationship with Him then I am sure that you will discover something you did not know before. It is something that you have to do yourself. I have this relationship with God and have done so for many years and it has also changed my life in many ways. I have also experienced many miraculous answers to specific prayers over the years. Jesus did die, and He was resurrected and there are historical accounts of this. He has said that He is coming back and has given an indication at the end of Matthew’s gospel about the signs to look for when the time is near. Nobody knows exactly when and if they say that they do, they are lying. No, I have not raised anyone from the dead or healed the sick as such, but I have worked as a counsellor and that has assisted my clients to learn how to live healthier emotional lives. It is also their responsibility to learn how to live their lives in a healthy fashion; lead a horse to water so to speak. I am not sure about the evidence about which you speak that intimates that the promises in Scripture are empty. God always prefaces His promises with conditions; if you do such and such, I will do such and such. All the Christians I know, including myself have found this to be true when put to the test. I am not a moral person but one just like you and struggle with aspects of learning how to live my life in the way that God would like me to live. I cause most of the problems in my life and am not a victim. I also think that God allows me to experience the issues in my life to grow and learn and to become more like Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit and I have overcome many obstacles in my life. I do feel frustrated sometimes too because I am constrained by the human condition and I do act in ways that are harmful sometimes. I am glad though that when these times occur and I am stuck and cannot get free, that I have a God who loves me enough to provide the right people and resources to assist me to live my life more fully and without the problem I struggled to free myself from. There are always more issues to work on and I am always a work in progress. I do not experience my God as misogynistic, thieving or genocidal. Jesus is love and I am learning to be more like Him and will continue to grow and learn while I am alive and on Earth. Perhaps if you took a risk and prayed, you might discover something new.

                • glebealyth

                  As a former believer and evangelist, I have spent many. many hours in prayer, only to be disappointed by the failure of god to keep his word.

                  Working as a counsellor does not cut it.
                  Jesus said you would do greater things then he did, specifically mentioning the healing of the sick and the raising of the dead.

                  Have you done either?

                  Jesus did die, and He was resurrected and there are historical accounts of this.

                  This is an outrageous, egregious lie, Suzanne.

                  There are NO contemporary records of Jesus’ life, death or resurrection. You know this, yet you still propagate the lie that there are.

                  ALL accounts of the life of Jesus are at least one generation removed from the supposed time of the events. Most are from nearly 300 years afterwards.

                  NOT A SINGLE historian, living around the time recorded the events, not even those resident in Jerusalem at the time the crucifiction is supposed to have taken place.

                  You know this, yet you still continue to lie.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  I am sorry that you are disappointed and no longer believe. You are also intimating that historians such as Josephus are lying and his account is inaccurate! It does not mean that this is true. The account exists and you cannot prove it is wrong or right! It simply exists along with many other historical documents about many other historical characters that may or may also be true or not true. Josephus lived in the same century as Jesus and I am sure that historians who have lived many centuries beyond their subject of interest are not questioned in quite the same way. I am not sure what church you were an evangelist in, but I have also struggled with church teachings that come from a fundamentalist perspective that left no room for me to exist as myself. It really made me feel crazy and did not make sense. Fortunately, I still do believe and trust that God is big enough to handle my growth and development. I do not live my life with guilt and I experience a lot of joy too. I am not sure what you experienced when you say that God did not keep His word to you, and that it caused you to relinquish your faith. Guess that I trust that Jesus is who He says He is in scripture and I have had many answers to prayer over the years and I have learned to live my faith and still retain my identity without cutting any of my self off. I have had to re-think my theology many times and have discovered that as I have grown in my understanding of God, I have also understood that He gave me a brain and a heart that function well. I do not think I m lying about Josephus. He did write about Jesus, he was born in 37 and he wrote about Jesus in that same century. That is not a lie.

                • Glasofruix

                  Sooooooo, basically “the scriptures say they are true so they must be right”, you are pathetic…

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well the difference between you and me is that I am a practicing Christian and you are not. It would be pretty stupid to believe something I did not think was true. Since I am a regular reader of the Scriptures and do not find anything to be false that I have read, I cannot see that they are not true. I also understand that there are a lot of theological arguments that debate a lot of aspects of Scripture and these arguments will continue. The ones I tend to focus on are those that impact on my life such as telling the truth, living honestly, loving people and forgiving them, which are good ways to live one’s life. Perhaps you are the pathetic one. You cannot prove that your assumption is right and you cannot disprove scripture. Prove me wrong then!

                • Glasofruix

                  We both can play that game. I say there’s a purple telepathic monkey on saturn who sends secret messages to earth, go ahead, prove me wrong.

                  The ones I tend to focus on are those that impact on my life such as telling the truth

                  You’ve broken this one numerous times already, if you do the same for “thou shalt not kill” i fear for the safety of people around you….

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Your typical-of-the-breed, knee-jerk attempt to dishonestly and vilely associate consensual acts between adults with raping animals shows that your arguments cannot be trusted. Please shove your ignorance and libel.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well, I find it interesting that all mammals have a male and a female and that is the natural order of things in my opinion. I also believe that sex is designed to be shared between a man and a woman, not two men or two women, That is my belief whether you care for it or not. I also do not mind if you do not trust my arguments. I am not here to please you, but to put forward my own thoughts about what is up for discussion here. I am not suggesting that homosexuality is the same as bestiality, but both of these things are mentioned in Scripture as being not acceptable if acted upon by people. Just because you have a different viewpoint does not make me wrong! Perhaps you should shove your ignorance since that is what you suggest I do with my expression. I also notice that you use very emotive language – typical, of the breed, knee-jerk, dishonest, vilely. Hmm!

                • Thin-ice

                  Suzanne, please explain that over 150 mammalian species have been observed practicing homosexual behavior. Are those animals sitting down and deciding to choose that behavior???

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  If this is true what is your source of information? The difference between humans and animals is that we have a large frontal lobe in our brains which makes us able to reason and select our behaviours. People can do whatever they want, but it does not make what they do, right. If a person is not a Christian then this will not matter to them.

                • Thin-ice

                  A google search of “animal homosexuality” will reveal a wikipedia article and many dozens of scientific, scholarly studies of the subject. Not that you would believe the most water-tight evidence.
                  Anyway, do you think 5-yr-old human children are “choosing” to display other-gender preferences in dress and play objects? Do you think elementary school children deliberately choose to be ostracized by 99% of their peers when they display these behaviors. If you think it’s a choice for most homosexuals, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you!

                • Thin-ice

                  And it appears my figure of 150 species should have been 1500+: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

                • Glasofruix

                  - Homosexuality is unnatural, because no animals behave that way.
                  - Actually they do
                  - Are we animals? I mean we have a brain not to behave like animals

                  Double standards anyone?

                • Discordia
                • phantomreader42

                  There is nowhere in scripture that says the Internet is okay. So since you’ve admitted that you only use this ridiculous scriptural standard of yours when it’s convenient for you, you can go fuck off and quit babbling nonsense.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Hmm. Perhaps you could learn to be polite! I am not using the scriptural standard to discuss anything that is not related to Scripture and all my comments are related to things that people have shared about their ideas about Scripture. There is no discussion about the Internet so your argument is baseless. You obviously are not a Christian and do not support Christian beliefs. That is apparent!

                • phantomreader42

                  Why should I be polite to you, when you and your sick death cult can’t wait to watch your monstrous imaginary friend burn me alive forever? Why should I be polite with you, when you constantly lie about people here? Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?
                  Yes, you’ve figured it out, there are people on the planet Earth who are NOT CHRISTIAN!! And here’s another shocker for you, since we aren’t christians, we do not mindlessly believe every word of that poorly-written work of fiction you call the bible. Hell, there are plenty of christians who don’t believe a lot of that book you worship but haven’t bothered to read, including yourself if you were capable of being honest. So if you want to persuade people who aren’t members of your cult, you need REAL evidence from the REAL WORLD, not just regurgitated nonsense from your book of myths!

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Look at all your emotive words. all you are able to do about what I am sharing is to attack in a vehement manner. Methinks you are overreacting. Why are you doing this when I am simply responding to what people say and making a defence for the faith to which I belong? You are entitled to believe anything you want. God gave you the gift of free will. You obviously haven’t learned enough English to express yourself in a polite manner though. Perhaps that will come when you are developed enough to learn to express yourself without attacking the messenger. You have not read the Bible so really do not know whether it contains the fiction you suggest it does contain. You appear to be a very angry person. If you were secure in your belief system, I am sure you would not react in the way in which you have. You may not be Christian and I am well aware that most people on Earth are not. However, this does not mean that God does not exist. It does not mean that Jesus did not die for you or that He does not love you and it does not mean that the Scriptures are a bunch of myths. You cannot prove what you say. I will be interested to see what you have to say that makes sense.

                • phantomreader42

                  You are lying. I have read enough of the bible to know that it is full of ridiculous bullshit. Your feeble attempt to hide from the substance of what I am saying by whining about how mean it is that I dare disagree with your idiotic lies does not magically make you right, it only makes it obvious that you are stupid and dishonest.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Don’t worry. After she gets done with another round of making things up, she’ll “pray for you”.

                • phantomreader42

                  Another thing, Suzanne. You spend a lot of time trying (and pitifully failing) to convince people that you can read minds. That would involve sorcery, and I seem to recall that imaginary god of yours does not take kindly to sorcerers…

                • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

                  Suzanne, you forfeited the right to be treated in a civil manner when you accused people with decades of Bible knowledge of not understanding the scriptures “correctly” (that is to say, not agreeing with *your* interpretation).

                  I’m also none too thrilled with your comments on the subject of homosexuality, as it betrays a Bible-blinded bigotry. I do hope that none of your own kids turn out to be gay, as I doubt that you would provide a supportive environment for them.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Astreja, I find your thinking really interesting. I believe that I am entitled to interpret the Scriptures as a Christian and I also deserve to be treated in a civil manner. That is a basic human right. If people choose to talk in a crass manner simply because they do not like my interpretation, then that says a lot about those people and their way of communicating with people who do not think as they do. I did not speak to any of them in a disrespectful manner. I have also studied the Scriptures for over 27 years, so perhaps I might know a thing or two and since I am a Christian I am coming from that point of view. How do they know that their view is the ‘correct’ one. They act as if it is. Sure, my view may be different to what most of the people on this site might think, but perhaps most of these people are also not Christians. Perhaps you also are of a different view and a different faith, or perhaps no faith. That is your right and also those people’s right. They have an interpretation and perhaps they may not be correct in their assumptions.

                  You may be less than thrilled with my comments on homosexuality and you say this is ‘Bible-blinded bigotry’. You have your reasons for thinking this, but they are yours and perhaps not the only view possible. Incidentally, my step-son is gay and he is a great guy. I am not sure what he does with his sexuality, and it is not my purpose to treat him with disrespect. We get on well. I am aware of what the Bible says about homosexuality. Interestingly, it also has a lot to say about adultery, stealing, lying and many other things that people who do them find challenging to read about. Are they acceptable too? Some things acceptable in what is written in Scripture, but we can take other things out because they do not suit us; selective Christianity?

                  I think that everyone must work out their own salvation and feel comfortable with the faith that they have chosen. I happen to be a Christian and that is the belief system I have chosen. I did not write the Scriptures and every Christian must come to terms with what is written in them.

                • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

                  Suzanne, I think we can tone down the insults a bit but it has to be reciprocal.

                  For starters, please keep in mind that yes, people can and do lose their faith. After studying the Bible for many years (and often praying for help to rekindle the fires of belief), it’s a slap in the face to be told that their earlier faith wasn’t the real deal or that they don’t know how to read the Bible correctly.

                  I also don’t see why you would liken homosexuality to adultery or stealing. Homosexuality is a variation on human sexual attraction, not wilful bad behaviour. It’s nonsensical and cruel to expect someone to abandon someone he loves and force himself into a relationship with someone he doesn’t love, just because a religious book says so.

                • Discordia

                  I am sure phantomreader42 will start being nicer when you start being smarter, something I doubt will ever happen.

                • Len

                  In one post (responding to questions about torture in the bible) you say the OT doesn’t count because Jesus replaced it (despite him saying he didn’t). Then in this post you say that things from the OT still count (homosexuality, bestiality, and sexuality). You take the bits of the OT you like and drop the bits you don’t like.

                  And before you say I’ve obviously never read the bible, as you have to several people whose points you don’t like (as if that somehow addresses the argument you’re trying to counter) – I have read it. I preached from it for years.

              • Thin-ice

                Hey Suzanne, good news! I’m ALREADY “busy loving and caring for people, forgiving them and living peacefully”. Hold on, what’s that you say? I’m still going to suffer trillions of years in the torment of hell? So all my good living still isn’t good enough? I still have to believe in a certain thing that you believe in? Not according to the book of James. That doesn’t count? I should believe the gospel of John rather than the epistle of James? I’ll make a bargain with you: whenever you can get all the books and verses in the New Testament to agree with one another, I will become a believer. (And Hell will freeze over.)

          • Greg G.

            Matthew 18:23-35 is a parable where Jesus thinks harsh treatment is OK. Luke 12:42-48 is about guilty slaves being beaten severely but innocent slaves being beaten with only a few blows. Continue reading Luke 12:49-53 where Jesus came to bring fire and wishes it was already kindled. Also how he came to divide families.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              This parable from Matthew is dealing with the subject of forgiveness and it actually begins at verse 21. Jesus is telling Peter that we must forgive others 70 x 7 times; i.e. a lot of times; not just once. A king was settling accounts with his servants and one could not pay. He came to an agreement with the servant re payment of the debt. The king was fair with that servant. It was also a large debt. This servant was owed a much smaller amount by another servant and the servant who had been dealt with fairly by the king, began to abuse that servant physically and demanded immediate payment. In fact, the servant was harsh, unlike the king had been with him, and had the servant who owed the smaller amount, thrown into prison. Someone told the king and at that point, the king sent him to prison too, to be dealt with by the gaolers. God demands that we forgive our brothers and sisters from the heart.

              The other verses you mention from Luke are about being wise and faithful managers of what God has given us charge over. If we do so, then God will give us more responsibilities and privileges. To the one who knows what he or she is meant to do and who does not do it, then that person is more accountable than one who is not aware fully of what is expected.

              The other verses from Luke are interesting because they deal with division of families. Now, Jesus is Truth. In today’s world there is a lot of division that occurs in families when people speak their truth. It does divide families when people do not own fully their part in destructive situations. the truth teller is frequently castigated and family members find ways to stop the truth teller from speaking his or her truth. Until people own what they have done, it will cause division and a lack of healing and families will be torn apart. Those who live in darkness do not want the light to shine on their misdeeds. Those who live in the light of truth may experience pain, but the exposure of the deeds done in darkness means that it cannot be hidden and must be acknowledged. Just think along the lines of what you would not want known because it would have repercussions if exposed to the light. In today’s terms, we could think about things like pornography, domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, alcoholism and other addictions; in fact anything that has a dark side to it but exists in families and in our communities. It is only by exposing these harmful things to the light and dealing with them that there is any hope of healing, openness and truth within people.

              • Greg G.

                You are reading it with Jesus-colored glasses. Jesus thinks the guy not forgiving the debt of the fellow slave justifies the king jailing the guy. If it’s wrong for the guy to not forgive, then it is wrong for the king not to forgive, too. It’s a lesson in moral relativism. Jesus doesn’t believe in absolute morality. The guy had the other fellow put in jail but the king had the guy jailed and tortured. Jesus teaches that torture is justified. The king was originally going to jail the guy, his wife and kids, and everything he owed be sold to repay the debt. Jesus doesn’t condemn that.
                The rest of the post on Luke seems to be what you wish it said instead of trying to explain what it actually says. If you have to read that much Truth into the Bible, you should just stick with that and not try to polish the Bible with it.

          • Randay

            Oh yeah, the same way in Revelation he kills the children of Jezebel to teach her a lesson because she sleeps around. In Matthew he says I bring not peace but the sword. Luke disagrees and has Jesus saying I bring not peace but fire. These clowns can’t even keep their story straight. Such a nice guy that murderous jerk Jesus. Fortunately it is all myth and didn’t happen.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              Perhaps you should read what is actually said in those parables in order to comment intelligently. If you read it properly, you would understand what Jesus is actually saying. You really haven’t read it!

              • Thin-ice

                Careful what you presume Suzanne! Many of the people commenting here had been Christians longer than you, know the Bible better than you, and at least in one case, has a Bachelor of Theology and was a missionary for several year (myself).

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  If you are a Christian, you would not be questioning the truth of the scriptures unless you have a theology that is not based on Scripture. The comments that I made on what was said about the parables were made because the person who posted about them had not read them properly and the meaning ascribed to them by that person did not make any sense at all. As for theology, you are not the only person to have studied Theology. Incidentally, what do you think about the Scriptures and what Josephus has to say?

                • phantomreader42

                  So the only way to be a Suzanne-Spiers-Approved-Real-True-Christian™ is to tear out your brain and offer it as a burnt sacrifice to the invisible sky tyrant. Thinking is not allowed.
                  Why should anyone believe you, Suzanne? Of course, you’re not capable of answering that question, because you can’t imagine anything but mindlessly swallowing whatever bullshit your cult feeds you, without an instant’s thought.

                • Thin-ice

                  Oh, God, not the Josephus thing. The mention of Jesus and Christians in Josephus is now accepted by ALL biblical scholars as a later interpolation by Christian scribes making copies of Josephus. It’s not in Josephus’ earliest extant manuscripts. And I’m NOT a Christian anymore, Suzanne. If I was once a real Christian, by your definition, I could never change my mind. I have no free will. Which is Calvinism in it’s ugliest form. The logical inconsistencies in your theology are too numerous to mention.

                • Glasofruix

                  The comments that I made on what was said about the parables were made
                  because the person who posted about them had not read them properly and
                  the meaning ascribed to them by that person did not make any sense at
                  all.

                  In other words, he used his brain instead of blindly swallowing what he’s been told by the religious authority.

                • glebealyth

                  Ah, good old argumentum ad verecundiam.

                  Appeal to authority, NOT “argument from some right old
                  c´nt”, though I can see why some lean towards the latter translation.

                  ;o))

              • edb3803

                That’s right. If we don’t agree with you, then we must have read it incorrectly. How presumptuous!

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  I am not asking you to agree with me, but the way that some of the comments have been written on this site indicate that whoever read the verses from scripture had no idea what they were about. What they were saying did not make any sense. I am also coming from a Christian perspective that holds that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh and that Scripture is valid. If you are coming from another perspective, you will see me as being presumptuous. It is not that I would not agree with you, but I have perhaps another belief system than you hold.

                • edb3803

                  Oh, we definitely have differing belief systems.

                  I believe that all myths are fictitious.

                  You believe that some myths, the christian ones, are real.

                  But we do, I think, agree that non-christian myths are fictitious, so there’s that.

              • Randay

                Now I have to be able to interpret parables correctly! How am I or anyone else supposed to know what the “correct” interpretation is? I suppose you think yours is the correct one.

                • b s

                  “How am I or anyone else supposed to know what the “correct” interpretation is?”

                  They usually put the answers in the back of the book. Or at least to either the even or odd questions. Maybe jesus forgot to leave the teachers edition?

                • Randay

                  Heh, Heh, that’s a good one.

            • glebealyth

              I always thought it was most instructive to see the morality of god demonstrated in the destruction of Job’s family, just so god could win a bet with satan!

          • brindlethorpe

            (I just want to say thanks for hanging in and responding to so many comments here. You’ve got your work cut out for you to keep up!)

            • Suzanne Spiers

              I am amazed that so many people who have never read any of the Scriptures, think they are false and argue that. They do not know what they really say, hence their inaccurate statements. I am sure of what I am saying and it feels very good to express my beliefs and thoughts about my beliefs in spite of other people’s disparagement. Their thoughts about me are really none of my business lol.

              • phantomreader42

                Suzanne, you clearly haven’t read all the Harry Potter books. Does that mean you aren’t qualified to say that they’re not true? Or do you only pretend that your argument isn’t a laughable load of crap when it’s convenient for you to do so?

              • Discordia

                There is a huge difference between ‘reading’ and ‘comprehension’. You obviously have a profound lack of the latter.

                If Scripture is true, then rabbits chew cud, eagles carry their young on their wings and I can make my flocks produce offspring with spirals and squares on their hides by simply carving spirals and squares in newly cut poles!!
                Genesis
                30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

          • glebealyth

            Suzanne,

            Your response boils down to the regular apologetic that if it is bad and immoral, it was done by wicked men & if it was good and moral it was done by god.

            Not good enough.

            • Suzanne Spiers

              No, it has nothing to do with ‘bad and immoral’. All people choose their actions. Even if we do not understand why we do what we do, we are all subject to the human condition and there is not a human alive who is able to manage their lives so they are lived morally at all times. We are human and make many mistakes from which we hopefully learn. We want to do good things but cannot and the things that we want to do we struggle with. Who has not gossiped or lost their temper or sat in judgement or acted unkindly. Who has excellent self-esteem and does not suffer doubt, depression, pain, suffering, or addictions of one kind or another at some time. I have never met anyone who has not done those things, or been subject to them. Even things like gossip, sitting in judgement, arrogance, pride; many other things too. We all have the capacity to do immoral things and we all have the capacity to do great things. Scripture would say that it is because of the Fall. God understands this basic frailty in human nature and understands that we cannot control it on our own. That is why He elected to send Jesus to be the living sacrifice for sin.

              • glebealyth

                Nope. He was condemned to die before the “foundation of the world”. Before even the supposed Fall of Man.

                The whole confabulation is just too inconsistent to have even the smallest chance of being contained within the set of reality.

          • glebealyth

            He advocated love, forgiveness, kindness and turning the other cheek.

            Yet he hated fig trees that did not do what his father apparently created them NOT to do, like bear fruit out of season.

            I have never read anything else in the pages of the New Testament…

            Which speaks to just how little you have read of the Bible or how selective you have been in your reading of it.

            In the Scriptures, you will find nothing that suggests that one should torture or harm anyone.

            Tell that to the children of the Amalekites!

            • Suzanne Spiers

              The Amalekites were written about in the Old Testament if you have read about them. Fig trees were talked about by Jesus and really are not related to love, forgiveness, kindness etc. You have taken that story out of context! You have also mixed up what is in the Old Testament with what is written in the New Testament. Just shows that really you have not read the scriptures at all but just bits and all out of context.

              • Glasofruix

                Isn’t there in the NT some passage that tells not to dismiss the OT?

                • glebealyth

                  There is, but it never stops a Liar4Jesus when they need to.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  We are told not to dismiss the OT. However, the NT is what Christians follow. The Law is summed up by this. “You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it. Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”Mt 22:37-40. So, even though we acknowledge the OT, we follow what Jesus commands.

                • b s

                  “We are told not to dismiss the OT. However, the NT is what Christians follow…So, even though we acknowledge the OT, we follow what Jesus commands.”

                  And what part of this allows you to pick and choose between not worrying about pork, shellfish, and mixed fibers, but hating homosexuals is OK? The 10 commandments are not in the NT, are we to dismiss them?

                  “Love your neighbour as yourself”

                  So do you treat yourself the same way you treat homosexuals?

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well, since you are acting as if you are a very intelligent academically inclined person who knows everything about Scripture, I imagine you would have read the part in the NT where you understand that food that people eat is irrelevant in terms of Christian faith; so that would include shellfish and there is nothing said about mixed fibres. Or perhaps you haven’t read it so this simply exposes your ignorance. Perhaps you could now put your money where your mouth is and read the Bible and then you would learn something about it instead of only thinking you know. If you had read it cover to cover as you suggest you have, hence your lack of knowledge, you would be able to read that food is for the body, not the spirit. That is to do with believers being under the new covenant rather than the old as expressed in the OT. I do actually love myself and treat others as I would treat myself. I imagine that you notice that I have not done as many of you here on this site have done and called people names in such a hateful way. I also understand and respect my right to my opinions and thoughts and love myself sufficiently to allow them to exist, even in the face of disparagement and male hate words. I am thinking that in regard to the words, that men only have about 3 language centres dotted throughout the brain whereas women have about 7 and more neuronal connections, so perhaps that is why I have noticed a lack of coherent language in most of these posts. As regards homosexuals, I am not one and I have not said that homosexuals do not exist. What Scripture does say is that homosexual acts are the thing in question, and that God considers them to be sinful.

                • Ann Onymous

                  Mixed fibers aren’t mentioned?

                  Leviticus 19:19 – Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

                • Glasofruix

                  Well so far so you’ve been telling us that the ot was unimportant and it’s verses irrelevant? Or have you been lying? Again.

                • Suzanne Spiers

                  Well Glasofruix. Firstly, I believe that I am entitled to my thoughts and opinions as are you. This forum has people such as you who are not Christian, therefore all your points would not favour anyone or anything that is Christian in nature. You would not be open to Christian thought and what it would mean for your life, hence, you are not a Christian, but possibly an atheist who has spent time collecting information that either attacks Scripture or the person and reality of Jesus Christ,or supports your atheistic stance. I am a Christian and I do know what the Bible says quite well since I read it regularly and have done so over many years. I am not saying that the OT is unimportant. If you actually read what I have said, you will see that we do take note of the OT but we follow what Jesus says, in the NT. That also includes what is shared in the other books of the NT. Before Jesus came, everyone was under the old covenant and after He came, He ushered in the new covenant. Perhaps you might like to study what that is all about, then you would really understand instead of attacking. Perhaps you prefer to remain ignorant and simply think the thoughts you have always thought. Jesus does not advocate violence or religiously trying to follow the Ten Commandments. You seem to have a fixation on your concept of lying. To me, lying is something that is done when telling something that you know is not true. I am a practicing Christian and although you see my ideas and understandings as lies, they are simply different from your own. Obviously, since your faith is working for you and you are a completely happy and together person, you never have any doubts or thoughts about where you will spend eternity,or about who God or Jesus is, or about the idea that you are a spiritual person. Hope it’s working for you and good luck to you.

                • Glasofruix

                  Jesus does not advocate violence or religiously trying to follow the Ten Commandments.

                  You’re full of crap as usual. Somebody quoted the relevant verses to you already and they’ve proven you know nothing about what’s written in those scriptures of yours.

                • Gadfly156

                  Whine, whine, whine. TL; DR

                • Gadfly156

                  Oh FFS … go proselytize elsewhere. You spout this crap like you think nobody has ever heard it before. The problem being we have ALL heard it a BILLION times before and we all know it’s crap. I’m not talking about this post specifically or any one post specifically; it’s your entire shuck and jive routine. Peddle your convoluted lies somewhere else. I’ve read the bible multiple times and know it better than you do, which is why I’m not buying the bullshit.

              • Glasofruix

                The Amalekites were written about in the Old Testament if you have read about them.

                Wait wait, the god of the OT being the same god in the NT, how exactly does that invalidate the facts that he killed and tortured people for no apparent reason other than his own selfishness and enjoyement?

                • Ann Onymous

                  Exactly. Ignoring Matthew 5:18, Xians seem to think that there’s an invisible asterisk on the OT’s last page saying “This portion of the sole message to his creation of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient deity has been discredited. Ignore it, but we’ll still publish it as part of the holy book we tout as perfect and inerrant.”

          • Joey Tranchina

            “In the Scriptures, you will find nothing that suggests that one should torture or harm anyone.”

            Really? Have you read the Bible?

            Yo may be a very decent person who is only attracted to what is good and decent in the Bible. That speaks well of you but it does not reflect the actual contents of the Bible.

      • DougI

        So what are the number of Christians killed by Rome for being Christian? Throughout all of the history of the Roman empire there were about 12 years Christians could be considered to have been persecuted.

        • Randay

          The number of Xians killed by the pagan Roman Empire was certainly less than the number of heretic Xians killed by the Xian Roman Empire starting at the time of Theodosius in 381CE when he made orthodox Xianity the state religion. Then there are all the pagan believers who were killed as well. The Xians have long been a blood-thirsty bunch.

    • DougI

      C’mon, according to William Lane Craig it was probably the Christians who suffered because of the torment they had to go through with all that work of torturing and executing people. But really, those probably weren’t True Christians ™, but people persecuting Christians by claiming to be Christian and doing all those awful things.

    • Suzanne Spiers

      I agree with you totally. These persecutions were done by those people who were called Christians in name only. It is true that they persecuted, tortured and murdered people in Christ’s name. The Catholic Church has also committed many atrocities in Christ’s name. However, one point that you are missing is that a Christian who is a practicing Christian, is focussed on continually learning how to love and forgive others, bringing peace and harmony into the world and being more like Jesus every day. Jesus taught us to love our neighbours as ourselves, to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to live righteously and in truth. Nowhere does He tell us to torture, kill, hurt or act in unloving ways. Anything that is unloving is not of God and is not Christian. Read the Scriptures starting with the book of James and you will be confronted with taming the tongue and gossip and all those nasties that each one of us has the ability to use to harm others. If you only ever read the book of James, it would take you quite a long time to be able to practice what it says so that it becomes a natural part of your life.

      • Glasofruix

        No true scottsman, eh?

      • Ann Onymous

        “Nowhere does He tell us to torture, kill, hurt or act in unloving ways.”

        A short list of cruelties in the Bible:http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/short.html

        A long list is also available, as are long and short lists of things like injustice and intolerance. Have fun “No-True-Scotsman”-ing that.

      • Joey Tranchina

        Sorry Suzanne, I understand the distinction you are attempting to make, but it won’t fly. some of the worst torturers were the most fanatically sincere Christians who were “crushing their bodies to save their souls from eternal torment.”

        What you believe is none of my business but don’t make excuses for Christianity’s history of evil.

        Nobody — at least not me — is attempting to say there there is not much wisdom and beauty in the Bible, but if you lead your life attempting to believe everything in it you’ll end up as one strange cookie.

  • the moother

    The stories (i.e., made up and no evidence) of persecutions are all made up to win support and converts…

    *waves at Palestinians*…

  • Taz

    As a Detroit native I can attest that any account of Lion victories is probably false.

    • usclat

      Love it! But you do have the Red Wings!

    • Kim

      Good one.

  • Michael Waters

    and as always ancient civilizations becomes greece and rome….

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Yeah, the Cracked article has a terrible title.

  • http://www.theaunicornist.com Mike D

    That’s a bummer, because “Christians to the Lions” is an awesome Behemoth song.

  • Blacksheep

    Public execution in dramatic and horrifying ways was a part of Roman culture. There is written evidence of Romans sacrificing people to lions, and Christians to “beasts” – dogs, boars, etc. But not specifically “Christians to lions.” Just as bad though, in my opinion…

  • Blacksheep

    From Wikipedia:

    The use of damnatio ad bestias against Christians began in the 1st century AD. Tacitus describes that during the first persecution of Christians under the reign of Nero (after the Fire of Rome in 64), people were wrapped in animal skins (calledtunica molesta) and thrown to dogs.[31] This practice was followed by other emperors who moved it into the arena and used larger animals. Application of damnatio ad bestias to Christians was intended to equate them with the worst criminals, who were usually punished this way.[32]

    According to Roman laws, Christians were:[33]

    Offenders of their Majesty (majestatis rei)

    For their worships Christians gathered in secret and at night, making unlawful assembly, and participation in such collegium illicitum or coetus nocturni was equated with a riot.

    Refusal to honor images of the emperor by libations and incense

    Dissenters from the state gods (άθεοι, sacrilegi)

    Followers of magic prohibited by law (magi, malefici)

    Confessors of a religion unauthorized by the law (religio nova, peregrina et illicita), according to the Twelve Tables).

    Apart from these specific violations, Christians fell under special government edicts, which were published from 104 AD and targeted anyone who identified themselves as a Christian.[33] Christians were made public scapegoats for any unexplained natural disasters, such as drought, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and floods.[34][35]

    The spread of the practice of throwing Christians to beasts was reflected by the Christian writer Tertullian (2nd century). He wrote that Christians started avoiding theaters and circuses, which were associated with the place of their torture.[36] The persecution of Christians ceased by the 4th century. The Edict of Milan(313) gave them freedom of religion.

    • Katherine Hompes

      You know, Wikipedia is an unacceptable academic source for a reason

      • Blacksheep

        Depends on the subject, the writers, and the rigor with which they cite sources. For some topics, absolutely. But sice I’ve already looked at many of the sources mentioned over the years, I’m OK with it. My opinion is that it’s pretty accurate here, and if it gets anything wrong the main idea is still accurate. Sometimes it’s just easier. (That’s also whY I’m always careful to cite W. as the source, I’m assuming it will be read in the right context)

        And I also agree – if I were doing an academic paper, I wouldn’t rely on W.

        • Andrew G.

          Your “opinion” is that it’s pretty accurate?

          Did you check the sources? [33] is a Russian anti-atheist site, hardly a reliable source, and most of the part you quoted comes from there.

          • Blacksheep

            The overall takeaway reputes claims to the contary, even factoring in the questionable sources.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Eh, that’s not a great argument. Wikipedia’s a good place to start (I find primary sources a lot in the citations) and a lot of times it has pretty good merit, though it’s bad on certain political issues and people and doesn’t handle religious controversies very well.

        However, I use Wikipedia quite a lot in Internet arguments. It’s right enough, most of the time, and one can always follow up their sources in one’s own time. We aren’t trying to have an academic argument; that requires a lot more time and effort (and database access) than most of us are willing to put in.

        However, that wiki article still doesn’t suggest there was widespread persecution of Christians, nor that they didn’t call it down on themselves by refusing to take part in civic religious ceremonies. Christians were blamed for natural disasters because of that refusal- the gods were clearly displeased that some Romans refused to make pro forma sacrifices for the good of the Empire. Nonsense, pure and simple, but it was the dominant religious and civic thought of the day.

      • Spuddie

        Tacitus also was not known for being historically accurate either.

        His works were closer to pointed political commentary than an attempt to describe events in factual details. Much of what he wrote was meant as a backhanded attack on those running the Empire.

  • mikespeir

    Just finished the Candida Moss book. Thought it was kind of an uneven work, but one thing that comes through crystal clear is that practically no legitimate scholar buys the ubiquitous persecution crap anymore.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    To be very clear: That legends of Roman persecution of Christians has been overstated, if not outright lies, has been known for a very long time. As long ago as the 18th century, Edward Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, made a case for it being an exaggeration … and things have only gotten worse for those martyrdom legends, since.

    It’s not news that a desire to be persecuted for Jesus has been a core component of Christianity almost from its beginning. It’s a form of mass psychopathology that we simply cannot afford to indulge any more.

    That said, can we please stop talking about how Christianity was the “official religion” of the Roman Empire? No such declaration was ever made … not explicitly, anyway. Certainly Constantine (who’s usually blamed for this) never did any such thing; what he did was to grant Christianity tolerance (which is NOT the same thing as making it the state’s “official religion”). A few decades later Theodosius came close, but what he actually did was to progressively outlaw other religions; he never issued any edict ever stating overtly that Christianity was Rome’s “official religion.”

    Theodosius’s orders might, in toto, have had the ultimate effect of making Christianity the only practicable religion … but he never made that explicit. And paganism endured after him; e.g. later eastern emperors like Justin and his son Justinian found themselves having deal with pagans within their domains.

  • newavocation

    Its interesting that most Germans today detest anything remotely related to Nazism. I wonder why Christanity still feels justified in ostracizing people after all their own killings over the last 2000 years.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Here’s an analogy that may help. When Germany was split into two halves after World War II, West Germany and other nations largely stamped out Nazi sympathies, in no small part by making sure that the West German populace didn’t have the opportunity to project blame for their own history, which is what led to the war and the Holocaust. Meanwhile, the Soviets convinced the East Germans that they weren’t really at fault, that it was those OTHER GUYS who committed and allowed all those atrocities. They expunged their guilt through propaganda, and the enabled East Germans felt free to maintain their prejudices. When Germany reunited, latent Neo-Nazism moved from East to West and became a… teeny bit of an issue.

      You can see which half of the country represents those Christians you’re describing.

  • Mick

    If you want to know how far the martyrdom fad went, check out the Circumcellions.

    They deliberately sought martyrdom by entering pagan temples and destroying idols. When the pagan churches were outlawed the Circumcellions would attack other citizens in the hope that they would retaliate and kill them.

  • UWIR

    “There are zero authentic accounts of Christian martyrdom in the Colosseum until over a century after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, not a single legitimate record exists of the Romans executing any Christians in the Colosseum.”
    I’m having trouble understand what the second half of the first sentence is doing there. Were there martyrdoms after Christianity took over? But then the second sentence says there were none at all.

    • DougI

      On example of a Christian martyr was a person later referred to as Buddha. Other Christian martyrs were from the Macabees books, a story about Jews. Martyr tales were a popular form of fiction back in the day.

    • UWIR

      I guess they meant that no accounts existed of martyrdom until over a century after Christianity became the official religion, but the present tense leads to the reading that there are no accounts of Christian martyrdom, such that the alleged martyrdom took place over a century after. That’s incredibly bad writing.

  • Isabella Rose

    I have heard that. Propaganda.

    Just like the Inquisition. Yet the Protestants killed far more Catholics, in a much more brutal manner…but no one ever talks about that.

    The fact is, the truth will always be attacked.

    Those who attacked it will be minimized as not having attacked it, or those who were attacked will be stigmatized as the attackers (think the Crusades. 500 years of invasions by Muslims…who wouldn’t have been fed up? But wait, they should have taken it for another 500 years…bad crusaders, bad!)

    Hmmmm…

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Snerk!

    • RobMcCune

      Impressive, so much history revised in so little a time.

  • Suzanne Spiers

    Hmm. Even if many accounts of Christian martyrdom were fabricated, there also were many that were not. Stephen, I believe, was the first martyr and he was stoned to death and his story is recorded in Scripture. St Paul, in his Letters, also recorded in Scripture, outlines many accounts where he was personally imprisoned under cruel conditions and suffered greatly during those times. During the time after Jesus’s death and resurrection, many people suffered then for their faith and a common way to punish people was to crucify them upside-down. In many parts of the world today, Christians are still persecuted for their faith. I am sure that a Christian could not openly declare His or her faith and worship openly and also tell people about the Christian faith in a country like Saudi Arabia. I am also of the understanding that it is not possible to build a church in many Islamic countries; in theory it is possible, but the red-tape ensures that it will never be allowed.

    • Terry Firma

      Be honest: You didn’t actually read my post, did you? Or at least, you must somehow have missed the final third, the part that starts with “No one is saying that Christians don’t face actual, provable persecution. They do — in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China.” Etc.

      • glebealyth

        Perhaps Suzanne is a persecuted, American xian?

        • Dez

          Those poor persecuted American Christians. They can not force their religion onto others so of course they are being persecuted.
          No one believes that fake martyr crap over here especially since they are the majority and are continually persecuting minorities like the gay community.

          • glebealyth

            Paw wittle baybees.

            It seems they have not yet managed to discern the subtle nuances that differntiate “being persecuted for one’s beliefs” from “being challenged about one’s beliefs”.

    • Major Nav

      Scripture is not a historical document.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Well, it does describe the historical Exodus in detail…

        Oh wait, my bad. There’s no evidence that big huge thing that every nation in the region would have known about ever occurred, even if we discount the supernatural parts.

    • Glasofruix

      Scriptures here, scriptures there… You know? Having only one source to justify your bullshit does not make it true and christian scriptures were never known to be accurate…

  • M. Elaine

    Interview with Candida Moss on Reasonable Doubts Podcast:
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/reasonabledoubts/Msxh/~3/q2MVwQEDVVE/rd113_the_myth_of_martyrdom_part1.mp3
    Segment on martyrdom starts at 8:42.
    Actual interview with Candida Moss starts at 16:15.

  • Pawel Samson

    I LOVE Cracked, and really enjoyed reading this article earlier this week. Of course, the Christian martyrdom bit kicked of a bit of garment-rending and cries of anti-religious bias in the comments section, just like any time any Cracked article mentions Christianity in a less-than-flattering light. Cracked is a very left-leaning site that skeptically and satirically examines tons of different topics, so seeing all those reader comments disagreeing with the completely reasonable, evidence-backed claim of Christians never being fed to lions is puzzling to me.

  • Unpaid Bankruptcy

    Yes, yes, it’s typical cult propaganda.

    The Romans murdered all the christians, that’s why there’s no christians today.

  • Fred Jones

    The original article says that Christians were not killed in the COLLOSSEUM. That’s because it’s felt they were killed at other locations, such as the Circus Maximus. It doesn’t say they weren’t killed, it’s the location which is being argued about. Nero couldn’t have killed Christians in the Colosseum, because it wasn’t built yet.

  • Freddy West

    The writer claims to be atheist with a muslim face haa haa haa