Christmas Crackers: To Bethlehem or Not to Bethlehem

This came up in conversation and so I will present the issues concerning Bethlehem in the nativity accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. These posts concerning the nativity sit alongside my book The Nativity: A Critical Examination. Bethlehem is a very important place for the average Christian. It is the birthplace of Jesus. But it is more than that, it is the birthplace of the predicted Messiah, whether Jesus existed or not. For Jews and Christians alike, Bethlehem was… Read more

Christmas Crackers: Why Return to an Ancestral Town for a Census?

Since this has come up in a recent thread, where Christian commenter and biblical accuracy asserter See Noevo has been defending it, I thought I’d run through some of the many myriad issues with the Lukan census. This excerpt is taken from my book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, and details why Joseph returning to his ancestral town for a census, as according to Luke is a ridiculous idea. I have only quoted a portion of the chapter. The notion of such… Read more

The story of the Exodus from Egypt as Exceedingly Ridiculous

In light of some Exodus talk, and some Christian commenters here defending its historicity, let’s look at the utter ridiculousness of the accounts found in the Bible. Here are some notes I use for my God on Trial talk. The movement of the enslaved Hebrews out of Egypt with Moses (and Aaron) as their figureheads, and the plagues and resulting mayhem caused by both the plagues (including the Passover) and a crashing sea destroying an army, is well documented in… Read more

The Proportion of Biblical Scholars Believing in the Truth of Biblical Claims Is Meaningless

This is something that I hear so often, in the area of the biblical studies. that I thought I should post a little something about it. Here is a quote that appeared on a thread the other day: NTS isn’t an actual fallacy. You people really like to choose and pick your historical data; site questionable “experts”; use theories that are laughable and unproven; and draw conclusions that align with your beliefs. The historical evidence is so abundant that 99 percent… Read more

Scientists ‘Inject’ Information Into Monkeys’ Brains

The other day, I wrote a piece about Mary’s Room and the Chinese Room experiments in the context of The Good Place. Let me tap into that again: We often think that our minds are everything – they are what makes us “us”. But our minds are part of a very complex physiological system that includes our bodies – endocrine and digestive systems and all. These feedback loops are what give us our feelings. That said, in Descartes Evil Daemon/The Matrix terms,… Read more

Casting Doubt on the Nativity of Jesus again

My usual seasonal spiel goes something like this… Holidays are coming, holidays are coming… It’s that time of year, you know, the interminable run-up to Christmas when big corporations vie for your hard-earned cash in an attempt to exploit the seasonal goodwill brought on by the imaginary birth of a godmanspirit. Well, have I told you recently that I wrote a book on that very topic? I didn’t? How very careless. Anyway, I wrote a book on that topic. It’s… Read more

Playing Defense Against The Alt-Right

I get into lots of arguments on the internet. I think they are the inspiration for the majority of my blogging content. When I came across this video, it characterized my interactions with the alt-right and fascists on the internet with astonishing accuracy. Perhaps it will remind you of some interactions you’ve had in the comment section of this blog. This video discusses how even when we make cogent, logical, and well-evidenced arguments we can often appear to be losing when… Read more

‘Oldest eye ever discovered’ in 530-million-year-old fossil

As scientists happily get on with their wide and varied work, I wonder what creationists (such as those who comment here) do in order to rationalise such research. How many hoops do they have to jump through in order to make this data, and all the work of these scientists do, make any sense? Here we have a fossilized eye that is some 530 million years old, and everything about this is in direct contravention of all that creationists tell… Read more

Religious Discrimination: Teacher Wins Tribunal After Unfair Dismissal by Faith School

This is something very close to my heart as I worked in a faith school for some 10 years and have some interesting things I would love to say on the matter (but, alas, can’t). In a generic sense, it is amazing that, in this day and age, we still have a scenario whereby faith schools in the UK opt out of human rights legislation. Yes, you heard it. Faith schools, almost alone in this employment position, do not have… Read more

Not Seeing God through Celebrations in Life

Galen Broaddus, of Across Rivers Wide, here at Patheos, contributed a chapter to the recent book Not Seeing God: Atheism in the 21st Century. In his piece, he alludes to the human proclivity for ritual and celebration. As a humanist celebrant, he is tapping into this and supplying the demand for such within an atheistic paradigm. Part of his chapter is here excerpted: In January of 2017, I got to experience something that not a great number of people get to experience:… Read more

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