When Did the Temple Veil Rip?

curtainWe’ve all heard the story. Jesus is on the cross, about to die. Darkness covers the earth. As he cries out, the temple veil — the curtain that covers the place where God himself was said to dwell — is ripped in two, from top to bottom.

A fine story, I guess, for a son of a god dying on a cross, as long as you don’t nitpick the details. Which is exactly what I propose to do about the timing of the torn veil.

Mark: After

The only “early” sources in history that claim the curtain was ripped are the synoptic gospels. Mark, the earliest gospel (written around 70AD), says it takes place after the death of Jesus:

Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15:37-38, NRSV)

That seems pretty straightforward. Jesus dies, and then after the curtain was torn. But what do the other gospels say?

Matthew: During or After

Matthew is based on Mark, and thus we can expect it to agree. And we would be almost right:

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50-51)

The author of Matthew is a little more specific as to when the curtain was torn — the exact moment Jesus took his last breath. It’s a nice touch of drama, only slightly different from the first source in emphasis.

Luke: Before

Pullquote: According to the Bible, the curtain ripped before, during, and after Jesus’ death, depending on which writer you read.

Now let’s look at Luke. Luke is a compilation, and so it occasionally disagrees with Matthew and Mark. Here is Luke’s version:

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-46)

According to the Bible, the curtain ripped before, during, and after Jesus’ death, depending on which writer you read. So which is it?

How Would They Know?

Here’s question to consider: Assuming the veil did rip, how would the writers know when it ripped? They didn’t have watches. There wasn’t a video. Jesus didn’t die near the veil, so it would be very difficult if not impossible to know the sequence of events.

Who is their source (if they had one)? How do they know their source is reliable? Why didn’t any of the Jews or Romans write about it? How did they know it was ripped from the top to the bottom, instead of the bottom to the top? We are left with many questions, and no answers except “take it on faith!”

But It Didn’t Happen

Pullquote: The temple veil didn’t rip. It’s a storytelling device — it adds drama and makes the story more interesting, with the added benefit of heavy Jewish symbolism.

The temple veil didn’t rip. It’s a storytelling device — it adds drama and makes the story more interesting, with the added benefit of heavy Jewish symbolism.

But surely this event would not have gone unnoticed until 70 AD! It would have been a scandalous event in the Jewish world. A 4 inch thick veil, covering the Holy of Holies, supernaturally rips in two around the same time as the death of Jesus — don’t you think that would have been worth mentioning?

The first mention of it is by an anonymous Christian biographer penning the life of Jesus — someone who has incentive to make an interesting story that centers on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There is no reason to believe this event happened. The only source is the Bible, written a decades after the event happened, by a writer who had reason to embellish the story. It is not mentioned by any Jewish or Roman sources. And the Bible contradicts itself as to when it happened.

Why should anyone believe it?

  • Francesc

    Because Bible says so, of course. In fact, it’s proven than the veil ripped before and after Jesus death. Are you thinking that Almighty God can’t do that?

    Or maybe the veil ripped, unripped and then ripped again (and unripped once more, so any jew who hadn’t faith couldn’t see it ripped). God works in mysterious ways!

    • Travis

      Maybe its like Schrödinger’s veil, and it was both ripped and unripped at the same, and the jews and romans that all conspired together to kill Jesus, changed the results by measuring them.

      I don’t know much about quantum physics, or really anything about quantum physics, but that doesn’t mean I can not or should not use it to explain why the bible is true (when convienent)

      • Devysciple

        Okay, I like quantum mechanics, quite a lot, actually. So you have totally convinced me that Teh Bibuh(tm) is actually The Word of God(tm)…

        I am immediately going to de-re-sub-para-meta-hyper-post-convert to… errr…. to….

        Darn, now I forgot what religion I wanted to follow! Guess I am forced to be a secular humanist for the rest of my miserable and meaningless life. :-p

      • Ty

        That was the most awesome explanation ever. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?

      • satanlovesvulva

        You also don’t know how to spell (convienent)? Forget about quantum physics and just learn the basics – spelling, reading, tying shoe laces…

  • Contented Man

    Nah… it ripped in three places at three seperate times to symbolize the Trinity. So why isn’t this recorded anywhere other than in the Bible? Why… it’s a conspiracy man! The Jews didn’t want anyone to know THE TRUTH! (sarcasm off)

  • http://www.renzwertig.com/ Christian

    That the event is not recorded in non-biblical source is a good line of argument. That the order doesn’t match in the gospels isn’t necessarily. As you said, at the time, it wasn’t really possible to record the exact time of the event. People relating events of that time can only relate it with the accuracy possible to them; interpreting it in a way that expects a greater degree of accuracy probably isn’t a valid way of interpretation.

    I’m not a historian, but it would be interesting to hear what a historian has to say about the sources in question.

    • cypressgreen

      I think your point about timing is a good one. The event being unrecorded is very important, though, especially in light of this verse:
      “The tombs were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died came back to life.They came out of the tombs after he had come back to life, and they went into the holy city where they appeared to many people.”(Matthew 27:52-53)

      Matthew is the only one who mentions it. Not one contemporary historian does. If a bunch of graves in the cemetery down the street from you opened up today and you looked out the window and saw dead people walking by *right now* do you think that wouldn’t be the biggest news story ever?

      • Disciple

        All agree that Matthew was written sometime in the first century AD; some as early as 50 AD. So, there were people still living at the time of this writing who would have been able to deny these events as eyewitnesses. If Jews who sought to eliminate the worship of Jesus knew that what was reported in the Gospel according to Matthew wasn’t true, don’t you think they would have protested and called these writings lies? I would suggest that they couldn’t deny the events because there were eyewitnesses still living at the time of the writing who saw it happen and that it was commonly known that it did happen. The same is true of the tearing of the veil. The fact that no one has written to the contrary is proof that the event actually did happen.

        • Jabster

          Oh really what utter, utter bollocks … jus read back what you posted and then see if you’d apply the same “logic” to other religions choosen book of myths. No you wouldn’t would you so stop lying to yourself about the “truth” of your text. The fact is there are no other contemporary sources so why do you think that is … it’s not a trick question it’s because it didn’t happen and the sooner you get that through your thick skull the better.

          I’ll pray for you …

        • vorjack

          All agree that Matthew was written sometime in the first century AD; some as early as 50 AD.

          Yes, the consensus dates it at 80-100 AD. I haven’t heard anyone seriously suggest that it was written before the destruction of the Temple.

          • Jabster

            “I haven’t heard anyone seriously suggest that it was written before the destruction of the Temple.”

            … well you have now!

    • Daniel Florien

      It’s only important if you think the bible is a reliable history book and that it was written by God.

      If you’re a normal person and not in love with the Bible though, you are right, it doesn’t matter at all. You would assume such things to be there.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        “Normal person”? There’s surely a better word/phrase, isn’t there?

        • Joe B

          Rational Person?

          • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

            I’ll accept that as an improvement. As long as we’re not equating intelligence and rationality. But I object to “normal” as offensive and stereotypical.

            • http://guiltyhere.wordpress.com Matthew

              Well it seems that is would require a person to turn off ones brain in some way to deny reality and accept supernatural facts despite a total lack of evidence for such. Tha could be why it’s called cognitive dissonance.

            • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

              Religious people don’t turn off our brains, Matthew. Nor are we unintelligent. In fact, cognitive dissonance is an example of a brain turning on, not off.

              Anyway, my implicit point is that calling religious people less than “normal” doesn’t do anything but further widen the gap between our two groups. Neither does calling us irrational or unintelligent. If you want to engage us in conversation, then you need treat us the same way that you would want to be treated. And for the record, I say the same thing, albeit a lot more forcefully, to religious people.

            • MahouSniper

              Well, you definitely turn off the part of your brain that controls reason and logic, since almost every aspect of religion completely defies both of those. No, you’re not unintelligent, you just act incredibly ignorant about one of the most important aspects of life. Until I can see a reasonable, rational reason to believe in religion, I will continue to claim you are irrational.

            • Daniel Florien

              Good point. A lot of people are superstitious woos, so maybe that could be considered normal.

              Rational is better.

            • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

              The sarcasm’s not lost on me. But, common doesn’t equal normal either.

            • Efogoto

              common doesn’t equal normal

              Say what?

              Normal
              -adjective
              1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

            • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

              Well, you definitely turn off the part of your brain that controls reason and logic, since almost every aspect of religion completely defies both of those. No, you’re not unintelligent, you just act incredibly ignorant about one of the most important aspects of life. Until I can see a reasonable, rational reason to believe in religion, I will continue to claim you are irrational.

              First, I’m anything but ignorant about what my beliefs are. I’ve got a BA and a Master’s in religious studies, and they’re from two institutions that are not slouches. On the flip side, I’ve read Sartre, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Dawkins, et al. In short, I don’t come to the conclusions I’ve come to because I’m ignorant about them or the alternatives.

              Second, I don’t turn off my brain and ignore reason and logic. I continue to questions the choices I’ve made about religion and weigh the arguments against the alternatives. To me, that’s an example of rational thinking, not a counter-example. If I’d turned my brain off when it comes to these issues, I wouldn’t be having these internal dialogues with myself or posting about them here (or elsewhere). In short, those conversations are an indicator that rational thought is taking place.

              Now, maybe you’ve met religious people who don’t think about their religion critically and simply accept it blindly. Maybe that person fits your description. Further more, of course you’re free to ignore all that I’ve said about myself and pigeon hole me as an irrational person. Ultimately, that’s your choice. But, I don’t see how that helps us get along any better as individuals or as a society. Neither side is ever going to ‘win’ this argument (and I personally don’t feel compelled to convince people to believe), but we do have to inhabit the same planet, countries, and cities. Calling me or us “irrational” over and over again just puts us on the defensive in the same way that people from my side throw around terms like heathen and sinner. I just don’t see a mutually beneficial outcome either way.

            • http://guiltyhere.wordpress.com Matthew

              Since you have done so much studying and evaluating the evidence….perhaps you could let us know what evidence we missed that supports the supernatural?

            • Siberia

              I’d love to know how you got to that conclusion, as I seem unable to. Care to share?

            • http://brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

              @ Matthew: My point is not to challenge you about the evidence. Nor is it to say that your conclusion is wrong. I’m not trying to pick that fight. Instead, my point is this and only this: when it comes to my own faith, I may be a lot of things (including wrong, maybe I am, maybe I’m not), but the one thing I am not is ignorant. In other words, I didn’t shut off my brain. I did just the opposite. I simply arrived at a different conclusion.

            • John C

              Reason and faith do not compete, are as two different species each serving their own purposes. The problem is that man(kind) has lost his sensitivity to the divine, the spiritual element deferring to and ever strengthening his physical/mental faculties over time and now has little or no recollection of the other, has essentially become spiritually blind by apathy and indifference in the same way a muscle group would after long periods of little or no exercise.

              The spiritual aspect of man withers, grows dark and dim in the absence of the…Light.

      • http://www.renzwertig.com/ Christian

        Well, just because some Christians/Atheists have a weird way of dealing with the bible, it doesn’t mean all Christians/Atheists have to deal with it this way :-)

        • rodneyAnonymous

          “Weird way of dealing”? Like, reading?

      • Julie Shaw

        It is a storytelling device. Discussions of the bible are futile unless you accept a premise that the bible’s content was drafted at the direction of an intelligence designer – one need not love the bible or the myriad permeations of its seemingly conflicting messages to accept, for the sake of intellectual inquiry, the premise. The premise need not be truth, it need only be identified as TRUE or NOT TRUE in order to run the algorithm we call skepticism. If the ripping of the temple veil holds symbology then the authors are unwilling to share this symbology with the gentile reader – for whom it would be hidden anyway. Other than some ‘grand statement of God-like displeasure’ why would the ripping of the veil from the Holy of Holies mean anything?

        One can’t ignore that the Jesus character and these hidden parables and cryptic symbolisms are unusually out of character for the figure of YHWH – that guy has no problem showing up, raining down fire, smoke, pillars of salt – he is an in your face I AM sort of being – and then we go silent and cryptic and we’re left with a biblical structure that by its very nature is entirely debatable and begs intellectual interrogation – the answers within are not forthcoming – the New Testament becomes the most deceptive and slippery of hostages to rational thought – with the little and convenient and irrelevent device of “FAITH” to excuse it from these interrogations – even its own codes say faith is not the power that sets you free, Jesus/God is – and yet Faith contiues to provide the get of of jail free card on the hard questions – the temple veil ripping is a temporal paradox and speaks to the apocalyptic unveiling of the “mystery” woman in the End of Days – found in the book of revelation – the “it is finished” comment by Jesus is, in this construct, really a “it is beginning” remark – both the end and the beginning are one and the same – which is why the character of God mentions the whole Alpha and Omega thing so many times – The Law of Moses is laid to rest in the final chapter of Deuteronomy – next to the Ark of the Covenant kept in the Holy of Holies – it is a dead relic, so often mentioned by Jesus – that he came to “fulfill the law” – in this storyline – upon examination of the Torah and the Book of Revelation – its clear that this relic, specifically, the Testimony of the Word – a companion instrument of some kind (Rev 12) to the “jesus” figure (a marriage companion by the looks of it) to the defeat of all evil — is unleashed – Its not Jesus who retains the power at this point – its this relic – there’s a transfer of power within this “spirit” element – and Jesus of Nazareth becomes immaterial to the story – he is disposed of quickly and with no time to verify his story and with a smattering of questionable witnesses.

        Its either an ingenious and mysterious plot by the God formerly known as the kick ass God of Abraham to effect a change in the cosmic good v. evil battle or its a pathetic and limited depiction which can’t hold the test of even rudimentary inquiry by lesser minds – the remaining story line by Jesus opens this character up to absolute deconstruction, he’s conveniently unavailable for questioning and there are a few and limited “magic tricks” like the ascension – all enabled by the even more convenient device of faith, something never once in the history of YHWH that was required – because it does not take faith to believe in God when he’s standing right there and leveling entire cities and putting food on the ground and creating water from rocks.

        The veil is a coded device – it signifies the transfer of the power of God from the personhood of Jesus (the blood of the Lamb Rev 12) into the Word and Testimony (rev 12), the law of Moses. This law does not require faith – its is the law of YHWH who does not care if you believe in him or not – it separates the wheat from chaff – one trajectory of false faith in a slippery master and the other a mysterious and secret power than no man can wield – Its a very interesting story – from an imagery perspective – it might suggest the power of the spirit of Jesus – who as a jew, would with his last breath pray Shema Yisrael Adonai elohoynu Adonai echad – which means the lord our god is ONE, (male and female – reunited) and this breath of God would rush to the temple – to where the Ark (the “wife” and the “Word” ) lay veiled, rip the veil as it transfers all of God’s power into this instrument – which Clearly is dormant – since “God” or “Jesus” was never really heard from again…..until whatever time she sees fit to reappear and deal with what just happened – the death of her husband by the Roman conspirators and Pharisee leadership. Its a much cooler myth once you deconstruct it with the appropriate tools -

        [EDIT: Srvr Mnky assist; please try to use paragraphs in the future!]

        • kholdom0790

          All this thinking and reading, and you’ve never encountered paragraphs, by the looks of things. Maybe pick up a Strunk and White sometime.

          • UrsaMinor

            pe;dr

            (poorly edited; didn’t read)

            • kholdom0790

              Mmm…yeah, I still don’t get it. Heh.

      • cynthia

        Someone who goes so far as to call someone who ‘believes the Bible and Jesus’ ‘ not normal’ is incredulous. It shows your insecurity about your opinion. Nothing you said swayed my study of Scripture in the least. And I have studied extensively. You have a lot to loose if you are in the wrong, which the great weight of evidence confirms.

        • Jabster

          Excellent … drive by godbot with Pascal’s wager.

          p.s. This evidence, care to present it?

          • UrsaMinor

            I’m inclined to be a little more charitable, because this means that all I need now to complete my Bingo card is Argumentum ad populum.

            Woo-hoo! The 4-slice toaster is within my grasp!

            • Jabster

              Another one of my fascinations … lots of people believe in Christianity is put forward as good argument for it being true but the fact the more people don’t believe in Christianity somehow doesn’t matter.

              If you can come up with a good answer I’ll get you a three slice toaster for when four slices is too many but two is just not enough …

            • UrsaMinor

              But it’s true! Christianity is the One True Religion because more people believe in it than any other religion.

              But get ready for a sea change. After the year 2030, Christianity will no longer be true and Islam will be the One True Religion, because if current demographic trends continue, there will be more Muslims than Christians in less than twenty years.

            • John C

              Actually, Ursa…CHRISTianity is only true because Christ is the only true Man, meaning the only One made in Papa’s ‘very image and likeness…who bears the exact stamp of His being’ (Gen 1:26&28 & Heb 1:3). He is the ‘Man-kind’ Papa origin-ALL’y en-vision’ed for all of us in the beginning, before the ‘going out of Him and into us’, with tragic results. NOW we are in-vited back UP and IN-two His Oneness, to reside with Him in His perfectSon/perfection (not perfect-shun) again since we have fallen away from It in our collective consciousness, hence ‘we MUST be born again’ (from above, where we origin-ate’d from).

              When the prodigal son fin-ALLy ‘came to himself’ (to his senses) while eating the husks (leftovers) with the s’whyne, suddenly he remembered (Ps 22:27) his true ID-entity dawned on hymn and in that lowly moment he arose an exclaimed ‘I will ARISE and go back home to my Father’ (Luke 15:18)

              Truly, ‘all the ends of the earth will remember (awake) and return to Papa’ (Ps 22:27).

            • Kodie

              perfectSon/perfection (not perfect-shun)

              You wouldn’t want anyone to be CON-fused!

              …..Jesus FUCKING Christ, John. You’ve hit the limit. You can’t get weirder.

            • UrsaMinor

              Never say never, Kodie.

            • trj

              This is your brain on God.

  • Jeremy

    None of the accounts from Matthew, Mark, or Luke disagree with each other. It’s a bizarre reach to say they disagree, all of them put the ripping of the veil at the same time as Jesus’ death.

    A far better argument against the bible is the fact that Matthew’s zombie story isn’t mentioned anywhere else, or by any historian. Neither Mark nor Luke felt the need to say “Oh by the way, we had a major zombie problem right after this whole ordeal.”

    • cypressgreen

      Oh yeah, and there’s “the earth did quake, and the rocks were split,” and the three hours of darkness as well.

  • Dr. Karl E. Taylor

    The veil being torn would have been both a religious and political statement in 1st century, Roman occupied Jerusalem. Since the priest class held most of the power left to them by the Romans, keeping god secret kept the magic alive. The secret being reveled, namely that there was nothing behind the curtain, would have seriously undermined the Jewish priest class. Causing them to lose both face and power within that society. It is also strange that even the mighty Josephus, quoted by so many as proof that the god-man existed, does not mention this event.

    Nor does anyone else during the biggest holiday of the year at that time, Passover, notice the other amazing event from Matthew 27. Namely, the dead people rising from the graves and wondering into town to have nice little chat with everyone. Josephus apparently thought walking zombies were no big deal.

    Probably happened every day back then, right?

    • http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/mysteriousev Steven Jones

      Check out this website. It was pretty enlightening on the subject. Cynicism is not very becoming of a doctor.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Daniel,

    Your best point is obviously that there are no other contemporary records of this event (or many of the others in the Gospel). That’s obviously something to think about. Furthermore, you didn’t even mention the differences between the Synoptics and the Gospel of John. IMO, that’s a much more interesting article right there — not to take anything away from this one (or add fuel to your fire:P )

    The weakness of the article is this, I think:

    Here’s question to consider: Assuming the veil did rip, how would the writers know when it ripped? They didn’t have watches. There wasn’t a video. Jesus didn’t die near the veil, so it would be very difficult if not impossible to know the sequence of events.

    I think the counter-argument that would hold some water is this: all three of these works of literature do reference the event, and that to me is more interesting than the discrepancies. Furthermore, you ask what their source might have been. This may or may not interest you, but there is a whole bunch of scholarship about this, from believers and skeptics alike. If you’ve not seen anything about this before, you could get started here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_document

    (obviously, it’s wiki so take it at face value, but it looks like there’s some good content there)

    • VorJack

      “think the counter-argument that would hold some water is this: all three of these works of literature do reference the event, and that to me is more interesting than the discrepancies.”

      That would be telling, except that these are the synoptic gospels. It is acknowledged that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a major source. So at the moment there’s no reason to look for another source.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        So at the moment there’s no reason to look for another source.

        Another source for what?

        • VorJack

          Another source than Mark. There’s no reason to bring Q into it. As far as we know, Mark never used Q.

          • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

            Are we talking about just this story?

            Or, are we talking about the synoptics in general?

            If it’s the former: I’ve never studied this text specifically as relates to source theory.

            If it’s the latter: “Q” and source theory in general are very important for skeptics and believers alike.

  • http://atimetorend.wordpress.com atimetorend

    I agree with what a couple of others wrote above: the arguments about the timing aren’t that strong. It does discredit the most extreme inerrantist’s perspective. But I think it is a more telling example of how the gospels were written and how they are an example of story telling. The “But it Didn’t Happen” section I agree carries more weight.

    • Daniel Florien

      Yes it is geared towards inerrantists. Are there any non-inerrantists who believe this? :)

      • Devysciple

        I do actually know a few people who don’t take the bible as an inerrant report, yet still believe in the events at Jesus’s curcifiction. They take it as a symbol of the importance of Jesus’s sacrifice.

        While I started to respond to your question, an idea hit me like a bus:

        I assume that many, maybe most of you, enjoy the occasional good times in a cinema/movie theater. Its a nice pastime, until you discover continuity errors. After that, you are never again able to just sit back and enjoy a movie. Your brain is now working extra hours to find all the errors, or at least more than the guy or gal next to you. You cannot stop, even if you want to.

        The same applies to the bible. You ususally don’t directly compare certain parallel passages, you glimpse over the occasional incredible story, but as a whole, you accept it as a relatively accurate account of historical events. Until you find the first continuity errors. The same process kicks in, you just can’t go back, you have to find all of the mistakes. At least if you are bound to be a skeptical person, that is.

        Does that make any sense?

        • Baconsbud

          This makes sense to me. I know what you mean when it comes to finding mistakes in movies and can easily see it being used in other parts of your life. I don’t look for mistakes the first time I watch a movie but if I see it again I am one of those watching more to find the mistakes then to enjoy the movie again. I also do it with books that are a part of a series of books. You can always find small changes done to the history in a series, so the can continue the story in a new direction. I figure many people who have become disbelievers have done this and will continue to do it.

    • Question-I-thority

      Reread the scriptures. Matthew and Luke are in clear disagreement as to the timing of the ripping. Since at least one of these is in error, all actual inerrantist theologies are, as a result, untrue. Where inerrancy is concerned, it only takes one falsification to knock the house of cards down.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

        Check out Keith’s comment at the bottom of the page.

      • Question-I-thority

        After reading Keith’s posts below and doing some further research, I stand corrected.

      • VSD

        Just because there is an apparent discrepancy does not mean that the thing is not true. It is all in how you look at it. For example, there are several accounts of the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. Each differs in some way. I submit to you that they are all part of the whole. Like a jigsaw puzzle. They fit together to form the whole picture. Also, the fact that this event is only mentioned in the Gospels does not negate its veracity. There are many reasons – both political and spiritual – that it would not be brought to anyone’s attention. That also goes for the resurrected people mentioned in the Bible. It could be, too, that these people only appeared to believers. Hence, no one else would know about it. Then, there is also the little matter of the Savior of the world being dead and overshadowing everything else and His subsequent resurrection would dwarf everything else entirely. I am not trying to convince you of anything. I just believe that it is extremely foolish to dismiss something without exploring every possible avenue.

        • Custador

          And I retort: Human testimony is only considered reliable if several witnesses agree independently on exactly what happened. This is not a “jigsaw puzzle” – It’s several competing versions of a rumour. If not complete fiction, then close enough to make no difference.

        • Custador

          Also: Occam’s Razor. Look it up.

  • Baconsbud

    I see this as just another example of believers not seeing the details of the stories they believe in. I have seen several stories blogs where they point out different versions of the same stories in the gospels. Of course when you bring it up to some christians they jump to apologist to explain it away while others just ignore the differences and go on. I doubt asking these questions really help much in changing the minds of most believers.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      I doubt asking these questions really help much in changing the minds of most believers.

      Do you think that’s the only point of an article like this?

    • cypressgreen

      I used to be a believer. It took a very long time to move away from that. I never heard of anyone who one day just exclaimed, “Wow! It IS all a bunch of crock!” People change their minds little by little over time, so yes, I do think questions like this matter.

      For most of us, admitting we are wrong about anything big is very hard. As a non-religious example, I remember how hard it was when I broke up my first engagement. My family and friends could all see he was a jerk. Once I got to the point where I couldn’t deny it any longer, I had to admit to everyone else that they were right and that I’d broken it off. At that time in my life it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        My question, which I didn’t make clear, is: is convincing believers that they are wrong the only point? I wasn’t trying to imply this post isn’t important or anything like that — just wondering if persuasion is the only thing worth doing.

        • Baconsbud

          Cypressgreen when you were a christian, how did you react to questions like these pointing out that different books in the bible had different versions of the story? Yes the questions about these and other stories are ones that can be asked but you have to be careful when you ask them. I should have said more about when they should be used and pointed out. I see your story of your first engagement as the same type you run into when people finally open their eyes as to what they are reading in the bible.

          I think one of my problems is I have never really been a believer so I make assumption about people I shouldn’t. I tend to see most believers as extremely close minded when it comes to their belief. When I have pointed out how different books have different versions I run into a wall created only because I asked the question.

          I agree brgulker that these types of post aren’t here just to convince believers but to aid others in presenting evidence for why we don’t believe. I use these and several other blogs I read to help in finding better ways of pointing out problems I have with christian beliefs. Unlike Daniel and others I am not well educated in what the bible says. I had never even heard of these different versions of the story before today but see it as having the same effect as the one about the story of the tomb. When I have brought that up, most christians I know use the reply that just because it didn’t say they were there doesn’t mean they weren’t there. If someone is already having big doubts about their beliefs then posing these questions can aid in a discussion but only then.

          • cypressgreen

            Well, I was raised Catholic. I didn’t know for years that the church presents weekly mass scripture readings on a several years long ‘cycle’, did you know that? No one encourages
            you to read the bible, so you don’t see the discrepancies. You just believe what your church and parents tell you. And my parents were highly educated, open minded scientists!!! (I can’t speak for Mom, but I found out later Dad didn’t believe a lot of it, but he was comfortable there as a place to pray.)

            In high school I worked for a preschool run by some born agains renting the old church ‘nunnery’ ( ! ). A couple of them were VERY nasty about their opinions of catholics and forced me to defend my church. But they did get me to think and ask our priest, “Why don’t we ever read anything different from the bible?” I didn’t get an answer.

            For years already little cracks had developed in my faith. I would attempt to patch them up. It started when I found out I couldn’t be an altar girl. Then I heard I could never be a priest, a bishop, the pope. I was a pious little girl, you see. The pope (John ?) said women can’t be priests because Jesus only called men to be his followers. I explained this away by figuring that since the bible was written by men in a chauvinistic society, they would ignore all those women who followed him everywhere. And god made Jesus male because those clods would’ve stoned him before believing he was god. I couldn’t see why the church couldn’t see that themselves.

            And hey, maybe Adam and Eve were just the first people born “fully human’ as evolution went on. And maybe a day for god wasn’t a day to us. And anyway, god could do *anything*, right?
            Finally, it was too many cracks. I realized that I disagreed with the church more than I agreed anymore and I couldn’t go w/o being a hypocrite.
            From there, more study and discussion crumbled that dam, let me tell you.

            Every conversation you have with a believer is just a hammer slam to the dam, my friend. Some dams are stronger than others. But you will always make a crack.

        • Ty

          “is convincing believers that they are wrong the only point?”

          As someone who was eventually ‘convinced’ that his beliefs were incorrect (if by convinced you mean read counter arguments and took the time to do a lot of research), and who is deeply grateful to no longer be religious, I would say that pointing out reasons to begin the search that might lead to de-conversion is a noble cause.

          Though, as you seem to be hinting, not the only cause for such a post.

        • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

          To answer your question brgulker, no I don’t think that these articles are truly just here to persuade, because, lets face it, the people on both sides are so entrenched that no one article is going to get them to change their mind. I personally think that these articles are here to promote intelligent discussion on the fallibility of modern Christianity.

          I think that these discussions are most productive when they stay along the lines of specific topics, even if those topics diverge from the original subject of the article (like this one here). Using general arguments like “Christians are not Rational” or “Atheist just don’t want to believe in God” just ends up in circular argument and ends no where.

  • http://thebeattitude.com theBEattitude

    This event obviously wouldn’t have gone unoticed for 40+ years. The curtain that guards the most sacred Jewish altar tears in two and zombies pop out of graves and wander around the city. I think that would make a pretty huge historical impact.

    But no. Three dudes 40+ years later decide to recount this historic event that apparently everyone missed. And these men (that likely didn’t even know Jesus personally) recount with perfect accuracy events they did not even witness. Pure insanity.

    • Aor

      Especially considering how many of the nearby cultures were (at least partially) sun worshippers. You’d think the sun stopping in the sky would have been noted by the long serving priests of the nearby sun gods, and the hordes of zombies in the streets of Jerusalem would have been mentioned by Romans. There was a lot of sun worshipping going on amongst the Roman populace, but somehow people that pray to the sun didn’t notice an eclipse.

      Those who claim to believe these stories merely exhibit their ignorance of the presence of written records in other areas. Somehow they try to use the work of Chinese astronomers (astrologers?) to determine the time of star of Bethlehem but conveniently ignore those same sources when it comes to other supposed celestial events like an eclipse.

  • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

    “who had reason to embellish the story” You’d be surprised at how many stories were politically motivated – to serve the purposes of the author at the time. It’s really quite surprising to peel back the motives of the entirely fallible human authors. I always get a chuckle when someone tells me the bible was “divinely inspired” lol.

    • Baconsbud

      I like that question of who had reason to embellish the story. I think if you look at people today and truly look you can find an answer to that question easily. My mother is one of those people that a story is never good enough until it has been heavily modified to fit what she wants the truth to be. She does it because she likes to be more involved in what she is talking about. Most stories are going to be embellished to fit what the teller wants it to be. Some embellish for money others for power. What gets me though is people seem to think it is something new that people do. If it was possible to travel back in time I figure you would find much of the written history doesn’t fit with what really happened. Also look at made for tv movies. They are never fully based on the truth.

      • Question-I-thority

        Any one who has a stake in the story has reason to embellish it, not that they necessarily would. I grew up in a part of fundamentalism that believed that miracles should happen today as much as in the Bible. Part of our liturgy on Sunday nights and Wednesday Bible study was called Testimony Time in which various members would stand up and tell a story about what miracle God had recently worked in their lives. I got to the place where I thought of this as testiphony. Stories were always accepted uncritically and were often embellished. Most of the time I don’t think they even realized they were stretching the truth.

    • VSD

      What happens if you are wrong?

      • Custador

        Now look up Pascal’s Wager, with particular emphasis on why Pascal was mocking the stupidity of religious faith when he came up with it.

      • Kodie

        Nothing.

  • John C

    What (or Who) got into ya D? Finally a post of substance, of great significance to us all! lol. The timing you question is obviously…on the cross, at the time of His death being duely noted by them all (when the lamb destined to be slain before the world began, 1 Peter 1:19-20) died the veil (separation) between God and man was…no more! This is a beautiful mystery, let me try and shed a little light on it for “them that have ears to hear”. This would be a good time to leave all the religious crap and thinking behind, for God is not “religious” He is spirit (John 4:4). It will help as we go along to remember…this “kingdom of God” is to be found…within us, Luke 17:21.

    The temple court is a picture of man’s constitution as a tri-partate being. The outer court represents the physical aspect (our bodies), the holy place (our souls) and finally the holy of holies (our spirit) where Christ is united with, indwelling the restored man, as it was in the original, paradaisical condition before sin (death/separation) entered in and disrupted man’s beautiful and unhindered fellowship/communion with Father. Notice which aspect of our being Father would dwell within? Yes, the deepest, the very center of us, our inner “garden”. It’s spring time guys, let’s do a little gardening together shall we? lol.

    What was it that separated man from God? Literal fruit from a rotten tree that Father warned them not to eat? No, it was “eating”, entertaining, believing a lie (in the place of truth, for man knew nothing else in his original innocence) a twisted, carnal, perverted thought (lie) in his quest to be “like God” discerning good from evil (the irony being that he was already “like God” being fashioned in His very image and likeness). This is a picture of the law (the tree of the knowledge of good & evil) as opposed to grace and truth in Christ, (the tree of life, innocence). We choose which tree, root system within that will nourish us, that we “eat from” (live out of) be it either death (the law, good and evil, right and wrong, MORALITY) or of life (tree of life, truth, Christ within, INNOCENCE) and that choice determines the state, the condition of our inner man, our “garden” and our destiny as eternal beings for…God has set eternity in our hearts (spirits) Ecclesiastes 3:11.

    And so it is today, we merely entertain, believe a lie saying since I can’t see Him, feel Him and none of that ancient, foolish, supposedly holy text makes any sense to our own, natural minds and faculties of reason, therefore we (wrongly) conclude that this “God” and His silly, childish story is just that and nothing more. So we departed from that place of intimate union/fellowship with Love (Himself) having left that cradle, garden within of innocence and truth having believed a lie outside of the garden (within ourselves) now we are looking in from the outside in being separated, paradise lost, all hope is gone…or so we thought.

    So Christ’s “precious blood” as Peter so beautifully calls it, Him being made sin (death/sepration) for us (in our place, substitutionally) even though He who knew no sin, was innocent (2 Cor 5:21) and us now being made the “righteousness of God” (the great exchange) now accesses again as it was in the original paradise (garden within) that broken fellowship with Father (Christ being the way, the truth and the life back to the Father) restoring our hope, “that hope we have as an anchor of the soul…it passes (pierces) in BEHIND THE VEIL of our flesh (Heb 6:19). Our bodies are the veils (remember we are the temple court) which was torn, rent, done away with so now our humanity (that old, inherited, adamic body of death, Romans 7:24) no longer separates us from God, who would dwell within…again!

    So now we read that Father has “grafted us back in” transplanted us once again into the true (original) vine, which is Christ the tree of life…within! (Romans 11:23, John 15:1-8). Do you see this? It matters not if you don;t, only that you WANT to, for even that desire is a grace from Father and if you want to see, then you (eventually) will.

    I get fussed at by “mature”, older brother type (prodigal son story) Christians for sharing things like this with you them saying…what’s the point, that you guys, so called, self labeled “athiests”? dont understand these “deep” things of God, that you can’t see it for yourselves, but I say nonsense, that deep within your consciousness is a latent memory, a residual, faint remembrance of…paradise, where all was as it should be, pristine, beautiful, lovely how things once were before we died to innocence and Oneness.

    Elsewise (is that a word, ha) where do all the fairy tales come from? A “once upon a time and a “happily ever after”. There’s a lot of hidden truth in them, they are trying to tell us something, but we must become, like Jesus said as “little children again, meaning we must be foolish enough, trusting enough, innocent enough to believe if we want to re-access this beautiful “garden”, this “kingdom within” experience once again that has been re-opened to us by Christ’s sacrifice, by the ripping of the veil. This is a beautiful mystery…a true fairy tale, if only we would…believe.

    Paradise lost, paradise found.

    Love you guys.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      So when was the veil ripped?

      • Daniel Florien

        As you might gather, JC’s strength is not giving a simple, direct answer. He prefers the mystical plane of obfuscation.

        Good luck trying to get one, though! :)

        • John C

          You had to have expected a John C comment D when you chose such a beautiful mystery, no?

          Ps…no job anymore (that’s why I’m baaaaack a bit prematurely, ha, sorry) the truth is I just missed you guys too much! Couldn’t stand the…separation/veil like Father can’t stand being separated from you His children either…so go ahead…He is there, go in, behind the veil in your inner closets, your “secret place” as Jesus called it, He is waiting.

          I didn’t like the job, they misrepresented a good bit but that’s ok, I forgive them, besides Pappa has something better in store…for all of us!

          • DarkMatter

            Someone pay you good money to do another raid here for you to quit your job?

            • John C

              I wish someone would pay me to make a “raid” here, ha. Maybe Daniel would pay me to…leave? lol (j/k)

      • John C

        When you died, your old man. That happened when you died to the law, whereby is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20). Or did you not know that you (your old man, adam) was also on the cross in Christ, and died with, in Him? Romans 6:6?

        When that revelation enlightens your inner man, you too are “quickened”, made alive and there is no longer any…separation/veil. We need to not view this from an external perspective, not something outside of ourselves because it happened “in the kingdom of God” which Jesus told us ahead of time (before the cross) that we would find that kingdom…within ourselves.

        • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

          Does the symbolic interpretation that you’re giving depend on the literal event having happened? In other words, what do you think of the fictitious history conversation?

          • John C

            Yes, the “Gospel, good news” story in the NT is literal, not parabolic but has inward significance, since the only true (lasting, eternal) realm is in the unseen. Now some of the OT very well may have been parabolic since we, having lost our sensitivity to our native (heavenly) understanding now required illustrated interps, ie Jesus speaking in parables, etc.

          • John C

            My bad BR…I could have answered that in a better way. Jesus is the intersection of heaven (the undefiled spiritual realm where all things are as they should be and were prior to sin/death’s spoiling it) and earth (the natural, defiled, lower physical realm, our bodies). So when He prayed…as it is in heaven may it be on earth He restores that pristine, no sin condition just as it was previously. So now there is no more separation in the flesh (earth) realm…paradise restored.

            Not sure that helps…but I tried for ya.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      JC, are you aware that your comments have the (unintended) probable effect of reinforcing an atheist’s opinion that Christianity is nonsense?

      • John C

        Oh yes…yes…but in the paradoxical paternity/nature of God…

    • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

      The funny thing about your direction here, is that if you remove all of the references to Christianity, you are actually close to describing some Buddhist writings from China that predate most of the writings that we debate on this site.

      • John C

        Yes, there are numerous imposters for sure…but One true spirit, that being Christ.

        • LRA

          evidence that is verifiable, please?

        • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

          How can the writings that came before Christ be impostors of him? Couldn’t they just be writings that describe a parallel spiritual truth?

          • John C

            There is nothing “before” Christ, He not ever being created. We tend to think in terms of the physical Jesus, that being our reference point but He is eternal, we read in John 1…In the beginning (of time) was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God…the Word became flesh (human) and we beheld its glory…

            • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

              So your saying that people that had never heard of the God of Abraham, somehow copied some of what were his intentions maliciously.

              Brilliant.

            • John C

              No…you added that. I was merely making the point (not knowing if you already had the understanding, so many dont) that “Jesus” didnt first arrive in human form, wasn’t “born” in that way, that’s all.

            • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

              Ahhh, but you called the Buddhists “Impostors” and when I asked how they could be impostors when their writings pre-dated the writings of the new testament (by 500 years by the way) but still sounded very similar to what you were saying in some ways.

              You responded by saying that Jesus/God has always been here.

              So I inferred from that statement that you had meant these “Impostors” (which means people who are intending to copy or take the identity of someone in order to fool someone else, typically with malicious intentions) had somehow written these text in order to mislead people even though they had never heard of the God of Israel.

              If I was wrong, I apologize.

  • Mark D

    The story of god hiding behind a veil reminds me of the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain. I sure this is what L. Frank Baum intented. I like the Righteous Zombie story better.

    • John C

      Mark…

      I just read yesterday that one of the last remaining cast members of the Wizard of Oz died…in the same way just like you and I (our old man of sin/separation, adam) died with Him (in Him) on the cross Romans 6:6…what a liberty, what a coincidence that you should mention it!!

      peace

      • trj

        What, he was crucifed? Seems a bit excessive. The movie wasn’t that bad.

      • Mark D

        JC, you missed the point. The charactor of the the Wizard of Oz was metaphor for god and the church, a man made creation used to scare and control the masses. “The Wizard of Oz” like “The Lord of the Rings” are more then just stories, but allegories for social and political events or their times. Being raised a fundie, I understand sometimes fundies can’t understand allegory and satire. When you are raised to take the bible literally, you take everything literally.

        • John C

          Mark…I’m anything but a “fundie”, far from it. If you had read my above description/allegory telling of the veil being rent you would have quickly seen that I am no “fundie”, not by a far stretch in the way you intended it.

          The bible is literal, in that is truth, but since truth is anchored in the unseen, eternal realm of the spirit, the limited, physical eyes (which judge by appearance) can not “see” into that spirit realm lest the eyes of our hearts (spirit man) be enlightened.

          Or did you not know this life is an illusion? The Adamic dream (nightmare) that man(kind) has not yet awakened from? Take the red pill, (truth) if you want to see thru the lie of the Matrix (this life).

          • Nzo

            The bible is literal

            How to be a Fundie 101

            but since truth is anchored in the unseen, eternal realm of the spirit, the limited, physical eyes (which judge by appearance) can not “see” into that spirit realm lest the eyes of our hearts (spirit man) be enlightened.

            Mrs. Cleo would offer you a job. Has she given up yet? You two should get together and work on this supernatural kick. You might could make some money before you’re arrested for fraud! Oh… wait, I guess I don’t know much about you. If you’re a preacher you probably won’t get arrested.

            Or did you not know this life is an illusion?

            Prove it. I say jump of a skyscraper, hit the ground, jump up, and say ‘Ta Da!’.

            The Adamic dream (nightmare) that man(kind) has not yet awakened from? Take the red pill, (truth) if you want to see thru the lie of the Matrix (this life).

            With everything else you’re trying to slip by, the sarcasm-meter doesn’t really show anything… oh wait, it’s because there’s a higher probability of the matrix being real than anything supernatural.

        • murrowcrokite

          It seems someone has been reading way to much religious commentary. The wizard of Oz is more a symbol of all authority that uses a false front to magnify their power. There is no religious corrolation at all to my knowledge.

  • http://www.meatofthematter.wordpress.com Jim Etchison

    But it’s a beautiful METAPHOR — WHY oh why must you attack it so viciously?!?

    • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

      I agree that it is a good metaphor, but I think that the point he is trying to make is that there are A LOT of people out there that say everything in the bible is a literal accounting of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.

      I think that if those people would just let everyone interpret the meaning (or lack there of) for themselves you wouldn’t have as many people like Daniel writing these articles.

  • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

    The Greek word that the NRSV and NET translate as “then” in Luke 23:46 is kai, which either equates (copulative) or adds (cumulative), which is why it is almost exclusively translated as “and” in the KJV and about 95% in the NET. The fact that it can be understood as “then” doesn’t mean that one event actually happened before the other. Basically, the KJV, NKJV, NASB, and NIV were more accurate in translating it as “and.” Therefore the time isn’t even really specified; the temple veil ripped around the same time as Christ’s final cry.

    Consider doing at least 10 minutes worth of research in the future.

    • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

      By the way, even when it is translated as “then” (feel free to search for all the instances of “kai” in the NT) you will notice that “And” can always be substituted, because causality is never in view. So my second sentence should really say, “The fact that it can be understood as “then” in the connective sense…” The NET Bible even points out that “kai” is a connector denoting a cumulative or copulative, not causal, effect.

      • Question-I-thority

        Yes, thanks Keith.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

      I don’t think Daniel reads Greek, Keith. I do, and I didn’t even think to look this up, but I’m glad you did. You’re right about kai‘s translation, and it’s good to point this out. Kai<i? doesn’t have a temporal reference.

      • Daniel Florien

        I do know basic Greek — pastor’s Greek — but don’t usually use it in articles because (1) it’s really boring and sounds horribly elite and (2) I don’t want to look like a fool if I use it wrong, unlike most pastors giving an exegetical sermon.

        However, there are all kinds of issues with interpreting even in the Greek text, as Keith should know. There isn’t just 1 “duh” interpretation when you look at the Greek. Just look at any critical commentary.

      • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

        I don’t “read” Greek, either, but I do know how to use a Greek lexicon and net.bible.org is more than useful in instances like this. And, actually, you stated it more appropriately than I did. I kept saying “causal” when I meant to say “temporal.” :)

        • John C

          Its not so much about the external print (bible), but rather the internal blueprint, His nature within. Gal 4:19

          • LRA

            JC– are you sure you’re a Christian and not a Platonist? Plato was *very* interested in the “truth written on the soul”…

            • John C

              Hey LRA, thx. My journey has certainly moved from an external “sky-God” concept (which Christ didnt teach at all) to an internal fellowship in union with Christ within, the real Life being exactly where He said we could find it this “kingdom of God” Christ told us that couldnt be “seen by observation, but is within us”. Luke 17:21

              As we “mature” meaning less of us, more of Him we move from an externally focused existence to an internally focused life being less and less interested in external, worldly pursuits finding what (or rather Who) we are all searching for within ourselves. It took me nearly a quarter century of seeking, searching to arrive at this wonderful place.

              The pinnacle revelation and spiritual heights being One with Christ in the spirit (1 Cor 6:17) and of course as you have heard me say many (too many, ha) times..Christ in us is the mystery of the ages. (Col 1:27).

              I prefer a later lesser known Philospher named Plotinus when I read that ilk. I mostly stick with the ancient Christian Mystics, though I have a wide array. Currently am reading the much persecuted old french Mystic, Madame Guyon’s banned and burned classic “A method of prayer” later renamed “Experiencing the depths of Christ”. Basically, anything that the “religious” establishment despised is usually a good indication that it holds some worthy insights, lol.

              Sorry so long a response…blessings

            • Nzo

              seen by observation, but is within us

              Sounds like an imaginary friend to me. Personal demon, perhaps?

              meaning less of us, more of Him

              Multiple personalities, or losing oneself to a madness?

              we move from an externally focused existence to an internally focused life being less and less interested in external, worldly pursuits finding what (or rather Who) we are all searching for within ourselves.

              Not internally focused enough to be starving or dying of thirst. Certainly not enough to give up the internet connection, or postings on this website.

              It took me nearly a quarter century of seeking, searching to arrive at this wonderful place.

              Where?

              The pinnacle revelation and spiritual heights being One with Christ in the spirit (1 Cor 6:17) and of course as you have heard me say many (too many, ha) times..Christ in us is the mystery of the ages. (Col 1:27).

              Cute story, but really focuses on the boring parts. Where’s the rape, murder, bloody sacrifices, and genocide?

              Sorry so long a response…blessings

              Can we do without these? I’ve yet to hear someone bless me or want to pray for me and not immediately felt the need to vomit. The arrogance of christians to believe that they could change their almighty imaginary god’s mind with such things.

    • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

      Keith, you seem extremely knowledgeable about the bible. I’m curious what you think of hell and devils. Do you believe hell is:
      Gehenna, a place of unquenchable fire (cf. Assumption of Moses, 2 Esdras).[8] The term is derived from ge-hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem originally used as a location for human sacrifices to the idol Moloch, and where refuse and the bodies of executed criminals were later burnt.

      The threat of eternal punishment seems to me a control device to manipulate people via fear. As far as devils go in the NT:

      And he (Jesus) asked him (the man), “What is thy name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion: for we are many.”

      Do you believe this was symbolic or were there actually physical devils that were cast out of a man and into a herd of pigs? Do devils exist on this earth? Thanks for sharing.

      • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

        Hi, VidLord. Thanks for your kind comments. I think we’d both agree that Hell isn’t actually Gehenna; Gehenna is a metaphor for Hell.

        As for whether Hell is a “control device”: I find that Hell makes tremendous sense. Hell shows that God is 1) just and 2) good. Hell is just because men have rebelled against eternal God who is unable to dwell with evildoers. In Hell, men get what they deserve. That’s why salvation is through grace alone—in Jesus Christ I received something that I did not deserve. Some get grace from God, others get justice. But no one gets injustice from God.

        Hell is good because those who have not been born again are naturally antagonistic toward God—they hate Him. They want separation from God. God is good because He satisfies the desires of all living things (Ps. 145). When He sends men to Hell He is actually giving them what they want, which is separation from God.

        I often hear atheists say that they’d rather be in Hell than in Heaven with a God they despise so much, as well as His stupid, annoying followers. I actually enjoy hearing this, in a way. Not because I enjoy seeing someone oppose the one who gives them life and breath. I enjoy it because I know that these atheists will have their desires satisfied. On judgment day, God will give them what they want, which is separation from Him. What unbeliever can complain, then?

        • Andrew N.P.

          What unbeliever can complain, then?

          I’d imagine that all the unbelievers who are BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY would still be in a position to complain. Especially since “separation from God” does not logically imply BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY. In fact, BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY seems to be an additional punishment (if such unnecessary and purposeless torture can be called “punitive”) imposed by Jesus to satisfy his anger toward those who fail to kiss his butt.

          Or are you one of those Christians who doesn’t believe that Hell means BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY?

          • John C

            If you think “kissing butt” is what its all about…you couldn’t be more wrong, respectfully. A far as the separation being eternal or for an aion/eon, dispensation of time….I gotta ask, does it really matter? Would it be possible to be “comforted” while in Hell by anything?

            Metanoi…this is what Christ said for us to do if we want to “see” this invisible kingdom (within). It means to literally…have a new mind, His that same mind we had before the fall, before the separation.

            Metanoi…see things with His eyes, the eyes of the spirit realm, then you will see in His light.

            • Andrew N.P.

              LOL WUT

            • Nzo

              Would it be possible to be “comforted” while in Hell by anything?

              You greatly overrate your imaginary god’s company. The guy who only killed 10 people is infinitely preferable.

              It means to literally…have a new mind, His that same mind we had before the fall, before the separation.

              So… any documentation to back up this factual-sounding statement? Sounds an awful lot like the brainwashing of many other cults. What makes yours better than the others?

            • Nzo

              Metanoi…see things with His eyes, the eyes of the spirit realm, then you will see in His light.

              Forgot this part…

              How can you be taken seriously? Spirit realm? Where is this place? What light? Sounds like an episode of Hercules or Xena I used to watch when I was bored out of my mind.

            • John C

              Nzo,

              First, if you are going to consider for a minute these things, you will find it very helpful to divorce yourself from all the “religious” mess that masquerades as true “christianity” I know its hard, but try and let go of all that for a minute.

              Christ (in the flesh, like us think about that…God in human flesh?) began his earthly “ministry” by announcing that the (true) kingdom of heaven has come, is here, now. The people said (paraphrased) where? We cant “see” it? show us where we can find this…place, this kingdom. Jesus replied…(paraphrased) you cant see it with your (natural) eyes, for the kingdom I speak of is…within you.

              We turn inward, the first revelation is that “we”. the real us is not our physical bodies, that there is more, hidden deep within just like where we find gold, precious gems and stones…deep in the earth, they must be “unearthed”.

              Like the parable Jesus gave, having discovered the whereabouts of ‘the treasure’ (in the field – our bodies) we sell all we have (external values) in order to purchase the field wherein the treasure lies…us.

              There is more than meets the (natural) eye. You are more tha you know and infinitely more valuable, esteemed, precious to Father than you could ever imagine. He says…if you search for me, with your whole heart (inner man, spirit) you will find me. He is not far, just waiting to be recognized, welcomed in you, even as you, this “heavenly (meaning unseen, spiritual kind) of man within for Christ in you is the mystery of the ages (Col 1:27).

              Psalm 36:9 says…with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see (the true) light.

              All the best

            • Nzo

              We turn inward, the first revelation is that “we”. the real us is not our physical bodies, that there is more, hidden deep within just like where we find gold, precious gems and stones…deep in the earth, they must be “unearthed”.

              One issue with this would obviously be that gold, precious gems and stones can be seen and studied. This metaphysical treasure you’re speaking of has no basis in fact. Your comparison doesn’t really work.

              Like the parable Jesus gave, having discovered the whereabouts of ‘the treasure’ (in the field – our bodies) we sell all we have (external values) in order to purchase the field wherein the treasure lies…us.

              Again, you’re just speaking without following through. You have yet to sell all you have, you obviously have an internet connection and a computer with a place to keep your computer safe from the elements. You’ve sold what, exactly? You’re supposed to be the authority on this stuff, but you don’t follow your own teachings?

              There is more than meets the (natural) eye.

              Opinion. Please back your outrageous statements or stop making them.

              You are more tha you know and infinitely more valuable, esteemed, precious to Father than you could ever imagine

              The guy who says I owe him for the sins of adam and eve? The guy who wants to kill me because I wear clothing of two different materials? Or are we talking about different people here?

              He says…if you search for me, with your whole heart (inner man, spirit) you will find me

              Or he could call once in a while…

              He is not far, just waiting to be recognized, welcomed in you, even as you, this “heavenly (meaning unseen, spiritual kind) of man within for Christ in you is the mystery of the ages

              What traits does he NOT share with an imaginary friend? I’m really truly interested in why you’d call someone talking to an imaginary friend crazy, yet you talk to a god who has the exact same characteristics.

              Psalm 36:9 says…with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see (the true) light.

              Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says…
              If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

              Good luck with that. I wish you all the intellectual capability you require to realize that your god is a myth like all the others.

            • John C

              “Selling out” simply means you are willing to lose your old identity for the new life, new identity as a “Son”. You leave what and who you thought you were to become who you really are, who He says you are. The great exchange, your old life for His new, resurrected life within.

            • Nzo

              I like my life. I’d need a little more than your word and a dusty old book to change who I am. Is it really necessary?

          • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

            You’re confusing a desire for relief with a desire for repentance. The rich man asked Lazarus for relief, but he still hated God.

            • Jeff Eyges

              You’re confusing a desire for relief with a desire for repentance. The rich man asked Lazarus for relief, but he still hated God.

              EXCUSE ME? And where precisely, other than your ass, did you pull this out of?

              You people are unbelievable. Any goddamn excuse to see people in hell, any at all. Something isn’t in the Bible? No problem, we’ll just make it up! Contemptible. Despicable.

              Daniel, I’m sorry, but every time I try to participate here, every time I come back after staying away for a month or two, I find there are even more reality-challenged, morally-deficient fundies than when I left. It’s your blog; you have the right to entertain whomever you choose, but I can’t stick around. I simply haven’t got the stomach for it.

              Keith, you’re a piece of work. And I’m being kind.

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              And where … did you pull this out of?

              Seeing as I referenced Luke 16… probably Luke 16.

            • Andrew N.P.

              Right, right. And where in Luke 16 does it say that the rich man “still hated God?” (Hint: nowhere.)

            • Jeff Eyges

              And where … did you pull this out of?

              Seeing as I referenced Luke 16… probably Luke 16.

              You are a lying, smug, smarmy, complacent, self-satisfied faith addict. Here is the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, in its entirety:

              19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

              20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

              21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

              22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

              23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

              24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

              25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

              26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

              27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

              28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

              29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

              30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

              31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

              It says absolutely NOTHING about the rich man “hating God”, either before or after. Like all fundies, you read into it what you want to, then deny that you’re indulging in anything so base or heretical as “interpretation”.

              I’m unsubscribing from this thread. I can’t waste any more time with this hateful nonsense. Why on earth all the rest of you are allowing him to get away with this shit is beyond me. There has certainly been a change in the tone of this blog since I was last here.

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              Jeff, I used Luke 16 to point out those in Hell do desire relief. I know from elsewhere in scripture that all men hate God unless regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Anyway, you have shown quite clearly that you have no desire to learn and instead would prefer to attack my character in place of any kind of reasonable discussion. Goodbye.

            • John C

              “Rich” means self content, lacking nothing, not humble, self satisfied seeing no need of “God”, not spiritually hungry. It can include being materially well off, financially “rich” as well.

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              Very, very good point.

            • Siberia

              And you know this… how?

          • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

            Andrew NP, I do believe that Keith is someone that does not believe in the “Fire and Brimstone” Hell that many other Christians seem to believe in, but believe that Hell is either a metaphor for an eternity without the knowledge of God and his love, or he believes that if you do not accept Christ then when you die you are just no more. Which I do find a lot more acceptable then the common interpretation.

            Although I would like to ask Keith this question, because it has never been answered to my satisfaction, and I hope that maybe he is up to this task. A child is born to parents that practice another religion then Christianity (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, it doesn’t matter) and raised in a community in which all others believe as they do, a community that the child feels trust and love in for his whole life, and the only contact that this child has with Christianity is Evangelicals who tell him that everyone he loves is evil and are going to burn in hell because of their beliefs, does God expect this child to convert? When this child is grown and dies, can’t God stop him along his way and say “I’m sorry that the only people that you heard speak for me were all crackpots, here I am, what do you think of me now?”.

            I am a very spiritual person, and have beliefs that are both strong and open, but this is one of the logic trains from Christianity that has always bothered me the most, the belief that no matter how you hear of Christianity, the moment you have heard of it you must accept it as truth. Some people out there have only been exposed to the negative side of Christianity, and I would never fault them for not converting (imagine being a Jew or Druid during the time of the Inquisition, I don’t think they had many nice thoughts of Christians or their faith).

            Anyway, I hope that you can answer me Keith, so far I’ve got answers ranging from “Its their fault for denying the truth they knew in their heart” to “God gets to make those Judgment calls”, but really none of those answers have wrung true with me, so maybe you can give me some enlightenment on this subject.

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              Andy, sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. I believe that Hell is a literal place with fire. I just don’t think that “getting roasted alive” is at the heart of what it means to be in Hell. I think the true misery of Hell won’t be physical pain as much as the sheer anguish of being cut off from the giver of all pleasure. But there is no doubt unspeakable torment.

              As for your other question, I think we’re getting pretty far off topic so if you like, please post your email address and I will email you my thoughts.

            • Andrew N.P.

              Why, then, did the rich man complain about BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY and not about “being cut off from the giver of all pleasure”? And if separation from God is so much worse than BEING ROASTED ALIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY, what purpose could the latter punishment possibly serve? (Again, other than fulfilling Christ’s sadistic streak.)

        • Siberia

          Forever and ever and ever punished for the flaws that this perfect God made into the design itself, a flaw so infinitesimal compared to God’s immensity, all because of God’s own lack of clarity and visibility, or because of his silence in face of His followers’ pleas.

          God is just because God doesn’t forgive. Not even people who have never heard of his Christ, or because they were born gay (and were they not made by God, to be like this?), or because they have died too young to even understand what God means (and is not God the giver of life and death).

          God is just because His love sees no problem with torturing these people forever for flaws committed by fallible, infinitely limited (compared to Him) humans.

          Yeah, I suppose I wouldn’t like to spend eternity with a sociopath.

          • John C

            Siberia, were you asking me how I know what “rich” means? Or were you addressing someone or something else? Sorry for the confusion.

    • Daniel Florien

      So Keith, do you believe the temple veil ripped based on the late source of Mark?

    • Gomer Pyle

      Thank you Keith for an intelligent, thoughtful comment.

  • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

    I don’t really understand your question, honestly. Are you asking, “Why would you believe that the temple veil ripped based on writings that were written long after the event?”

    • Daniel Florien

      How about: Why would you believe that the temple veil ripped based on Mark — a source that was written a generation after the event was said to take place, by an author who has obvious incentive to exaggerate events, with no collaborative evidence?

      • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

        a source that was written a generation after the event was said to take place

        What difference does it make when it was written? The Holy Spirit moved men to write the scriptures as God intended (2 Pet. 1:21). God supernaturally caused information to be transmitted accurately over time (in the case of Luke, for example, who interviewed many people) or to be recollected from memory at the time of writing.

        by an author who has obvious incentive to exaggerate events

        This contradicts what scripture says about the apostles. If your statement is true then scripture is already false; why then use it in an argument against scripture? In other words, you’re begging the question.

        with no collaborative evidence

        Why do we need extra-scriptural references? Is God’s word not good enough? Do we need the fallible word of secular writers (whose writings may or may not have been preserved properly—we have no guarantee) to verify God’s word?

        Once again, the epistemology you use to argue against scripture presupposes that God’s word is false. Hence your attempts to argue against scripture will always beg the question.

        • murrowcrokite

          Kieth- why do propose that a secular historian would be more fallible than a fisherman or common civilian reporting on events a generation after they occurred?

          • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

            Because the fisherman was being used by a God who controls all things and cannot lie. The same cannot be said for a secular historian.

            You don’t believe that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). I am aware. I’m simply pointing out the futility of Dan’s evidentialist arguments—they always beg the question. I am begging the question, too, its just that I’m being open about it.

            • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

              I think that what Daniel is asking for is corroboration of the events that happened and not the spiritual meaning behind them. If there is an earthquake someone who is not divinely inspired is still going to know of the earthquake, and if their job is to take down daily events is still going to write “Today we had an earthquake” the difference is the one that is Divinely Inspired may know why the earthquake happened.

              So I think that what Daniel is asking for is that if their was a literal darkness that descended around the earth on the day of Christ’s crucifixion then where is the corroboration from an unbiased historian out there. Shouldn’t there be some Jewish, Roman, or heck even Chinese writer out there that would say “an unusual darkness fell in the middle of the day today”.

              Unless the Veil is a metaphor, then the inconsistencies do not matter because then the writer can embellish the metaphor how they see fit to emphasizes the way they are telling the story. This is especially true if later writers are taking said metaphor from an earlier writer, then it is almost a moral imperative to take that metaphor and make it your own so your not just copying what someone else said. :D

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              I haven’t once discussed whether the veil is metaphor so I don’t even see how this is relevant. I am discussing corroboration with Dan. His criteria for evidence presuppose that the Bible is false, hence he is begging the question.

            • Francesc

              “was being used by a God who controls all things and cannot lie”
              Even assuming that the Bible is God’s word (wich we have no evidence), how do you know that God is a reliable source? Can’t he lie?

            • http://www.answersingenesis.org Keith

              Numbers 23:19, TItus 1:2, and Heb. 6:13-19 all very clearly say that God cannot lie. Likewise, His word is true: “sanctify them with thy truth, thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) God is unchangeable, including His mind, which knows all things. And so we have a foundation for knowledge, as discussed in Heb. 6. Otherwise we are forced to ground knowledge in our minds, which is a completely futile exercise, as the history of philosophy has demonstrated.

              You say we have no evidence for God. Isn’t revelation evidence for God? You have determined beforehand that you will not accept revelation as evidence for God, which is the only means by which God can be known, and then you think you’ve said something really profound when you say that you can’t find any evidence for God…

            • Andy “The Penguin Boy”

              I could not reply to your response to me, so I am going to respond here.

              Weather or not you believe that the veil is a metaphor or not is very important to this discussion because if you do believe it is metaphor, then you do not need external evidence to prove the act. If you do not believe that it is metaphor then you are saying that there was a PHYSICAL darkness that fell across the entire Earth that everyone, believers and non-believers alike could see.

              If you do believe in the existence of the physical darkness falling at that time, then I do not think that it is unreasonable to ask for corroboration from a neutral party, because if the entire world was cloaked in darkness for any amount of time, someone that was not in the middle east at the time would have written about it.

        • Nzo

          The Holy Spirit moved men to write the scriptures as God intended (2 Pet. 1:21)

          Is God’s word not good enough?

          Why exactly do you quote scriptures, and claim it’s god’s word, then get all wishy-washy when we quote the nonsensical, contradictory, hypocritical, and evil passages?

          I know it hasn’t yet happened, but this will invariably be the outcome should you continue this path of thought.

  • Jeff Eyges

    On judgment day, God will give them what they want, which is separation from Him. What unbeliever can complain, then?

    A convenient rationalization embraced by nearly every fundie I’ve known or come across. If God exists, I’d hope he isn’t as small as your own petty ego.

    I don’t know why I’m bothering; you won’t even understand this remark.

  • murrowcrokite

    Nice detective work. You would think a Jewish historian would have mentioned this. There’s always the conspiracy theory that the Jews would cover up any evidence of Jesus’ divinity but there were secular and Roman historians around at the time as well.

    • Andrew N.P.

      Isn’t it obvious? The JOOOOOOOOS! paid off all the Roman and secular historians to lie about what happened. (See, e.g., Matt 28:11-15.) I admit, this would have taken a heck of a lot of bribe money, but these are the JOOOOOOOOS! we’re talking about. And yes, they would have had to bribe historians (and astronomers) in all parts of the world, including places that no one back then even knew existed, but, again, they’re the JOOOOOOOOS! They can do the impossible.

  • http://merequestions.wordpress.com/ Spencer D.

    This is an incredibly weak argument Mr. Florien! I have decided that though I recognize the errors and flaws in the Bible, this is certainly not one. Not one that you can stand on by any means! I don’t believe that we should unjustly slam “contradictions” on passages in the Bible that are easily not contradictions!
    I have refuted this article on my own blog if anyone is interested in discussion.

    Also, all skeptics and atheist here I would like some help maybe answering some of my own questions. I’m an interesting type of Christian, read my About page and you’ll see that.

    Have a nice day :)

    • Francesc

      From your blog -yes, you got a visit and a comment! First one?
      “I actually find his attempt to be quite amusing and the comments and support from his ignorant and all-accepting readers make his entire article a joke to those who understand how wrong he is” [...]“Just reading his over his statements makes it so obvious how confident and arrogant he is”
      Sorry? Who is confident and arrogant?

      • http://merequestions.wordpress.com/ Spencer D.

        Yes, I can admit that I chose to respond to his arrogance with an overload of my own arrogance. Still wondering why I did that myself.
        I’ve responded to both comments made on my blog concerning the ripping of the temple veil.

  • Emily

    One possible reason for there being no extra biblical accounts of the veil being torn in two is that the Jewish priests and the Jews who rejected Jesus were hard-hearted and probably embarrassed that this occurred. Isn’t it plausible that the temple priests could have gotten together and secretly repaired it? For example, there is so much evidence in the world for a Creator, however, there are still people that deny a Creator no matter how much evidence there is in this world. A lot of agnostics and atheists go to great lengths to write articles that back up evolution, regardless of the lack of transitional links in the fossil record, and other inconsistencies.

    I also know that there are extra-biblical accounts of the sky turning black, which puts more weight on the Gospel accounts being truthful than not. “Thallus (Circa AD 52, eclipse of the sun) Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time. His writings are only found as citations by others. Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221, mentioned Thallus’ account of an eclipse of the sun.
    A. ‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.’
    B. Is this a reference to the eclipse at the crucifixion? Luke 23:44-45, ‘And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.’ (http://www.carm.org/christianity/bible/non-biblical-accounts-new-testament-events-andor-people) There is also another website which lists more extra-biblical accounts of this event: http://www.city-data.com/forum/religion-philosophy/101988-proof-jesuss-birth-death-missing-body.html

    One needs to understand that the Bible’s claim is that it is written by the inspiration of God through fallible man, and that is what makes the Gospel accounts so amazing. Eyewitness accounts are very important today, if it were not so, eye-witnesses of crimes would not take the witness stand in the a court of law. Check out Lee Stroblel’s, “The Case for Christ” for more on the Bible’s use of eye witness accounts, here is his site for more info: http://www.leestrobel.com/

    If the Bible is inspired through fallible men, then the Holy Spirit impressed upon Matthew, Mark and Luke what happened to the temple curtain, just as writers of many books of the Bible recorded in advance events that would happen years before their time (prophecies). I read one interesting commentary (http://members.datafast.net.au/sggram/f135.htm) in which, God could have destroyed the Temple instantly, which would definitely send a message to the Jews, that Jesus replaced their sin sacrifice. However, the commentary stated that God wanted to give the Jews that didn’t embrace Christ a second chance to trust in Christ on their own. Just as God today gives us free will and presents each one of us many chances to embrace Jesus Christ, but still allows us to be hard-hearted and freely reject the truth.

    • Keith

      I think your first point about the Jews being embarrassed is good. Ultimately though the veracity of scripture rests on the testimony of God Himself. See 1 John 5:9. Have you studied apologetic methodology?

  • http://www.tentmaker.org Gary Amirault

    You say it never happened and there are no historical records indicating the veil tore. How do you deal with the following?

    Read Matt. 27:51a. Immediately after Jesus shouted tetelestai and chose to die physically, the veil of the Temple was “torn in two from top to bottom.”
    There is extra-biblical evidence for this event also. Roman historian Tacitus (Hist. V. 13), Jewish historian Josephus (Wars of the Jews VI, 5, 3) and the Jewish Talmud (Jer. Yoma 43c; Yoma 39b) all make reference to some “great catastrophe, betokening the impending destruction of the Temple, (that) had occurred in the Sanctuary about this very time.” [5] What was this veil, and how did its tearing signify the end of the Temple?

    It was evidently not a solar eclipse, because they don’t last more than a few minutes. Furthermore, Passover occurred during a full moon, when the moon was at its farthest from the sun(??). It was, therefore, probably a supernaturally-caused darkness.
    Matthew says it fell “upon all the land”–evidently referring to the area including and even beyond Palestine. It is striking that Diogenes, a contemporary writing from Egypt, noted the unique darkness with these words: “Either the Deity Himself suffers at this moment, or sympathizes with one who does.” [1] The Christian apologist Tertullian, writing in the second century, challenged his non-Christian adversaries with these words: “At the moment of Christ’s death, the light departed from the sun, and the land was darkened at noonday, which wonder is related in your own annals, and is preserved in your archives to this day.” [2] Early church leader Origen alludes to a statement by the Greek historian Phlegon, who supposedly mentioned this darkness and the earthquake that accompanied it. [3]
    Footnotes
    [1] Cited in Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 203. Documentation not provided.
    [2] Cited in Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ, p. 203. Documentation not provided.
    [3] Origen, Against Celsus II.33. Cited in William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), p. 970. See also Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), p. 85.
    [4] See Isa. 5:30; 60:2; Joel 2:30,31; Amos 5:18,20; Zeph. 1:14-18.
    [5] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973), Part 2, p. 610.

    • Andy “The Penguin”

      The problem with your comment is that no other culture at the time wrote about a solar eclipse, not the Romans, not the Arabs, not the Indians, not the Chinese, etc.

      You can’t use Biblical text to prove Biblical text as truth, again you can only use faith to back it up.

      • http://www.tentmaker.org Gary Amirault

        I didn’t use Biblical texts, I used secular. Can’t you read?

        • Andy “The Penguin”

          Yes I can read. You used secular text that are discussing biblical text. None of those text draw from non-biblical sources. If you give me a source that is not discussing the biblical text but talks about an eclipse happening at that time, then I will concede the point.

          Someone can write a book that says the sky is green, then a whole bunch of other people can write about why the first person wrote that the sky is green, but that doesn’t make the sky green. On the other hand if you have someone on the other side of the world write that they sky was green at the same time, then you start having something.

    • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

      “How do you deal with the following?”

      The bible is the truth. Why? Because it says so right there in the bible!

      • http://www.richarddawkins.net Keith

        And why does VidLord think he is a source of truth? Because he says so!

    • Daniel Florien

      There is extra-biblical evidence for this event also. Roman historian Tacitus (Hist. V. 13), Jewish historian Josephus (Wars of the Jews VI, 5, 3) and the Jewish Talmud (Jer. Yoma 43c; Yoma 39b) all make reference to some “great catastrophe, betokening the impending destruction of the Temple, (that) had occurred in the Sanctuary about this very time.” [5] What was this veil, and how did its tearing signify the end of the Temple?

      How do you know this is referring to an event in 33AD, not 70AD? If it is “betokening the impending destruction of the Temple” then it sounds like a recent event before the destruction of the templte.

      Also how would the veil ripping be a “great catastrophe”? No, never mind, you can make it mean anything you want I guess. Ah the beauty of interpretation.

      In other words, neither of those references mention a veil ripping. Not sure how this applies.

      • http://www.tentmaker.org Gary Amirault

        Daniel wrote:
        How do you know this is referring to an event in 33AD, not 70AD? If it is “betokening the impending destruction of the Temple” then it sounds like a recent event before the destruction of the templte.

        Also how would the veil ripping a “great catastrophe”?

        Gary: We don’t know, but you always assume to the negative, don’t you? Because you have already made up your mind, haven’t you? Regarding the “great catastrophe” one would have to spend a little time studying the significance of the types and shadows of the tabernacles and temples to find that out. But are you really interested?

        Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
        Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
        Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
        Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
        Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
        Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
        Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
        Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
        Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
        Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

        These are things that I cannot make you understand. The natural mind finds spiritual things foolish. God has confounded those who think they are wise with the foolish things of this world. Truth comes by revelation from His Spirit, not from your brain cells. Daniel you have five poor senses and a mind that is filled with prejudices, emotions, and traditions which make the Word of God of no effect. This is not to fault you, that’s just the way it is. A dog can smell better than you, an eagle can see better than you. Scientists discover daily how wrong they were yesterday with their theories. We don’t know very much and to conclude there is no God because you have no “facts” is simply the height of stupidity. I was an atheist for 37 years who was pretty convinced that was no god and if there was one, that he/she/it was a a-hole. Well, I discovered my opinion was merely a reflection of myself. I was the a-hole. Peace, Gary

        • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

          Gary you say:

          “God has confounded those…” How do you know what God has done or why?
          “ruth comes by revelation from His Spirit” How do you know this?

          If there is a god – do you think the maker of billions upon billions of galaxies and more stars than grains of sand on the worlds beaches would care about silly things like a piece of cloth tearing? Seriously – would such a being care about entirely human ideas of importance – the same things conjured up as ‘important’ come from that very feeble human brain you speak of. Think of an omnipotent being for a moment – look through a telescope – then ask yourself if stories about this being actually caring about ancient tribal squabbles or getting angry, sad, offended etc…could be true. It’s great you believe there is a god but it is the bible god that I contend does not exist.

          • http://www.tentmaker.org Gary Amirault

            Vidlord wrote:
            If there is a god – do you think the maker of billions upon billions of galaxies and more stars than grains of sand on the worlds beaches would care about silly things like a piece of cloth tearing?

            Gary: Your statement reveals to me that you obviously don’t know God. You also don’t know compassion. You don’t know wisdom. You can’t get past your own mind. How can you possibly ever KNOW God without getting out of your own mind? There is one way.

            • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

              “How can you possibly ever KNOW God without getting out of your own mind? There is one way.”

              Please tell me.

            • Jabster

              @Gary

              How can you ever KNOW Zeus without getting out of your own mind?

        • Francesc

          “God has confounded those who think they are wise with the foolish things of this world. Truth comes by revelation from His Spirit, not from your brain cells”
          That method of knowledge hasn’t proved, for many centuries, to be an efficient method. The other one, silly us, scientific method, let us travel to the moon. Our brain cells have his deffects, but their benefits are far better than those from “illumination”.
          The Matrix has confounded you to reproduce superstitions and faith, not allowing you to really search the truth :-)
          “We don’t know, but you always assume to the negative, don’t you?”
          And you always assume the positive, you have also made up your mind against any evidence.

          “It is striking that Diogenes, a contemporary writing from Egypt”
          Sorry, wich diogenes are you referring to? By contemporary are you saying that he really saw the “darkness”? I can’t find any famous diogenes alive at year 0

          • http://www.richarddawkins.net Keith

            “That method of knowledge hasn’t proved, for many centuries, to be an efficient method.”

            This begs the question (illegitimately), can’t you tell?

            “The other one, silly us, scientific method, let us travel to the moon.”

            Science isn’t knowledge. Its a set of procedures by which men attempt to achieve their goals. Using X, Y, Z procedures to meet my desired end (e.g., traveling to the moon) isn’t knowledge. Its pragmatism.

            “Our brain cells have his deffects, but their benefits are far better than those from “illumination”.”

            How would you know without begging the question?

  • Nova

    Kieth my email is Godbuilt@gmail.com

    I’d like to talk.
    Ephesians 4:11-16

  • Brandon

    Your Matthew citation – what version are you referencing? I’m using the ESV and it doesn’t say “at that moment”

    I think you’re citing the NIV. This might just be a matter of translation, so I’m not sure your argument carries much weight as it appears to be hinged on that little phrase.

    • Keith

      That’s part of the problem. Read my earlier comment where I discuss the Greek words involved.

  • Bea Rodgers

    The veil did not rip. It was a lie by three of the gospel writers who were not disciples of Jesus nor apostles, but followers of Paul/Saul of Tarsus. It is the Great Deception in the bible. The one gospel that tells the truth is Johns Gospel and he does not include this story.

    • Ty

      The world will be very happy to finally know the truth, now that you have weighed in.

    • http://support@vidlord.com VidLord

      “It was a lie by three of the gospel writers”

      kinda makes you wonder what other lies were told no?

  • Pingback: A Question of When: The Temple Veil « Chuff blog

  • GS

    Your prejudice against DIVINE inspiration of the Bible leads to your disgusting conclusions. The day is still coming soon when all knees will bow to Jesus Christ.

    • Kodie

      You think it’s prejudice, which means to pre-judge, to decide without examination that we just don’t believe something. No, it’s been examined, it’s been examined well and good to be nonsense, and then discarded as proof. Discarded as meaningless. Whatever you are asserting is nonsense also. It’s not a disgusting conclusion to use actual judgment and not prejudice, to see where what you’re saying just isn’t true.

      I think you’re prejudiced on the other hand. You have decided that our conclusions are disgusting. Your wishful thinking has got you to believe something untrue, and anything that sees through this hogwash is disgusting to you. You have some nerve! Don’t expect us to be swayed by your little performance art of persecution, “knees will bow”?? What does that mean? Your little “wait and see, it will be true, I know it!” act is so silly.

  • mun onn

    i think this was mentioned earlier?

    but I would like to ask respectfully, which version of the Bible are you using, Daniel?

    i’m referring to the Luke passage. i think it is not fair for you to mislead people on this matter.

    fact: in the original Greek, the word “then” is not used
    fact: in the King James Version (and also in the New King James Version), the word “then” is not used.
    fact: in the New International Version, the word “then” is not used.
    fact: in the New American Standard Version, the word “then” is not used.

    yet your main point is based solely on a word that was not used in the original text, nor is it used in the main Bible translations.

    How can you cast doubt on the Bible using something which is not found in it?

    when I read the Luke passage carefully (and not pluck verses out of context), I find that the verses were not trying to give a chronological narrative of which happened first, followed by what happened next. Reading the King James Version made this clear for me.

    If you would like to question the Bible – by all means, please feel free to – please make sure you question the actual content of the Bible and the context in which it is found.

    thank you.

    • Sunny Day

      I don’t think its fair of you to acknowledge that Daniel could be using a different version of myriad editions of the Babble and then take him to task over somehow misleading people.

    • Sunny Day

      Oh wait he did tell you which version he was using. (Mark 15:37-38, NRSV)

      Not being very conversant with biblical notations, I goggled what NRSV could mean.

      (“New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” )

      Looks like the passages check out. I hope next time you wont leap to accuse someone of dishonesty before carefully re-reading the article.

      This has been Sunny Day being uncharacteristically nice.

    • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

      And since you want to talk about the “actual content” of the Bible, I assume that you’re not even bothering to read the English translations but are drawing on the Greek manuscripts. I mean, since we’re being all extra-Christiany and all that.

      • Sunny Day

        You should read the bible written in the original Klingon.

        • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

          Could you imagine the Creation myth in Klingon? One of my favorite Worf-isms came from a discussion about faith and gods in DS9:
          Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millenia ago. They were more trouble than they were worth.

  • Mrs. Malison

    Wow. I’m so proud of everyone posting here.

    So full of mindless bigots, mindful bigots, irrational fanatics, rational fanatics, considerate atheist, inconsiderate atheist, uneducated comments, educated comments. But pointless nonetheless.

    It’s like the Council of Nicea all over again except it’s accomplished nothing. If you were all in a room together speaking about these things I would say 20-30 minutes before a riot broke out and people statrted dieing.

    You all have great opinions, all seeking to voice them, how many of you would be willing to act in unity for the benefit of people other than yourselves?

    The whole world is doing what you are. Over three conflicting passages from the same religious text you insult eachother, try to prove eachother wrong. How much effort it takes to argue this point you could be using to reconcile them. Everyone wants to look so knowledgable and throw their references out to prove their point.

    How about we find a more productive use of religion huh? Like having personal faith. Then move on to handle things in life that actually matter like stopping mass murders in the name of religion…anyone?

    • Sunny Day

      So full of mindless bigots, mindful bigots, irrational fanatics, rational fanatics, considerate atheist, inconsiderate atheist, uneducated comments, educated comments. But pointless nonetheless.

      Which one are you, Mindful Bigot, Irrational Fanatic, or a new type, Concern Troll?

      It’s like the Council of Nicea all over again except it’s accomplished nothing. If you were all in a room together speaking about these things I would say 20-30 minutes before a riot broke out and people statrted dieing.

      History has shown it would be the theists who will start the killing in the name of their god.

      You all have great opinions, all seeking to voice them, how many of you would be willing to act in unity for the benefit of people other than yourselves?

      Most of us. Many are engaged in it right now or will be in the short future. Do you think we’re selfish based solely on the replies in this post? Have you read any of the other posts? Do we need to hold our charitable works up for your inspection and approval? Shame on you.

      The whole world is doing what you are. Over three conflicting passages from the same religious text you insult eachother, try to prove eachother wrong. How much effort it takes to argue this point you could be using to reconcile them. Everyone wants to look so knowledgable and throw their references out to prove their point.

      We have reconciled them and it was easy. Its all bunk. It’s just the barbaric faerie tale of a bronze age people. Problem solved.

      How about we find a more productive use of religion huh? Like having personal faith.

      Personal faith is just fine and we see nothing wrong with it. It’s the part where people start flying planes into buildings, passing laws stripping rights away from people or forcing people’s adherence to the “personal faith” of others.

      Then move on to handle things in life that actually matter like stopping mass murders in the name of religion…anyone?

      We’re attacking the problem at its source. No religion, no mass murders in the name of religion. Right?

    • Michael
  • Mrs. Malison

    Me? I don’t care, I’ll let you give me a title, concern troll, that’s iffy. I like the troll part just not the concern. I’m not really that concerned with arguing semantics. So let’s go for the valid points. Or at least try.

    “We’re attacking the problem at its source. No religion, no mass murders in the name of religion. Right?”

    Wrong. That’s just as much a fairy tale as Jesus. There has always been religion. Would love to hear how to accompish that. Closing your eyes doesn’t make it go away. I wrote my opinion and the first response was degradation.

    “Do you think we’re selfish based solely on the replies in this post?”

    I wasn’t targeting anyone so I don’t know what group you’re assigning yourself to by saying “we’re” etc. I was kinda going for the anti-targeting, anti-group faction generalization. You know like generalizing anti-car bombings and those things a bit more productive than trading insults.

    “You all have great opinions, all seeking to voice them, how many of you would be willing to act in unity for the benefit of people other than yourselves? ”

    Response : “Most of us. Many are engaged in it right now or will be in the short future.”

    You are not a great ambassador for your cause whatever it may be. I hope this isnt how you rationally “engage” others in this “short future” of yours.

    I’m pretty sure you don’t prosyletize, so how do you personally engage people?

    You don’t think some of the replies in this post fit in the titles I previously wrote?

    • Michael

      Wrong. That’s just as much a fairy tale as Jesus.

      If there is no religion, there is no murder in the name of religion. End of story.

      There has always been religion. Would love to hear how to accompish that.

      Religion is a system of beliefs. Until a couple thousand years ago, everybody believed the Earth was flat. Until a few hundred years ago, everybody believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Until a couple hundred years ago, nearly all men (and probably most women too) believed women were inferior to men.

      Yet these have all changed.

      Note also that while it is probably true that religion is extremely old, so is atheism.

      Closing your eyes doesn’t make it go away.

      It’s a good thing we aren’t closing our eyes and are arguing it, then.

      I wrote my opinion and the first response was degradation.

      Because your opinion was offensive degradation. You literally just attempted to bash everybody posting here then complained when Sunny Day didn’t appreciate it.

      I wasn’t targeting anyone so I don’t know what group you’re assigning yourself to by saying “we’re” etc. I was kinda going for the anti-targeting, anti-group faction generalization. You know like generalizing anti-car bombings and those things a bit more productive than trading insults.

      You said: “how many of you would be willing to act in unity for the benefit of people other than yourselves?” How do you expect this to be interpreted if not rhetorically? Either you are backpedaling here or you legitimately do not understand how to write coherently.

      You are not a great ambassador for your cause whatever it may be. I hope this isnt how you rationally “engage” others in this “short future” of yours.

      See, this is pretty much what he’s talking about. You presume to know people based on a single comment on a blog.

      I’m pretty sure you don’t prosyletize, so how do you personally engage people?

      Why is proselytism the best way of engaging people? Most of us don’t have an agenda of deconversion, we just try to protect our collective rights and advertise the wrongs of religion so that they might be punished or avoided in the future. At least that’s my impression having been posting on this blog just for a little while.

      You don’t think some of the replies in this post fit in the titles I previously wrote?

      wat

    • Sunny Day

      Great another one who doesn’t know how to use the reply button. I’m so proud of you.

      … just not the concern.

      Instead of being concerned you’re going with the incoherent ranting position?

      Wrong. That’s just as much a fairy tale as Jesus. There has always been religion. Would love to hear how to accompish that. Closing your eyes doesn’t make it go away.

      Incoherent ranting it is then. Bravo.

      I wrote my opinion and the first response was degradation.

      LOL! The very first sentence in your post was degradation. “Wow. I’m so proud of everyone posting here. ” Another data point for Custador’s theory about irony.

      I wasn’t targeting anyone so I don’t know what group you’re assigning yourself to by saying “we’re” etc. I was kinda going for the anti-targeting, anti-group faction generalization. You know like generalizing anti-car bombings and those things a bit more productive than trading insults.

      Thanks for confirming that you were ranting in general without any specific target.
      You mean those productive insults you opened up with? Since you’re covered with it, tell me, what does hypocrisy taste like?

      You are not a great ambassador for your cause whatever it may be. I hope this isnt how you rationally “engage” others in this “short future” of yours.

      Ambassador? I’m supposed to be an ambassador for my cause? I thought I was just making fun of an idiot. I guess I should ask for a raise.

      You don’t think some of the replies in this post fit in the titles I previously wrote?

      LOL WUT?

      I wasn’t targeting anyone so I don’t know what group you’re assigning yourself to by saying “we’re” etc. I was kinda going for the anti-targeting, anti-group faction generalization. You know like generalizing anti-car bombings and those things a bit more productive than trading insults.

      Ah, so a incoherent general ranting instead of anything specific. That’s just great.

      • Kodie

        Another data point for Custador’s theory about irony.

        I could swear that was Ty.

        —————-
        Anything else, Mrs. Malison? You’ve been so useful!

        • Sunny Day

          Yes TY’s, thank you. I misremembered it as Custy’s.

  • constantlyafraid

    A possible Jewish reference:

    “Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself?”

    - Talmud Yoma 39b
    in reference to the Hekhal

    • Mogg

      How on earth do you manage to read a reference to the temple veil into that? It appears to make little sense without context, and what little sense it does make sounds like legendary magical stuff – doors opening by themselves until the holy man says magic words. Incidentally, the word Hekhal, according to your wiki link, probably refers to the main part of the temple, not the inner Holy of Holies which the veil was supposed to shield.

  • Kaptain Kranky Pants

    This is such simplistic thinking. It cracks me up how skeptics are so arrogant and give such simplistic answers to very complex issues. I see that often times there is little to no research done from real scholars. They mock young earth creationist for having little to no scholarship behind their claims, but turn around and do the same with matters of history, theology and textual matters.
    Read Paul Barnett’s, “Is the New Testament Reliable?” teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, and visiting fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University in Australia. This is 101 entry level stuff. Then write you post and make your observations.

    • Jabster

      You trolls are really going down hill you know …

      • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

        Aren’t they just? Not even worth pointing and laughing.

    • http://fugodeus.com Nox

      You are confusing scholarship with apologetics.

      If the new testament says things that are not true, or gives conflicting accounts of the same events, then the new testament is not reliable. This is entry level stuff here.

      The central point of the book you’re plugging here is the assertion that “Jesus and the first Christians are genuine figures of history and that they are faithfully and truthfully written about in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles”.

      An assertion which is not only unfounded, but known to not be true.

      “Most scholars date the Gospels and Acts in the 60s to 80s.”

      No. No, they don’t. It appears Barnett is also confusing scholarship with apologetics. The only gospel that scholars generally date in that period is Mark, with the others coming twenty to fifty years later.

      “The latest date that the New Testament books could have been written is approximately A.D. 95, when patristic writers began to cite them in their own works.”

      The error here should be easy enough to spot, but I’ll point it out anyway since Kaptain missed it.

      The…new…testament…wasn’t…all…written…at…the…same…time.

      Just because Ignatius or Clement mention some teaching or phrase that is similar to something that later wound up in the new testament does not actually mean the entire new testament was already written by that time.

    • Mogg

      I have read the first edition of Barnett, although I seem to have misplaced my copy of it. I have also read F.F. Bruce’s and Craig Blomberg’s books on the same topic during the many years that I spent trying to find convincing proof that Christianity was true. I found none of them convincing for the same reasons that have been repeated ad nauseum on this blog. There are actual scholars of ancient history contributing here, and multiple people who trained in theology to one level or another.

      Whilst I am pleased that Club Mac offers a course in Ancient History, I’m personally more interested in their Brain, Behaviour and Evolution course, mostly because I know someone who has done it.

  • Bible believer

    My friend you need to get your facts straight. There is a lot of secular history that talks about the veil being torn into. Josephus for one. But then again, you wouldn’t believe him or any other historian, because you want to destroy the Bible. But try as you might the Word of God will continue to stand and will be there to face you in the judgment.

    • Elemenope

      This wouldn’t be the same Josephus that cheated his way out of a suicide pact with his fellow revolutionaries, switched sides against his own people and kissed the Romans’ asses for the last thirty-three years of his life, would it?

      Because that guy was the absolute paragon of honesty.

      • Jabster

        “This wouldn’t be the same Josephus …”

        I think you’ll find it was a different one.

        • Elemenope

          Ah yes, the Josephus of Christians’ fevered imaginations. That one wouldn’t tell a lie, no sir.

          • Jabster

            Just like Jesus then …

  • satanlovesvulva

    The question should be “are these so called synoptic gospels written by the people who’s name are on the books?”. Did someone by the name of Matthew actually right the gospel that carries his name? The answer would be a resounding “NO!”.

    The books that bare the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are actually books that were written anonymously. None of those four books had a name on it. These names that you now see on each of the four gospels were not part of the actually writings.

    These so called “gospels” are very contradictory and are not to be relied on for accurate information.
    Since these books are full of contradictions, how can any intelligent human actually place their trust on them.

    These gospels can’t agree on: which day jesus died, did jesus eat the passover, what time did jesus died, where was jesus between the age of 3 months and 2 years, did the curtain tear before jesus died or after, did jesus tell his disciples to meet him in galilee or stay in jerusalem after jesus resurrected. These are just a few of the many of hundreds of contradictions that you will find in the so called “holy bible”.

    Before you guys try to agree or disagree with what the bible says, first ask yourself this question “who actually wrote the gospels?”, “did Paul write all of the letters attributed to him? the answer is no”, “are there contradictions in the bible?”, the answer is yes, there are lot’s of contradictions. Some people are not going to believe that this book has contradictions, even after those contradictions have been pointed out to them. These people are the “devotional class”. They continue to believe in this garbage even though they are being shown that this book cannot not be historically correct. You cannot have two versions of one story and then call them both accurate.

    • Custador

      You seriously need to have a look at the “about” section on this blog and.. Well.. Read the article you’re replying to. Yeah. That probably wouldn’t hurt. It might save you expending all that energy looking a bit silly!

  • Steve D

    Daniel,
    You came up with the “then” in Luke from an English translation. There is no “then” in the Greek. τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλιπόντος, ἐσχίσθη δὲ τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ μέσον. “The sun failed and the curtain of the temple was split [in/down] the middle.” Just because it was written in the sentence prior to Jesus breathing his last, does not mean that it occurred chronologically prior. That is you placing emphasis on something that doesn’t actually exist. That’s poor methodology to say the least. So it appears you have no real argument for prior, concurrent, and after the fact. They are all saying the same thing.
    Further, you accept a late date of authorship which is contested in modern scholarship. One last point, although admittedly an argument from silence – just like yours, the gospel is going out to people who know very well if the curtain has been torn or not. If the curtain was never torn, the citizens in and around Jerusalem would immediately know that this gospel was false and the audience would be lost. Matthew and Mark were written to largely Jewish audiences who would be familiar with recent temple history (the center of their faith). I realize you are skeptical of the Bible, but you are setting up straw men. I hope for better.


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