When Was Jesus Crucified?

Today is “Good Friday,” the day Christians believe Jesus was executed through crucifixion. But did Jesus die today or tomorrow? The Bible actually says both.

Mark, the earliest Gospel, says that Jesus died on the day after the passover meal:

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” [...] As soon as it was morning, the chief priests … bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate…. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. (Mark 14:12; 15:1, 25 NRSV)

But John, the latest Gospel, says Jesus was crucified on the day before the passover meal:

Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. [Pilate] said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” (John 19:14)

So in Mark, Jesus was nailed to a cross at 9am the day after the Preparation of the Passover. In John, Pilate is about to send Jesus to his death at 12pm on the day of the Preparation for the Passover.

Those timelines just don’t add up. At least one is false; both cannot be true.

Why would John change the day Jesus was crucified from the earlier Mark narrative? Bart Ehrman gives an interesting theory in Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium:

Possibly the author of John, our last Gospel to be written, is actually trying to say something, to make a “truth-claim” about Jesus in the way he has told his story. Readers have long noted — and this can scarcely be either an accident or unrelated to our present dilemma — that John’s is the only Gospel that explicitly identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God.”

In fact, at the very outset of the Gospel, Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist, sees him and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (1:29); and seven verses later, he says it again: “Behold the Lamb of God” (1:36). John’s Gospel thus portrays Jesus as the Passover lamb, whose blood somehow brings salvation, just as the blood of the Passover lamb brought salvation to the children of Israel so many centuries before. [...]

John, or someone who told him the story, made a slight change in a historical datum in order to score a theological point. For John, Jesus really was the Lamb of God. He died at the same time (on the afternoon of the day of Preparation), in the same place (Jerusalem), and at the hands of the same people (the Jewish leaders, especially the priests) as the Passover lambs. In other words, John has told a story that is not historically accurate, but is, in his judgement, theologically true.

That’s the best explanation I’ve heard. John was either told the story slightly differently or changed it to fit his theological point (purposely or accidently).

What I find so refreshing about “liberal” biblical scholarship is its honesty. Fundamentalist scholars are usually apologists — they’re just defending what they want to be true. They are not willing to consider that this, for instance, is a real contradiction. They explain it away with theological smoke and mirrors.

The truth is we don’t know when Jesus died. We only have accounts written generations later, and what we have agree on some parts and disagree on others.

Did Jesus die at 9am the day after the Passover meal, or after 12pm on the day before the Passover meal? I don’t know. You don’t know. Scholars don’t know. And certainly the Christian knocking at your door doesn’t know.

But don’t expect Christian pastors and priests to tell you that this weekend. They’re not in that business.

[For a fuller explanation of this, you can read Ehrman's chapter on it.]

  • http://twitter.com/InsaneElvis Aron Elvis

    Yeah but … how does Jesus end up dying on a different day every year?

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

      The same reason Thanksgiving is on a different date every year.

    • Yoav

      If they kept it on the day of passover then it may come around on different days of the week so you will not be guarantied a long weekend to go shopping. Happy zombie day to all.

      • Roger

        Hey! Don’t forget the chocolate bunny army, Yoav!

        • Yoav

          I think we should start a new tradition of chocolate brains to celebrate the zombification of JC.

          • http://thismaladie.blogspot.com Fool

            @ Yoav: I’d totally buy that. Especially if filled with egg nog.

      • Jerdog

        Wait… who gets a long weekend? Public schools in my state tend to ignore Good Friday.

  • Trey

    “What I find so refreshing about “liberal” biblical scholarship is its honesty. Fundamentalist scholars are usually apologists — they’re just defending what they want to be true. They are not willing to consider that this, for instance, is a real contradiction. They explain it away with theological smoke and mirrors.”

    So true. It would be possible to have more productive dialouge if people weren’t already set in stone before they started talking. All too often, productive dialouge with the apologists eventually devloves into something like dealing with a witness on cross-examination…there are trying so desperately to dodge and juke and cover-up some uncomfortable detail, and becomes obvious.

  • http://www.aphids.com/stan/blog/ Stan Taylor

    Actually, these statements are sometimes contradictory:

    What I find so refreshing about “liberal” biblical scholarship is its honesty.

    and

    But don’t expect Christian pastors and priests to tell you that this weekend. They’re not in that business.

    In my very liberal church, the pastors are more than willing to admit that either we don’t really know and/or that the ‘literal’ truth doesn’t really matter. In fact, they’re quite likely to make a sermon about the very textual contradiction that you mention.

    • Daniel Florien

      Yes, which goes under my “liberal” biblical scholarship. I’m really talking about fundamentalist pastors.

      Do you really expect most pastors to talk about these kinds of issues over the Easter weekend?

      • http://www.aphids.com/stan/blog/ Stan Taylor

        Agreed. Just pointing out that the ‘Do you really expect…’ statement painted with too wide a brush; it needs a ‘most’ before pastors.

      • Travis

        I wouldn’t expect most pastors to even notice the contradiction. I mean that would require actually reading the bible and not some book written by someone who says they read the bible. Highly unorthodox behavior.

    • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

      ” the ‘literal’ truth doesn’t really matter.”
      Right. It’s the mythological truth that matters.

  • Elemenope

    Did Jesus die at 9am the day after the Passover meal, or after 12pm on the day before the Passover meal?

    Both, man. Those Romans were cruel bastards!

    :)

    • Roger

      That’s we’ll see in Passion of the Christ II: The Romans Strike Back. In this stunning, two-hour epic, the Romans go on a journey to resurrect Jesus that builds to an emotional, one hour and thirty minute recrucifixion of Jesus. It’s a can’t-miss!

    • trj

      Quantum Jesus!

  • Cletus

    Right.

    When was Jesus born?

    The entire story is fiction. It might have a seed or kernel of truth or historical fact, but it’s 99.9% fiction that has been “validated” by 2000 years of “tradition.”

    People worship this fictional man, when they should be living the message attributed to him (without the need to deify).

    • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

      Just wondering: What is the message?

      • Elemenope

        Don’ mess with the Romans.

      • Fentwin

        I always thought this was a comforting loving message;

        “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

        • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

          Snarkiness aside, the message of that statement is that you can’t follow Jesus while still clinging to the ancient idea of your family or clan being superior and more important than ALL others. According to Jesus, the whole world is your family, and you need to care for them just as much as you would care for yourself or your own family.

          • Kodie

            What is so funny is that it’s not written that way. It might be that you can draw out the “real” meaning, but then it wouldn’t sound so dramatic. Why does it have to come across so much like a threat, and if you look around your world, do many people really live this way, or tend to ignore it altogether? Because I think most people ignore it either way, they neither hate their families as directed (if we interpret it in plain speech) nor treat everyone they meet with the love, kindness, or compassion they typically reserve for their families.

            I mean, I get that you think Jesus has a good message, at least some of the time it might be good to model off of, but do you really think the majority of believers do, or just ignore most of it and do things out of superstition and habit? I have met very few people who say they are Christians or otherwise who act anything like Jesus said, in all the best, wisest, most loving and sensible versions or interpretations of him.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              That’s true and it makes me sad. I guess it just goes to show that if you give human beings something good, they’ll just find a way to fuck it up (I mean, look what we’ve done to the medium of film).
              FWIW, it was a pretty common tactic of Jesus to phrase things in the most confrontational way possible, to get people to re-examine their assumptions. But the gospels tell us many, many times that Jesus was about taking care of your neighbor (the good samaritan, the sheep and the goats, etc.).

            • Elemenope

              FWIW, it was a pretty common tactic of Jesus to phrase things in the most confrontational way possible, to get people to re-examine their assumptions.

              Yeah, he did. He went for shock rather than clarity. Bummer how that worked out.

              You know, in the Phaedrus, the segment of dialogue that tells the story of Theuth and Thamus and the nature of writing has always struck me as profound, and this is another sharp example of why. When an oral preacher gives a sermon, or constructs a parable, he or she is acutely aware of all the little nuances that signal how the audience is responding. It is even sharper if the preacher knows the people to whom they are preaching to, their personalities and their scope of knowledge. While writing retains some power of context, it pales in comparison to the on-site give-and-take of a speaker and their audience.

              It may well be that the sense you describe of the passage in Luke is entirely what Jesus intended (if he ever even spoke those words, but let’s leave skepticism aside for the moment). But we can only assert our guess about what was meant, a guess perhaps informed by inferences of personality from other segments of text and knowledge of cultural mores of the period, but a guess nonetheless. It is likely that his audience knew precisely what he was getting at, and even more likely that the version that survives is merely the cliffnotes version designed, as Thamus pointed out, merely to remind those already knowledgeable about what they know. It has long since stopped serving that purpose, since nobody remains that has knowledge of the experience of the event first-hand, and all that remains is a statement that could well mean the opposite of what your best guess may be.

            • Chiefley

              It is interesting you said that about preachers and sermons. My Pastor once told me that all sermons are heresy. What he meant was that sermons necessarily raise a single point up higher than it should be for the duration of the sermon. Standing by itself and looked at outside of the rest of a church’s doctrine, an individual sermon is indeed a heresy.

              However, what saves it is that it is one of many sermons delivered by a given pastor to the same congregation over a long period of time. This allows the sermon to be placed in context, so it is no longer a heresy.

              Jesus said some outrageous things to his audience because his message was outrageous and definitely counter-cultural.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

    It’s interesting that in modern times, if a person’s recount of certain events were found to be incorrect, their credibility would be brought into question, as would the actual happenings of the events themselves. Yet if someone that lived two thousand years ago is found to have given a conflicting account (of what in this case happens to be perhaps the most important event in Christianity), it’s kind of overlooked and millions of people continue to live their lives following a doctrine as if there is no question whatsoever that said event happened how and when they are told it was.

    It makes this idea that Catholics not eating meat today so much funnier to me. Several people I work with, most of which don’t even go to church on a regular basis, are not eating meat today. I know because every Friday someone volunteers to bring in breakfast that everyone leaves donations for if they partake (given to the leukemia lymphoma society), and today someone brought sausage kolaches. A friend I work with (that eats anything usually) said, laughing, “I almost ate a kolache without thinking! That could have been bad.”

    I tried not to lol.

    • Michael

      Well, John and Mark were obviously written by different people, and probably neither of them (and certainly not John) actually knew Jesus personally, so it isn’t really comparable.

      That said, it is probably impossible to know how much of the gospel is a complete fabrication.

    • Siberia

      Me and my atheist coworker decided it’d be an awesome idea to have a major BBQ on Good Friday. A Catholic coworker was shocked. We lol’ed.

      • Roger

        How’d your co-worker respond to your lol’ing at his/her shock?

  • Olaf

    Both dates might be wrong!

  • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

    Just to stick up for religious folks a little bit:
    1. The Catholic not eating meat on Friday is a symbolic gesture, in solidarity both with Jesus and all the suffering people throughout history and into the present day. It’s not important whether or not Jesus was actually crucified on a Friday.
    2. You won’t hear too many sermons on Good Friday or Easter Sunday about the date problem BECAUSE it’s not all that important. Imagine this: you’re a priest preparing to give a homily on Easter Sunday. You know that there are many people in the congregation that will attend only today and at Christmas. Which would you rather do: give a sermon about how the different books of the bible are contradictory, or try to provide a message about what Jesus stood for?
    3. The best evidence is that John didn’t change the date of the crucifixion, he simply had no idea what Mark had written (no printing press and what-not).
    4. Jesus, in my understanding, stood for living a life of service for your fellow man and a model of God’s love for humanity. Of course, as I believe that he was God, he could stand for many things to many people, but I believe that was the most important; he was willing to die to fully identify with humanity and exemplify service to others.
    5. Cletus, there’s as much historical evidence that Jesus at least existed as a historical personage as there are for many historical events (Caesar crossing the Tiber is one). There is non-Christian evidence that more or less modern beliefs about Jesus date to the 1st Century AD. It’s disrespectful to both believers and the historical record to state that Jesus was a fictional person. I agree that you are at liberty to believe or disbelieve in his god-hood, but it’s just ignorant to say that he didn’t exist.
    6. McBloggenstein, please don’t laugh at your friend’s religious obligation. If he’s not eating meat on Friday, he probably takes it pretty seriously, which, if he’s your friend, should be reason enough for you to take it seriously. A little understanding, please.

    • Kodie

      It’s pretty hard to take symbolic “solidarity” seriously, or superstitious belief that god will get you if you ate meat on the wrong day of the week. Not only will nothing bad happen, but keeping in mind the suffering while you forgo meat doesn’t feed or comfort anyone else.

      • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

        It’s true that it doesn’t directly feed anyone else, but I would offer the following defenses.
        1. The world ecologically is better off if humans eat less meat. A large portion of the population of the US forgoing meat for 1 day a week can make a significant impact in meat consumption and help protect the planet.
        2. It’s somewhat impractical to take our Friday portion of meat and send it to someone who is hungry.
        3. Catholics are now encouraged during Lent to positively do something good for others, rather than the old encouragement to simply give up something. This should encourage one to help others more in day to day life even outside of the Lenten season.
        4. Few Catholics believe that God will “get them” if they accidentally eat meat on a Friday. It is only a sin to willfully and knowingly refuse the discipline (in Catholic theology, it is impossible to sin without knowledge and consent).

        • MrPendent

          What evidence do you have of his existence?

          1. So are they doing it to help the planet, or because they think God likes it? If it is the former, it does not justify the latter. Avoiding alcohol might be good for my liver, but it does not then follow that it’s ok to think that the leprechauns approve of it.

          2. Then maybe the church should encourage them to skip a meal and give that money to a charity? Surely that would be more useful than the pretended turn-up-of-the-nose-I-don’t-do that-today pretentiousness. What if you give up meat on Thursday? Is that not ok?

          3. Good. Apparently they only listen when they want to.

          4. I believe the idea that God would “get them” came from the co-worker’s statement that eating the kolache “would be bad.” If not due to divine retribution, then how exactly is a rational person to interpret that? A one-day concern for one’s cholesterol?

          I used to work with a guy who was very Catholic. We worked a night shift–7pm to 7am. When he worked on Thursday nights, he would eat his meat-containing lunch before midnight, so that he wasn’t eating meat on Friday. How does that make any sense? God only starts caring at 12:00:01?

          I think the point is that the whole Lent thing is a public pageant, so each person can try to show everyone else how very religious they are. They will break every commandment, commit every “deadly” sin, but then pointedly, loudly and with an aire of disdain refuse meat for 24 hours to show how good they are. It’s a bunch of hogwash and they should be laughed at. The same as I would laugh at any person who told me that they decided not to eat fruity cereal on Tuesday as a sign of respect for the Fairy Queen.

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            I’m sorry for whatever has happened to you that has made you so angry about our religious observance. I’ll try to answer your objections as best I can:
            1. By my belief, loving God and protecting the planet are both good things. It doesn’t surprise me that doing something to honor God helps to protect the planet. I don’t use my belief in environmentalism to justify my belief in God. The two are mostly independent, but probably my belief in God makes me a slightly more zealous environmentalist.
            2. It probably would be better for the Church to explicitly state that the money for a missed meal should be donated to charity. Unfortunately, Christians often only do what is good, rather than what’s best. It’s a practice that I’ll seriously consider taking up. Thank you for the suggestion.
            3. Giving up something for Lent is a long-standing tradition, and long-standing traditions change slowly, over time. We’re getting better about it.
            4. The idea of Lenten observance certainly can turn into a public pageant, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t think letting others see your faith in action is necessarily a bad thing, if you believe that others can benefit from it. To treat the observances as though they are arbitrary rules and show off to others how well you can follow them is, I admit, the incorrect thing to do.

            BTW, I believe that tolerance is a virtue (and I believe that irrespective of any religious beliefs I may have). I would find the fruity cereal thing vaguely amusing privately, but would never consider demeaning that person or their religious beliefs. It causes no harm to me or anyone else, so I don’t see a reason to run them down.

            • MrPendent

              I was serious about the evidence for Jesus’ actual existence, btw. I am honestly curious.

              Why do you think I’m “angry”?

              My point about the environmentalism wasn’t that there is anything wrong with it–I’m all for it. Rather it was that, when asked my God should care if you eat meat at all, much less on a day, your response was, in part, that it was environmentally sound. I may not have been clear that I was objecting to the idea that somehow being good for the environment had anything to do with the discussion. This is an idea you seem to largely agree with, based on your statement that, “The two are mostly independent, but probably my belief in God makes me a slightly more zealous environmentalist.”

              My point about the changing ideas of Lent is who is encouraging Catholics to do something positive for Lent? The Pope? Another priest? I’m just not clear on who is making these rules.

              I do seem to have communicated with you effectively on #4–these are arbitrary rules for a person to observe on their own and, people being people, it gets turned into a contest like most everything else (message board posts, for instance ;) ). And if Catholics kept it to themselves, that would be one thing. I would still find it silly, but whatever they do is their thing. And I don’t even have an issue with accommodating these things–the company buying food for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, for instance. But the vegetarian who walks into the room and makes a big show of avoiding the meat is acting just as ridiculous.

              Whether magical thinking causes harm or not is an entirely different question.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Guidelines for Lenten discipline is the responsibility of the Pope and the Bishops. John Paul II started stressing the responsibility to perform positive works of charity instead of self-deprivation, and most bishops have echoed it, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

              Primarily, I felt you were angry because of the generally sarcastic tone of #3 in your reply. If that was not the case, I apologize.

              By saying that “the two are mostly independent”, I meant that I would still be an environmentalist even if I weren’t a Christian. The two are not dependent on each other, but mutually reinforcing (I’m not convinced that one can be a GOOD Christian without being an environmentalist, but that’s my opinion, nothing official).

              Magical thinking, just like any type of thinking, does not, in itself, cause harm. When your magical thinking leads to actions that abrogate others’ rights, then it has caused harm.

            • Jabster

              “1. By my belief, loving God and protecting the planet are both good things. It doesn’t surprise me that doing something to honor God helps to protect the planet.”

              Oh please stop the weak arguments … if god had wanted us to not eat meat to help the environment that it wouldn’t have been that difficult to just say that would it?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Lord knows that I’m not a vegetarian. My point is that abstaining from meat is an objectively “good” thing, regardless of any particular religious obligation. My goal is not to change anyone’s mind, but to at least demonstrate that my particular set of beliefs is not as utterly ludicrous as it’s often painted to be.

            • Sunny Day

              “if god had wanted us to not eat meat to help the environment that it wouldn’t have been that difficult to just say that would it?”

              Or you know, not make animals so darn tasty in the first place.

            • Roger

              Or, not make us carnivores.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              My favorite is: If God didn’t want us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?

            • Kodie

              So if we can get people to use their superstitions to not drive like complete idiots, we all benefit, but they are still doing it for the wrong reasons. Can we not point out their dumb logic? Would they not do the same for the right reasons? Would they act in spite of my good reasons to act on their cherished rituals, which may or may not have positive effects on me?

              I mean, literally, people who take time out of their day to do the hokey pokey for god would not be easily manipulated to work for my benefit if it was only just “the right thing to do” for everyone. Some people think they are so motivated, but they still can suck.

              I was thinking about you when I was out earlier – the driver in front of me was compelled by some altruistic notion that he was obligated to let out everyone, every single one, he saw who was “stuck”, let them all cross the street, make a left turn out, pull out of their parallel parking spot, etc., and I was behind him for half a mile, it took ten minutes. I’d like to send a message to everyone who is compelled out of the goodness of their heart to think about how many cars are stacking up in traffic behind them, missing the green lights, waiting for all your random acts of kindness until we can pull around you. Also, I had a big mac and I’m not sorry.

            • Jabster

              “Lord knows that I’m not a vegetarian. My point is that abstaining from meat is an objectively “good” thing, regardless of any particular religious obligation.”

              I couldn’t a crap whether it’s good or not … the point being that if god had wanted us not to eat meat for the sake of the enviroment then he could have easily made that clear in fact he could have easily made it so that it wasn’t a problem in the first place be he didn’t did he?

              “My goal is not to change anyone’s mind, but to at least demonstrate that my particular set of beliefs is not as utterly ludicrous as it’s often painted to be.”

              So Jesus being born of a virgin is just flat out ridiculous then?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              It’s not ridiculous to me, but clearly you have a differing opinion on that. All I can say is that, within the framework I live in, it seems possible. Within your framework, obviously not.

              In regards to the superstition about driving, I don’t really give a fuck why the people are following the rules of the road. They can do it for God, they can do it because it’s the decent things to do, or for any reason they damn well please, as long as they do it. I guess I really just don’t understand the need to run down other people’s religions. If you don’t believe it, fine. Write a blog about the wonders of atheism! The issue I have is when you use your beliefs to run down my beliefs. That’s the whole reason I got into this in the first place.

            • Kodie

              The thing is, vegetarians are routinely mocked for their abstinence for meat, which are (I’m assuming), largely out of concern for animal welfare, and other concerns, like the environment, and making sure others in the world have enough to eat. Often enough, these intentions seem to go along together. 100% mindful, maybe not a whole 100, but they seem to think they make their choices from a caring place, not a superstitious, god-appeasing place (although the two are not mutually exclusive).

              On the other side, you get a group of people who want to be left alone with their superstition against eating meat once a week for about 2 months, which produces 1/7 the result, if any, most of whom are not mindful of any of the supposed side-effect benefits of abstaining from eating meat, and who probably more than make up for any of those benefits by eating as much meat they can the rest of the week. They might be helping a little, but not on purpose, and probably not very much altogether, and you think this second group deserves admiration and respect, and it’s not utterly ludicrous?

              I made a comment a few weeks ago comparing the average reception of a vegetarian compared to someone who keeps kosher or even someone on a restrictive diet like Atkins. Vegetarian do-gooding people who don’t follow the meat-eating regimented culture are mocked, while allowances are made for people abstaining from shellfish and cheeseburgers, or pasta and bread, nothing wrong with those latter two on my end, just that we’re not a culture who is known for making the unselfish choices, we’re supposed to hold superstitious reasons in high regard, but actually doing good in the world is not accommodated as fairly, not even nearly fairly.

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              “I guess I really just don’t understand the need to run down other people’s religions.”

              … maybe when religions stop trying to run down those who don’t hold the franky daft beliefs then you’ll understand. What I really don’t understand is how you can’t step back, read what you believe in and not think just how utterly ludicrous it really is.

              @Kodie

              Can’t say I’ve noticed that vegetarians are mocked for there eating habits. Maybe it’s a culture thing as here in the UK I’m not sure it’s even considered odd anymore.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Ditto on the vegetarians thing. I’ve not seen or heard any vegetarians being mocked or the like (I tried to date a vegetarian girl once and it was just really hard to find somewhere to take her to eat when we went out).

              I hope that one thing we can agree on is that I’ve at least thought about many of the issues you bring up. I don’t expect you to share my beliefs, as it’s clear that you don’t and have nothing but contempt for my entire belief system (but hopefully not for me as a person). In short, I understand your objections and have examined my beliefs; during the 10 years or so that I experimented with atheism as a belief system.

            • Jabster

              Yes I do have contempt for your beliefs and you just added another one, why on earth do think that atheism is a belief system. How can not beleiving in god(s) be in anyway classed as a system?

          • Kodie

            For what it’s worth, I’ll hazard a guess and say not eating meat on Friday, or everyone not eating meat on the same day may have been for the convenience of people cooking for a large group, no meat would be served that one day a week… I can’t even think of a situation like this, maybe a work or even slavery situation where food is provided in a common area (like our modern cafeterias, and probably even still, for that reason).

            People then do this superstitious thing with the taking it upon themselves to avoid eating meat the same day a week as everyone else, even when they were eating by themselves, and taking care not to eat meat between midnight and the next if it was technically Friday.

            Where something might have started out with good reason (feeding a lot of people at the same time) and conscience (this solidarity for starving people I can’t quite be sure even matters in the big picture – or exchanging a meal for charity which might), which might be all religion is any good for, has turned into something like not stepping on a crack or else your mother will die for most people who observe the practice.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Outside the bounds of religion, one could posit that giving up a meal for those who are hungry might make you more mindful of them on a regular basis. I know that after I finish my not eating on Good Friday, I constantly think about how terrible it must be to be that hungry on a regular basis. It’s a moral failure of mine that I often don’t do as much about it as I can or should.

            • Kodie

              It really does not seem that is the reason most people do it. It might be the real original reason, but not sure people are as mindful as they do it. The same way I think people might give up for Lent as a symbolic gesture to Jesus who gave his life for them (allegedly), rather than to pay it forward, so to speak. If people are so rigidly adhering to the no meat on Friday rule that they hurry and eat their meat before midnight, it’s not even symbolic anymore why they are passing up meat. They are eating it according to an arbitrary schedule, they are not even skipping their meal. That doesn’t preclude being mindful of those who suffer, either, but it does sort of put their own food in their mouth instead of someone else’s. It’s not the thought that counts. This is pure superstitious behavior now. I think it’s nice what you do, at least you put your mind where you think it should be, but is this your observation of most people who observe the same ritual? You are defending the ritual on an idealistic basis (and perhaps your personal standard, at least you seem to have good intentions attached to it), but I think most of us have observed it’s mostly otherwise. It’s just bad luck and god don’t like it if you eat meat on Friday.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              That’s true, and I wish that it wasn’t like that. To my mind, there are good, solid reasons for doing it, and wish that others, religious and otherwise, would join practice. As Brazil tells us, we’re all in this together.

            • Dechen Pema Khandro

              Okay, okay, so I have heard that people weren’t eating enough fish and the fish industry was suffering, so the fishing lobby petitioned the pope to institute meatless, hence fish-ful Fridays, which used to be all year long, not just during Lent.

        • MrPendent

          btw–Happy Easter!

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            I appreciate the good wishes. If there’s a holiday you celebrate around this time, please let me know so I can wish you the best. If not, then happy Friday!

      • Sunny Day

        “Not only will nothing bad happen, but keeping in mind the suffering while you forgo meat doesn’t feed or comfort anyone else.”

        It does feed the standard religious persecution complex though. Gee, look how oppressed I am, I almost ate meat.

        • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

          Not really sure about this “standard religious persecution complex”. I don’t feel particularly persecuted, and I’ve certainly never witnessed a Christian being persecuted in this country. I just give up my meat and Fridays (and all food today, which I’m not super-fond of) and become mindful of those who don’t have meat or food at all. I then try to help them as best I can, and that doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing to me.

    • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

      “If he’s not eating meat on Friday, he probably takes it pretty seriously”

      No, he doesn’t. It’s just a tradition that he follows because he grew up doing it, and he’d probably just feel guilty, hearing his aging Catholic grandmother in his head, being disappointed. All the while, most likely not even knowing why the hell he is doing it, or even cares to ask anyone. This is the point, and why I find it funny. This is a good example of why some consider many religious people to be “sheep”. They don’t know why they follow certain traditions, they just do. Sure, they probably have some vague idea of the symbolism behind it, but I can understand the symbolism of a story and perhaps strive to follow the good teachings of a literary work without doing silly things. Understanding, I will not have.

      • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

        I guess, then, that your friend’s mindset is one that I don’t really understand. I couldn’t do that kind of stuff without understanding and buying into the reasons that it’s done. I apologize for my misunderstanding of the situation.

        • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

          “I couldn’t do that kind of stuff without understanding and buying into the reasons that it’s done.”
          I totally agree! Observing the large part of my family and friends that are religious, as well as others, I would offer that this behavior is extremely common.

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            That’s true! :) But, like many other things, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right.

    • VidLord

      “The Catholic not eating meat on Friday is a symbolic gesture, in solidarity both with Jesus and all the suffering people throughout history and into the present day.”

      Wrong. The tradition came about to prop up the ailing fish industry in early England at the time. It was called ‘Fish Friday’s’ and people were forbidden to eat meat on this day which coincided with the religious holiday. Tradition can get a little cloudy after many, many years – and then you just follow blindly…kinda falls into that bucket – well everyone else is doing it….

  • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

    Damn, I killed the italics with my soapboxing! I definitely closed the tag; anyone know how to fix it?

    • vorjack

      Is that what you wanted?

      • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

        Thanks a million. On some of the typepad blogs I read, an unclosed italics will put everyone’s comments in italics. I just wanted to shut that down before it got out of hand. Thanks a million.

      • Daniel Florien

        Vorjack FTW!

  • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

    Daniel, it’s pretty obvious that you have an axe to grind, but does your implied conclusion ultimately prove? That Jesus didn’t die, because you are not satisfied by apologist’s answers to what exact day of the week Jesus died? I read in all four Gospel that Jesus died and rose on the third day following. Are you really so obtuse to toss every other detail away for the one that you find troubling? Are you suggesting that Jesus didn’t die as the authors claimed? Assuming that Jesus didn’t die on a Friday, would such an error by the Gospel authors readily provide reasonable doubt that these events didn’t happen as described when they each agree on how he died, who he died with, how he came to die and where he died?

    • Daniel Florien

      It just shows there’s a contradiction. Some folks refuse to admit there are contradictions and errors in the Bible, so really my only point is to say they’re wrong.

      • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

        Daniel, they may not be. Geisler seems to provide a plausible explanation for the difficulty:

        “Mark uses the Jewish timekeeping system and John uses the Roman

        “Roman time went from midnight to midnight. The Jewish 24 hour time period began in the evening at 6 pm and the morning of that day began at 6 am. Thus Mark is stating that Jesus was crucified at 9 am and John is stating that the trial was still on at 6 am. In John 19:16 we see that the soldiers took charge of Jesus, meaning that the crucifiction had not yet taken place. So the times are reasonable.”

        John 19:14 states per the NASB: Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”

        So what you may have dug up is an error by the English translators not accounting for what Geisler intimates above.

        • yahweh

          Brad, please reference the specific verse or verses in the bible that state that Mark used Jewish timekeeping and John used Roman timekeeping.
          Thank you.

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            yahweh, Brad didn’t say that this was the definitive answer, only that it was a plausible solution.

            • Steven Carr

              Is that using ‘plausible’ in the sense of ‘just made it up’?

              Or plausible in the sense that sundials measured time from midnight?

            • Jabster

              No Brad believes the Bible is true therefore any contridictions must be ‘cuse you’re not interpreting it right. I can perform just the same job with my “cats are actually alien spies from Mars” theory.

            • yahweh

              I’m glad the doctor didn’t have just a plausible solution when I had surgery. I prefer definitive answers thank you.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              As do I. Definitive answers ARE better. However, its a historical truism that the farther back in time you go, the fewer definitive answers there are. I have no information about Jewish and Roman time systems, and have no desire to find that information. The date of the crucifixion is not that important to me.
              I’m more inclined to believe that John and Mark had no idea what the other was writing. Neither knew the exact day of the crucifixion or its relationship to Passover. Theologically, they both related the crucifixion to the Passover, and set it somewhere nearby. They made different guesses, so we end up with two different dates.

            • Jabster

              “However, its a historical truism that the farther back in time you go, the fewer definitive answers there are.”

              Unless it’s in the Bible of course …

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I didn’t say that, you did. As a historical and scientific document (different than its moral import), the books of the Bible are no more or less reliable than any other document of their time.

            • Jabster

              Any other document of their time … are you sure?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I’m sorry, I don’t exactly understand what you’re asking there. Could you clarify, and then I’ll be glad to answer.

            • Revyloution

              ” the books of the Bible are no more or less reliable than any other document of their time. ”

              Are you saying that all the other religions that were documented in the same time period are just as likely to be real?

              The story of Mohammed talking to angels and flying up to heaven on winged donkeys is even more recent than the Jesus story. Is Mohammed’s story just as likely to be true as Jesus’s story?

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              See Revyloution’s reply …

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              From a strict historical standpoint, yes. Since I have other reasons for believing in Catholic Christianity, I’m more inclined to believe the stories of Jesus’ miracles. But, generally speaking, I would expect the historical aspects of the Quran to be as or more reliable than those in the Bible.

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              You can’t have it both ways … you state from a historical point that are likely to be equivalent in terms of accuracy and then go on to say but that doesn’t matter as I have other reasons for believing the Bible to be true. The bottom line is you treat them differently for no other reason than faith. I’m just glad we’ve sorted that out

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              The historicity of a particular miracle is not of any great importance to me. Mohammad could have flown to heaven on a winged donkey (although Muslim tradition holds that he also got there just fine on his own), moved a mountain, or turned Manishewitz into purest Guinness, while Jesus could have done nothing but wander and preach. That just doesn’t prove to me that Mohammad was a better moral teacher than Jesus. It doesn’t prove to me that Jesus was not important or that Christianity is a fraud.

              I look at the question like this: you ask me which is more likely to be true, the Bible or the Quran? To my mind, that question is very much like asking which is more true, Moby Dick or Huckleberry Finn? The question doesn’t really hinge on which is more historically accurate, but on which has a message you believe in more. And that’s really a matter of taste or, dare I say, faith.

            • Jabster

              So in a nutshell whether Jesus was divine or not has no bearing on the truth of Christianity … I’m sorry you’ve totally lost me there.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Christianity as a religion hinges completely on the divinity of Jesus (its value as a moral system will be disregarded here). From a historical, scientific standpoint, it is impossible, even in theory, to prove or disprove the divinity of Jesus (or anyone else, for that matter). Science and history, as disciplines, have nothing positive or negative to say about the whole concept of divinity. From my point of view on history and Godhood, asking a text, experiment, or study to even address this subject is literally nonsense.

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              So we’re back to utter blind faith then?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I don’t see any other way. If there is such a thing as the supernatural, science by definition is unable to study it. That’s what supernatural means. You and I just interpret that fact differently. You see no reason to believe, and I see no reason not to believe. You and I both have what we see as logical reasons for believing as we do, but these are mostly mental constructs that we’ve devised to prop up our predilictions.

            • Jabster

              Don’t try and play the “belief and non-belief” are equally valid. Your belief (as you’ve already admitted) relies on pure and utter blind faith not logical reasons.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              When one is trying to formulate a logical argument about the existence or non-existence of anything, there is a fundamental decision that has to be made one way or the other: If I can’t prove its existence, does that mean that it doesn’t exist? If you have a solid answer to this question, I’ll certainly ponder it. I’ve thought about that question a lot, and have decided that a person’s answer is mostly determined by personal preference.

              I choose to believe that things exist which cannot be studied by science, and you choose not to. Since I believe a lot of abstract qualities are real (such as love, loyalty, and human thought), I choose to believe that it is possible for a thing to exist that can’t be studied by science. So, the fact that there is not scientific evidence for God doesn’t really bother me much.

            • Jabster

              “If I can’t prove its existence, does that mean that it doesn’t exist? If you have a solid answer to this question, I’ll certainly ponder it. I’ve thought about that question a lot, and have decided that a person’s answer is mostly determined by personal preference.”

              If there is no evidence or reason for something being true then the default position is to believe that it doesn’t exist. You seem to think this is no barrier i.e. believing in any old made up old shit is ok in your book. Is that really what you think … no of course not, so ponder why you believe in the Christian god.

            • Revyloution

              TomL, of all things, I appreciate your honesty in admitting that there is no scientific way of proving the divinity of Christ. It’s rare to meet a true believer who admits that their religion is based on faith alone. That alone was refreshing in reading this conversation.

              Have a great Easter.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Of course not; how am I going to believe that something is true if I know that I just made it up? That doesn’t even make any sense, and I’m vaguely insulted that you would even ask that.

              The logical reason I believe in Catholicism stems around early Christian persecution. Many of the early Christians were persecuted under the Roman Empire, and were killed for their beliefs (practicing Christianity was considered atheism, a punishable offense in Rome). These people based their faith on things they had seen, and still went to their deaths for their belief. If it had just been “some shit they made up”, it seems logical to me that they would have brought up this fact and not been killed as heinously, or have had to keep their beliefs secret. There sure as hell wasn’t any advantage to being a Christian in the early days. So, I’m inclined to believe that there was something to that belief, since I don’t know of another religion where people were killed for believing in things that they claimed to have seen with their own eyes and still not recanted.

              Now, I understand that this does not, in any real way, constitute “evidence”, which is not identical to “reasons for belief”. But this is how I explain my belief to others, and I’ll explain it that way here. Jokingly, I’ll often tell people that I’m Catholic because such a horribly mis-managed organization could not possibly have survived without supernatural help. We’ve had some rough times, but somehow still not completely collapsed.

            • Jabster

              Oh so you believe in some shit that other people made up?

              p.s. The argument people won’t die for something that isn’t true is a) rubbish, b) old, c) rubbish, d) not logical and e) rubbish.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Calling something rubbish (three times), old, or not logical doesn’t really make it any of those things. Do you have a better refutation than that?

            • Elemenope

              The better refutation are the many historical examples of people dying for things that are ridiculous, from the Jonestown kool-aid aficionados all the way to US Confederates dying for the sovereign right to enslave other human beings. The notion that a person is willing to lay down their lives bears very little, if *any*, correlation to the probably worth or truth of the idea which motivates the sacrifice.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              But those are people who die for something that they believe to be true, not something they purport to have witnessed with their own eyes. If someone is willing to die rather than say I killed Mr. Boddy, that to me is a pretty sound reason for others to believe that I did. If someone dies because they refuse to renounce their belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, despite having never seen him, that doesn’t prove anything except that person A has a very strong belief in the FSM (may his noodly appendages never sag!).

            • Sunny Day

              “The logical reason I believe in Catholicism stems around early Christian persecution. ”

              Christian persecution complex for the win. – Fail!

            • Jabster

              I called it rubbish three times because that’s what it is as an argument. You believe it’s a good argument soley because it supports your case. You would just as willing call this a rubbish if it didn’t support you argument. That’s the problem you have, you’ve decided what the truth is and then hunt around for “evidence” to support it.

              Did I tell you about my cats be alien spies for Mars and the evidence I have for why that’s true …

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              All you’ve done is assert again that it’s rubbish and attacked my reasons for using it. I don’t expect you to believe it (you DID ask why I believe), but you still haven’t explained what’s wrong with it.

            • Roger

              TomL, you say you believe in Christianity because people died for it/because of their belief in that? That doesn’t make sense. The people who died as a result of persecution also hadn’t seen Jesus/walked with him. Even if you’re saying that you’re a Christian because the disciples were persecuted, their deaths aren’t in any way proof of Jesus’ divinity and/or the correctness of their belief system. That to me seems to be an extraordinarily weak nail upon which to hang your belief.

            • trj

              TomL, do you have any sources at all supporting your claim that early Christian martyrs experienced Jesus or any divine miracles first-hand? Or are you just presuming it must be so?

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              I’d have thought the reason what so bleeding obvious that I didn’t need to spell it out.

              @trj

              Apparently the Bible is just as accurate as any other text of that age but it’s also different as Tom somehow knows it’s true so in fact it is accurate. Don’t ask me for the logic behind this as I’m not the one who made it up!

            • Kodie

              I have an idea, let’s pretend divinity can be proven and has been proven. However, we’ll exchange this truth for Jesus also being a total dickwad. So, he’s the son of god, but it turns out god is a turd, and his son is a dickwad. You have no choice but to believe it’s true, because we’ve all seen the proof. Do you celebrate Easter or what now?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              @kodie,
              Interesting question. I suppose it depends on how adamant God was about me celebrating Easter. If divinity and the existence of an omnipotent God could be proven, the prudent thing to do would be to do whatever he said, since he could easily destroy me if he set his mind to it. I’d celebrate, but I wouldn’t like it. I’ve never really understood the whole fear of God mindset.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              “I’d celebrate, but I wouldn’t like it.”
              But what if He said “Celebrating it is not enough, you also have to like it.”?

          • Jabster

            You’re wasting your time. Brad has started from the position that the Bible is true therefore any apparent contradictions are not contradictions at all and can be explained away be “interpreting” the Bible correctly. You only have to look where Brad did his copy and paste job from to see that.

            • yahweh

              Jabs – I haven’t posted in a while. I almost forgot how much fun it is to rile up the faithful, especially at this “special” time of the year.

            • Jabster

              In all honesty I think some of the godbots who post here enjoy it so they can tell tales of how they were persecuted by the nasty non-believers.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Hope you’re not lumping me in there. I just enjoy a good discussion, and am hoping to help undermine that very stereotype.

        • Sunny Day

          Gee thanks Brad. I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to step forward and provide a great demonstration of exactly what Daniel said.

          “Fundamentalist scholars are usually apologists — they’re just defending what they want to be true. They are not willing to consider that this, for instance, is a real contradiction. They explain it away with theological smoke and mirrors.”

    • yahweh

      Brad, after checking out your blog, it is obvious that you have an axe to grind with athiests. A lot of “athiests don’t have the answer” nonsense. Well my friend, neither do you. You have a belief. A belief athiests do not share. Get over it.
      Daniel is pointing out obvious contradictions. Speaking of contradictions, and keeping with the easter season, I’d like you or any thiest to adequately answer the following simple questions using the 4 gospel versions of jesus’ resurrection:
      Who or what was at the tomb when Mary & Mary found the body missing?
      The who or what above, where they, him or it inside or outside the tomb?
      How did the stone roll away from the tomb?
      Happy Buuny Day.

      • Jabster

        “Brad, after checking out your blog, it is obvious that you have an axe to grind with athiests.”

        LOL … that exactly what I thought was funny. He’s accusing Daniel of having an axe to grind when he has a category on his blog called Unsatisfying Atheism.

        • yahweh

          Someone who is an athiest must have hurt him.
          Oh wait, that is what I hear from christians when they try to answer in their befuddled brains why someone could leave christianity.

          • Jabster

            How I love being told that on the grounds that I’ve never been a Christian … then again if you’re now a non-believer then you obvioulsy never truely knew JC.

            • yahweh

              I’ve heard that waaaaaaaaay too many times. Makes me want to punch the arrogant prick(s) right in the nose. But I never do.

      • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

        “Daniel is pointing out obvious contradictions.”

        Not in this case. A proper understanding of the period would indeed allow for the fact that Jews used two different time keeping methods in the first century. But by all means, rant and rave against the text because THEY didn’t perceive time in the same way we do.

        • Daniel Florien

          It doesn’t answer anything about the before/after the preparation of the feast problem.

          • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

            As I understand it, The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) is seven days long with multiple meals, days of significance and preparations.

            • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

              Daniel, it is also it’s worth considering the following between both books:

              John 19:31 – Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

              Mark 15:42 – It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached…

            • Sunny Day

              Gee thanks Brad. I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to step forward and provide a great demonstration of exactly what Daniel said.

              “Fundamentalist scholars are usually apologists — they’re just defending what they want to be true. They are not willing to consider that this, for instance, is a real contradiction. They explain it away with theological smoke and mirrors.”

            • Daniel Florien

              Yikes, what is that, the NIV? You need to look at more literal translations for the kind of stuff we’re talking about. Of course the Greek would be best but koine Greek isn’t my specialty…

              What I mean is, you’re looking at a version that’s dumbed down and smoothes over these kinds of issues.

            • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

              (Insert eye roll) Great, now you’re the one taking issue with the translation. What translation did you originally quote from again? Very well, let’s examine the ESV and NASB, the two most read and respected translations by biblical scholars:

              Here’s the ESV:

              Mark 15:42 – And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath….

              John 19:31 – Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

              NASB:

              Mark 15:42 When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath…

              John 19:31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

              Daniel, I hope by now you can see the obvious implications here and how these verses greatly damage the heart of your original assertion.

            • Baconsbud

              Brad just one question. Why do you use these versions instead of the KJV?

            • Daniel Florien

              Guess you’ll have to spell it out. Seems to me to just mix up the chronology more. And I used NRSV, though any literal one is probably okay for our purposes here.

            • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

              “Guess you’ll have to spell it out.”

              Both authors identified the same day of the week…Friday. And your assumptions dismiss the fact that Passover is a week long feast with multiple feast days. But most significant, is that both Mark and John identify the same day of preparation before the Sabbath. This suggests that your assumption that John is speaking about preparation for a different event on a different day than Mark is is unreasonable given the consistency of the language above – between the two books you’ve identified and even within the same passages you made all the fuss over.

    • http://www.ethicalfocus.org/platform/49-ethics/99-free-will-the-last-great-lie VeridicusX

      Brad, you do realize that in every civilised democracy these stories about a magic man would be inadmissible in any court of law?

      Anonymous hearsay with obviously fantastic, made up and plagiarised elements do not constitute valid evidence that allows for any conclusions “beyond reasonable doubt”.

      Assuming that Jesus didn’t die on a Friday, would such an error by the Gospel authors readily provide reasonable doubt that these events didn’t happen as described when they each agree on how he died, who he died with, how he came to die and where he died?

      It is certain beyond a shadow of any reasonable doubt that the Jesus of the anonymous hearsay Gospels did not live and die outside of anyone’s imagination.

      If you mean, did one or more real persons die in the way described then the answer is probably yes. It is understood that lots of people were crucified by the Romans. How any of these real people might relate to the fictional Bible Jesus is unknown.

  • http://NoGuyintheSky.com No Guy in the Sky

    Bart Erhman is not your usual biblical scholar. He is an agnostic and leans towards atheism.(He said so in the problems with god)

    My issue is this. Jesus never existed. He is completely made up. If ever there was a man named Jesus. None of the biblical story could ever resemble that mans life. Jesus is Horus/Innana/ Dionysus and a dozen other gods plagiarized stories. The bible is so unoriginal, that if heirs of other myths could be determined. They would win a battle in court over the stolen fables.

    The real bullshit is we have to suffer hearing how this completely fabricated person saved all of us by dying, oh I mean not dying.

    Because a bunch of idiots think a God actually dies when nailed to a cross. Like an omnipotent being could die from a nail or two. So Jesus takes a three day nap hanging around on a cross, with his godly aura warding off vultures and rats. Then wakes and either walks about, disapears, or is off in other towns. Angels there, no angels, some peeps there, just Mary. What is it?

    F ing Christians cant even get anything straight.

    But Hey! Happer Easter!

    • Kodie

      I was just talking to a friend of mine about the validity or not of later religions conveniently clutching onto pagan celebrations, which at least as far as I’m concerned, make sense with respect to the calendar and seasons. It makes sense to make celebrations that the days are longer, the growing season is here, or just to get out of the house in the winter when you would rather stay in. Nah, I don’t wanna come. Oh, party pooper, there’s gonna be a goat on fire and everything, we’ll sing songs, it’ll be awesome! Appeasing gods or goddesses is kind of a little crazy, but they didn’t know any better, and it was still probably a fun time. We should admire a little more their early attention to science like keeping track of how much sunlight we have and how long it takes to have exactly that much sunlight again.

      The way it is set now is arbitrary dates to celebrate people who never existed because no reason. It’s spring, that should be good enough to put people in a good mood and party outdoors and arrange get-togethers and eat some animal or other, but Hallmark isn’t the one who started inventing holidays.

      • http://NoGuyintheSky.com No Guy in the Sky

        I am all for celebrating and eating critters. If the religious right just were Christians to have Easter dinner and or Christmas dinner. Leaving the beliebing to the village idiots. They would be a lot easier to tolerate. Instead they are the village of idiots.

  • Steven Carr

    Paul puts the crucifixion of Jesus in persepective.

    Basically, Jesus had it coming to him, and was punished by God’s agents – the ones who hold no terror for those who do right.

    Romans 13

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

    Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

    For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

    Did Paul actually know who had crucified Jesus?

  • Steven Carr

    GEISLER
    “Roman time went from midnight to midnight

    CARR
    No it didn’t. The day started at midnight, but the daylight was divided into 12 hours, and the night into 3 or 4 watches.

    This is the system all 4 Gospels use.

    Hence the last hour being the eleventh hour.

    John 11:9
    Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?

    And Norman Geisler spoke, and there were not twelve hours of daylight, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  • Steven Carr

    What Jewish timekeeping system? I thought they were under Roman control.

    And the Romans, being one of those clever people who preferred to use sundials after the sun had come up, measured hours from dawn to dusk.

    • 4ndyman

      “What Jewish timekeeping system? I thought they were under Roman control.”

      What a ridiculous argument! Even if they were physically under the Romans’ control, the Romans couldn’t control them intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, ethnically, etc. You might as well say that, until Constantine converted, there were no Christians in the Roman Empire!

      There are American Muslims who use the Muslim calendar. Passover, Good Friday, et al. are keyed of the old Jewish calendar — even in America! American scientists often use metric measurements.

  • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

    “…he has a category on his blog called Unsatisfying Atheism.”

    Indeed I do. “The axe to grind comment” was just reminding the “good folks” here of Daniel’s obvious bias against Christianity while I make no attempt to hide mine distain for rationale behind Atheism…nor obviously, do you hide yours of mine Jabster.

    • yahweh

      Daniel has an obvious bias against christianity??? I am shocked and appalled.
      It is a sad day when I go to an athiest blog and I find a bias against christianity! Never saw that coming.

    • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

      Let me try that again…

      “..while I make no attempt to hide my disdain for the rationale behind Atheism.”

      • Jabster

        With your intellectual credentials I would be worried if you didn’t show disdain for non-believers.

    • Kodie

      You don’t hide it, but you are witless. You have one axe to grind and that is first cause. You can’t wrap your head around it even after it’s been explained to you because you want to believe in god. Because you want to believe in god, you trot out this nonsense of people not coordinating times of day. Why would anyone keep track of what time it was if not to have some agreement what time of day it was with each other? Source of confusion #1 – two different people disagree HOW to tell time.

      How do you expect anyone to believe they knew what they were talking about if they couldn’t even agree how to tell each other what time it was “when” “it” “happened”? If that’s plausible to you, then you will eat anything to support the existence of your god. So that all makes sense to you, but the universe being created by something other than god doesn’t? If that’s not the portrait of cognitive dissonance, I don’t know what is. You really only have one axe, one note. You don’t try to hide it, but so what? Why would anyone listen to you unless they’re full of baloney as well?

      • yahweh

        Kodie, you are overrating the importance of timekeeping ;-)
        I will call you tonight around 9:30 Irish time. See, no confusion there. Talk to you then.

      • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

        “Because you want to believe in god, you trot out this nonsense of people not coordinating times of day.”

        LOL. My belief in Jesus Christ doesn’t hinge on whether or not the authors were confused on this relatively small detail.

        As for the actual problem, like others here, you’re just arguing with yourself. That Jewish and Roman perceptions of time don’t congrue perfectly with our own isn’t reason alone to toss out Geisler’s explanation, all while you don’t even consider how the authors may have prefered one method over the other given the audiences that they were writing to…

        • Jabster

          “LOL. My belief in Jesus Christ doesn’t hinge on whether or not the authors were confused on this relatively small detail.”

          No it’s based on utter blind faith …

        • yahweh

          “given the audiences that they were writing to”

          That audience being ancient, superstitous goatherders and farmers who had a limited knowledge as to how the world works and would believe any line of crap they were given to explain things.

  • 4ndyman

    There has been some debate recently on whether Neil Armstrong said “One small step for man” or “One small step for a man.” The fact that not all researchers and historians can agree on this does not mean that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon. The fact that there MAY be variations in some of the smaller details between accounts written by two different men in two different times who likely weren’t even there to witness it doesn’t mean that their story is a complete hoax.

    I’m an atheist. And it pisses me off when other atheists use weak, illogical arguments to defend their (non)beliefs, especially when they are simultaneously complaining about the weak, illogical arguments of Christians. You’re not helping.

    • Elemenope

      There has been some debate recently on whether Neil Armstrong said “One small step for man” or “One small step for a man.” The fact that not all researchers and historians can agree on this does not mean that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon.

      While that’s a great point, I have yet to see someone actually make the argument that because the Bible disagrees on the date of the crucifixion, therefore Jesus wasn’t God or didn’t exist or Christianity is false or anything else of that nature. The point is merely that irreconcilable contradictions bring a challenge to the notion that scripture can be taken as plain-text historical truth, and so any faith that bases their beliefs on the scripture being plain-text historical truth is in some trouble. Not all Christians do.

    • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

      Weak and illogical?
      If I were to base my life on the doctrine of a religion that basically hinges on a specific event, I would check into my sources. If you can’t trust your sources, what can you trust? Or… what do you… believe?? To look over inconsistencies is intellectually lazy, unproductive, and potentially harmful, especially when the myth controls millions of people.

      • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

        Those that hang their faith on a historical event do so on the belief that the event:
        a. happened
        b. means what they think it does

        Neither of those are really affected by the discrepency (we have two independent, non-Christian contemporary sources asserting that Jesus lived and was crucified). The second is a matter of preference and judgement, but neither are really called into question by the date problem.

        • Elemenope

          Well, part of the issue here is that the date change does significantly change the symbolic meaning of the events being described. If he’s a guy being killed, sure it’s a powerful image, but one that wouldn’t have been remarkably out-of-place at the time and really not that noteworthy; yet another apocalyptic preacher got himself in trouble with the law. If, on the other hand, Jesus is the passover-lamb-version 2.0, that’s a direct attempt to resonate with Jewish tradition and make a religious claim about the importance of the event.

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            I’m not sure that the change in date really does affect the fundamental story. Jesus as Passover Lamb 2.0 (I love that BTW, might name a band that) is a more EMPHATIC version of the story, but they’re still both fundamentally the same. If you believe in Jesus, as the early Christians did, his death takes on more resonance than Random Itinerant Preacher #37. I’m inclined to believe the after-Passover version, because I see more reason to add that theological resonance than to take it away.

        • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

          Those that hang their faith on a historical event do so on the belief that the event:
          a. happened
          b. means what they think it does

          Neither of those are really affected by the discrepency

          They are if you remember that many other myths are based on a significant figure being crucified and then rising from the dead. The possibility of plagiarism increases the need for authentication of important details if I’m going to subscribe to something.

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            And that’s as it should be. I’m not attempting to convert anyone to my faith; just maybe change a few anti-Christian minds re: the idea that we’re all Bible-thumping, literalist idiots.

        • Mike

          Please reference these sources. Thanks

          • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

            Josephus and Tacitus both attest to at least the existence of Christ and his life in the broadest possible strokes (i.e. he lived and was crucified under the Romans).

            • Daniel Florien

              OMG not the Josephus and Tacitus arguments. Do you think people not even born when Jesus died are good evidence?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              In a world where few historical records were even created, let alone preserved for us, they’re as good as we’re going to get. At least they tell us that people of the time believed that he existed. 70 years from made-up man to widely-believed in historical figure is a pretty fast turnaround to my mind. It just doesn’t seem plausible to me.

            • Jabster

              Whereas Jesus was divine is plausible in your mind?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              It seems to me that one has to come in with a pretty strong bias against even the existence of a man called Jesus from Nazareth to decide that those sources are without value. If he was a religiously-neutral figure, I have a feeling that that evidence would convince you.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              As I’ve said repeatedly, Jesus’ divinity is not a matter that science or history can even discuss fruitfully. My reasons for believing Jesus to be divine are my own, and are not contingent upon any historical document. My impression is that we were discussing the historical evidence.

            • Daniel Florien

              I’d continue arguing, but I see Tom as myself 10 years ago, and I know that would be fruitless.

            • Jabster

              It’s nothing to do with bias whether I believe Jesus was divine or not … you believe Jesus was divine out of blind faith, pure and simple. Can you not see how that is different from not beleiving Jesus was divine?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I didn’t know you 10 years ago. Can you elaborate?
              Jabster, I’m not saying that you’re foolish for not believing Jesus was divine. What I was attempting to say is that if we have two sources from the 1st century AD (or early in the 2nd) saying that a person existed, you would have little difficulty believing that that person actually existed. Somehow, when it’s Jesus, even the existence of that person becomes a matter of contention. That seems like a double standard to me.

            • Daniel Florien

              I was an evangelical xian and would use the same arguments you are using. I defended my faith. But that was the problem. Faith shouldn’t need to be defended; it’s faith. If you have good evidence, then it’s fact. I thought there were facts (which of course always come taught afterwards to arm the believers with something resembling rationality), but mostly it is just faith. The facts are “well maybe somebody named Jesus existed.” I agree with that, someone probably did. But the “he was god, born of a virgin, raised people from the dead” part? That’s faith. No evidence at all. But yet you still see it as fact and try to convince others.

              My point is, it was fruitless to argue with me when I thought like that, especially if I knew the person was an atheist b/c i would not have respected them. It takes a slow, chipping away from people you respect. At least in my case.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I’m sorry that I represented myself wrongly. I wasn’t trying to paint my faith as something rational; if it was, it wouldn’t be faith. I don’t need faith to tell me the Earth orbits around the sun. All I was trying to do is prevent my faith from being painted as something utterly ludicrous. I’ve, at various times, been an atheist, it wasn’t for me. I just tend to think that sites dealing with religious issues (no matter the perspective they take), need some kind of dialog to at least foster some personal respect. I’m trying to relieve some stereotypes.

              Sorry if it seemed like I made the claim that Tacitus and Josephus “prove” Christianity (if such a thing were even possible). My point is that they convince me that Jesus was a historical person who existed and did something (even if we can’t agree what that something was).

            • Jabster

              Yes are are trying to paint your faith as something rationale …

              “You and I both have what we see as logical reasons for believing as we do, but these are mostly mental constructs that we’ve devised to prop up our predilictions.”

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I think that that’s the opposite of trying to paint it as truly rational. Before we even decide what the rules of rationality are, we have to decide whether to include or exclude things that are not provable. The choice is made at a level completely outside the purview of rational thought. In a real sense (which is extremely important to this discussion), every belief system, be it Christianity, atheism, Buddhism, FSM-ism, is irrational for that very reason.

            • Kodie

              You are maybe not able to prove Christianity is a “rational” thing, you are just trying to separate what you believe, why you believe it, and how you go about practicing it as “not entirely ludicrous.” That’s sort of… impossible.

              How is atheism irrational, and how do you consider it a “belief system”?

            • Jabster

              So logical reasons is the same as not rationale then? Remind me not to buy a dictionary from the same place you got yours.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Jabster I think you misunderstood my statement by misplacing emphasis. The emphasis should be:
              You and I both have what we see as logical reasons for believing as we do, but these are mostly mental constructs that we’ve devised to prop up our predilictions.
              The whole point of the statement was that, although we see them that way, our “logical reasons” are nothing of the sort, because they rely on a pre-rational assumption which is the entire cause of the difference of opinion.

              Atheism is irrational (as are all religions, as I said) because it is based on the idea that God demonstrably does not exist. It’s logically impossible to prove that something does not exist. Thus, atheism is irrational. That doesn’t mean that it’s not true or is somehow bad, only that it’s irrational.

            • Jabster

              “Atheism is irrational (as are all religions, as I said) because it is based on the idea that God demonstrably does not exist. It’s logically impossible to prove that something does not exist. Thus, atheism is irrational.”

              No it’s not …what you’ve just said is that everything is irrational. Do you believe it’s irrational to not believe that my cat is a alien spy from Mars or does this only apply when it comes to god(s). You don’t do you, but from your logic it is. Stop trying to equate your blind faith in the existence of good with others who don’t share your belief. That are not the same …

            • Jabster

              It’s not a double standard at all … on one hand you’re talking about the existence of a divine being. Can you not even see how different that is?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I’m not saying J&T prove the existence of a divine being. They simply prove the existence of a person. Whether he was divine or not is not and cannot be a matter of historical record.

            • Alexis

              J & T’s comments re:jesus have long been viewed by most biblical scholars as later interpolations. The earliest copies do not have these entries, they disturb the flow of the narrative, they differ stylistically from the rest of the author’s text. They were apparently inserted later by apologists who wanted to use them to argue their point.

            • Jabster

              “Whether he was divine or not is not and cannot be a matter of historical record.”

              Whether he performed miracles, which would have been evidence for his divine nature, could be part of the historical record. That fact that it is not suggests that Jesus (who ever the myth is based on) was not divine or do you think that’s just a personal preference also?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I would argue that Jesus’ miracle working is as much a part of the historical record as most anything else in ancient times. We have sources claiming it (to be conservative about it, we have three: John, the Synoptics, and Paul), and no truly compelling reason not to believe it (other than a predisposition against miracles). My faith tells me to believe it, and the historical evidence doesn’t disprove it, so I view that as solid enough for my purposes. Of course, YMMV.

              And it is not accepted scholarly opinion that ALL the references to Jesus were added later. The sections where Josephus is alleged to have said that Jesus performed miracles and was the Messiah are clearly later interpolations, but the issue of whether the whole passage is a forgery certainly hasn’t attained anything approaching consensus.

            • Elemenope

              We have sources claiming it (to be conservative about it, we have three: John, the Synoptics, and Paul), and no truly compelling reason not to believe it (other than a predisposition against miracles).

              A predisposition against miracles? I suppose so, but I tend to look at it merely as a special affection for the rules of physics that I’ve observed reliably functioning ever since I drew my first breath.

            • Kodie

              I would argue that Jesus’ miracle working is as much a part of the historical record as most anything else in ancient times. We have sources claiming it (to be conservative about it, we have three: John, the Synoptics, and Paul), and no truly compelling reason not to believe it (other than a predisposition against miracles). My faith tells me to believe it, and the historical evidence doesn’t disprove it, so I view that as solid enough for my purposes.

              I’m curious when you said earlier that you used to be an atheist, but “it wasn’t for” you.

              I read The Velveteen Rabbit and at the end, he turns into a real rabbit and hops away! I have no predisposition against miracles, my faith compels me to believe stuffed animals can become real animals, and the historic evidence doesn’t disprove it. No truly compelling reason not to believe it, and that’s solid enough for my purposes.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Now you’re just intentionally misunderstanding my point. Disagree if you want, but there’s no reason to believe that the Velveteen Rabbit is supposed to portray any event with even a shred of truth to it. That’s just foolish, and arguing in very poor faith. I believe they call that a Straw Man Argument.

            • Kodie

              Are you attacking my beliefs? I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing and hoping that story was true, and I still have my stuffed animals because if I throw them out, they’ll be pissed at me because I don’t love them anymore and don’t believe they’re real. I mean, you can say it sounds silly, but you sound a little more predisposed to be against miracles occurring than you think you are.

            • Jabster

              @TomL

              Kodie’s point is entirely correct … you make the assumption that miracles can happen but only when they’re the miracles that your have faith happens to believe in.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              By all means, believe what you want. Your belief just seems a little too close to a stereotyped version of mine for my own comfort.

            • Kodie

              Your version is a stereotyped version of itself, which is the point.

            • Elemenope

              To add to what Kodie is saying, when I was growing up I had a Paddington bear, which I had great affection for, and I still have the damn thing kicking around somewhere because I could never bear to dispose of it, despite knowing intellectually that it is just a fluffy carpet bag stuffed with cotton.

              The occurrent beliefs that motivate us may be rooted directly against what we know intellectually to be true and still affect our behavior. Humans have a natural tendency to construct inner lives for inanimate objects and anthropomorphize them and act as if those confabulations have some correspondence with reality.

              Intellect is in part the ability to discriminate accurate perceptions of reality from these wishful confabulations and (at least when serious issues are on the line), act according to the first and eschew the influence of the second. We all know, however, that we have a capacity to turn off this capacity (sometimes unwillingly) when something has great emotional resonance. Miracles, and the belief in them, are merely a manifestation of this capacity; wish-fulfillment and magical thinking.

            • Daniel Florien

              El you are so wrong. It’s NOT just a stuffed bear. It is SO MUCH MORE. Embrace the truth in faith with love in grace!

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              Kodie,
              What in the hell would “a stereotyped version of itself” even mean?

  • Steven Carr

    ‘The fact that there MAY be variations in some of the smaller details between accounts written by two different men in two different times who likely weren’t even there to witness it doesn’t mean that their story is a complete hoax.’

    MARK 14
    Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58″We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ ” 59Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

    Strange.

    The Bible claims that if people agree on the main point, but differ on the details,then they are obvious liars.

    • 4ndyman

      You’ve got this backward. Your Bible verse supports my side of the argument. It says people stood up and “gave false testimony,” i.e., they LIED when they said “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.”

      This doesn’t say that because they differed on the details they were liars. It says because they were liars, they differed on the details.

      • Kodie

        Your argument is supported by a bible verse? The bible is only a legitimate source of toilet paper.

    • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

      I also do think that there’s a profound difference between telling a story about something you saw last week and an event that happened weeks in the past. I couldn’t tell you what date I proposed to my ex-wife, and that was only 6 years ago. I agree that there is a contradiction, I just disagree about how significant it is.

      • Jabster

        So you agree that the Bible is unreliable as a source of information then?

        • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

          I said it earlier in a reply to a previous comment, as a source of historical and scientific information (as separate from moral content), I don’t see the Bible as having a privileged place amongst ancient literature. It is neither more nor less reliable than other sources. If the Bible says that something happened, I’m inclined to believe it in the absence of other evidence (as I would any other ancient historical work). If there is strong evidence that what is said did NOT happen, I disbelieve the historicity of the event. I still look for moral or theological relevance, but the historical accounts could well be inaccurate.

          • Jabster

            So basically you believe the Bible is true unless it can be proved otherwise. Have you read the Iliad and do you apply the same rules it?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              In some sense, I have. The important distinction that I make is between the real reason the Bible was written and the purposes we try to hang on it. Most of the books of the Bible (remember that they were not written at the same time or for the same purpose) were not written to put forth what we would refer to as history. Genesis, Jonah, Job, and the Gospels were not written with the intent of conveying historical information (Kings, Chronicles and Macabbees are a different story all together). They were written to convey information about God. I attempt to take from them what they were meant to convey.

              In the same way, I don’t believe that Homer was intending to tell us a history of the Trojan war in the Illiad. His concern is not with whether or not the Gods exist or were involved in the war, he is concerned with heroism and how a hero should act. Much as it’s fruitless to accuse Homer of having a poor grasp of military tactics, it’s fruitless to accuse the Biblical writers of being poor historians. It may or may not be true, but it is not of any real relevance.

            • yahweh

              “Genesis, Jonah, Job, and the Gospels were not written with the intent of conveying historical information”

              Tom, you haven’t been exposed to fundamentalists have you? According to fundies and creationists, Genesis is not only an accurate history book, it is also a science book.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              I was married for four years to a fundamentalist. I know them pretty well. Trust me, you’re never going to get me to admit that my ex-wife was right about anything. In response to that argument, I would simply posit that the fundamentalist viewpoint on this issue is wrong. They can assert all they want that the Bible is and was intended to be literal history, but that doesn’t make them any less wrong.

            • JohnMWhite

              Yet if the gospels are not a history, how can you know ANYTHING they attribute to Jesus is valid or accurate? If they can’t agree on something as fundamental as the day of his sacrifice to save everybody (and other features, including as his lineage and details of his birth), why should it mean anything when these books say he said “blessed are the peacemakers”, “love one another” or anything else they claim about him?

            • Jabster

              “It may or may not be true, but it is not of any real relevance.”

              If the Bible is fundementally wrong about the life of Jesus then I think you’ll find that yes it is important.

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              That’s only true if you believe (which I don’t) that the life of Jesus is more important than the message of Jesus. I have other reasons for believing at least the broad strokes of the Gospels stories about Jesus, but they have value independent of that through the moral instruction. And I believe that that was their real intent from the beginning.

            • Jabster

              So whether god actually exists has no bearing on Christianity then?

            • https://www.coal-rpg.com TomL

              See my reply above.

  • John

    Love ya, bro. But you do know that the Roman and Jewish means of reckoning time was slightly different, right? John’s gospel actually just says “about the sixth hour.” In Roman reasoning, which was the audience John was writing to, that would place the crucifixion at around 9 a.m. (just like Mark’s says). It’s only if someone takes John as using Jewish reckoning that it comes out as noon. Seems unlikely that he would have written to mostly Roman converts with Jewish times, though.

  • http://www.soulcrushed.com Brad

    “With your intellectual credentials I would be worried if you didn’t show disdain for non-believers.”

    What does your disdain for me suggest then?

    • Jabster

      It suggests that you’re pulling stuff out of your arse to try and justify your faith … what did you think it suggests?

      • yahweh

        It might also suggest an inability to properly reply to a specific post.

  • Alexis

    I’ve seen many arguments over the date of jesus’ birth, both the year and the season, but not about the year of his crucifixion. How did they come up with 33? I don’t see anything in the bible that would tell me that.

    • http://thismaladie.blogspot.com Fool

      I saw (rather heard) a programme on tv today, where they explained that the exact date could be calculated based upon a quote from the Bible saying that the moon turned red upon the death Christi, and that the phenomenon fell on the pesach in the year 33.

  • billybee

    All this confusion over who is or isn’t a “True Christian” is easily explained: Jesus Christ is a product of fiction, and the competing versions of Jesus that comprise the New Testament are a hodge-podge of earlier god-man myths that were spliced onto a “new & improved” mythology that survives and continues to evolve before our very eyes.

    • http://thismaladie.blogspot.com Fool

      Evolves? Where does it evolve? Into what?

      • JohnMWhite

        Into all sorts of things. There were a few competing ideas of the concept of Jesus back then, and now we have Jesus the warrior for our spiritual warrior types, Jesus the hippie for our liberal types, Jesus the wingman for our “personal relationship > organised religion” types, etc.

        • http://thismaladie.blogspot.com Fool

          These aren’t new concepts, they were already used in the past; not that they would ever come to dissolving the self-contradictions their religion is based upon.

          • JohnMWhite

            Yes, what’s your point? That the Jesus idea doesn’t change and evolve because it’s based on past ideas? The concept is shaped by the values of the observer, that’s why we have a ton of different gospels and that’s why we have a plethora of ways of seeing ‘Jesus’. As the observer and its culture evolves, so too will these ideas of Jesus. Evolution doesn’t necessarily have to go forward all the time, too.

            • JohnMWhite

              “What’s your point” probably comes across a bit sharp in text, I am actually just asking you to clarify because I’m not sure what you mean.

            • http://thismaladie.blogspot.com Fool

              No need to bite off my head ;D

              Since the “mythology” you describe has always been interpreted variously, it does not actually change. It still consists of the same bits it did 2000 years ago.
              (Those bits contradict each others, allowing people to pick what they like/need at the moment.)

              Where’s the evolution in that, if I may ask?

              What changes is actually which aspect people drag forth to underline their points.

            • JohnMWhite

              I think you’re confusing scripture for character here. The character of Jesus has evolved as people have focused on different parts of scripture to interpret him in ways that suit them. In that sense, the character has evolved, because it simply has changed.

              Christianity itself has changed, even without the scripture behind it changing. The script is dead, inert, and supposedly inerrant (except for the times when it gets changed for political ends anyway, and by accident) but the way people interpret it always changes, and thus the Christian meme evolves. The breakup of the church into Protestant and Catholic camps was a significant evolution, for one. They bible did change at that point as well, Catholics and Protestants had (and still have) different ones, and different Protestant groups accept different translations.

            • Kodie

              You know who that reminds me of….

              http://www.barbiecollector.com/showcase/default.aspx

  • kjpweb

    I’m stupified by the whole enchilada – was questioning this whole part of the story since I was a kid.
    What I to this day don’t get is the dying for our sins thing. Crucifixion was common place in the Roman empire and – so Jesus actually lived – he was merely one in a myriad of people died the same cruel death. He was a supposedly a system critic and the Romans never tolerated opposition.
    Period. People got nailed to the cross – for that, but also for theft or other crimes.
    So what make this guy so special? More special than the father stealing food for his kids and was crucified for it?
    And if you go back and forth in history – so many people died unspeakable deaths – so what’s the deal with one mans death as the salvation of sin? In the great scheme of things his death-sentence was more or less “normal” for the time – a mere footnote.
    The much I looked for answers – no one was ever able to really provide an explanation that made sense and most people were just terrified by the idea to put “HIS” death in perspective.
    So to return to the main topic – who cares when he was crucified. We know that all dates have been changed around and adjusted under the first Christian Emperor to fit his agenda…

    • trj

      Look at it this way: The Bible is big on sacrifice – usually animal sacrifice. It can be argued that the act of sacrifice and the intentions behind it, rather than the physical animal or object itself, are what is important, as the act itself demonstrates your devotion.

      Millions of people have suffered worse than Jesus did on the cross, but unlike them, Jesus’ death was a dedicated sacrifice. That’s what makes it special.

      Of course, this explanation more or less reduces the Crucifiction to a level of barbaric savagery, as it means God is appeased through a human sacrifice.

      • John C

        The difference is that all of humanity was on that cross that day.

      • VidLord

        ahh yes “as it means God is appeased through a human sacrifice.” Now one must ask the inevitable question: how or why would an omnipotent being require appeasement? To harp on my usual theme – how or why would an omnipotent being get angry/have human emotion? This is a very uncomfortable question for many believers (which is why I harp on it so much). I’ve watched monks and priests squirm and become visibly upset when asked this question. Why? Because the believer MUST suppress reason – in order to maintain their programming.

        Idea for next article: What were Jesus’ Last Words?

        • Jabster

          “Don’t worry about me I’ll be alive again in a few days. It’s the other poor buggers that are going to spend eternity in hell you want to be worried about!”

          … or maybe

          “Stop waving that spear about you’re have someone’s eye out if … arrghhhh!!! that really fecking hurt.”

        • Sunny Day

          Rosebud.

        • JohnMWhite

          Always look on the bright side of life?

          • Jabster

            Sorry to be a party pooper but it wasn’t Brian that sang that!

            • JohnMWhite

              I know, but Brian wasn’t the messiah…

            • Jabster

              … he was a very naughty boy!

            • JohnMWhite

              So worth it. :)

            • Jabster

              :-)

        • Yoav

          Arrgh, that hurts, I was just kidding about this whole messiah stuff, I’ll be good from now on, please don’t kill me, arrrrgh that hurts.

          • Roger

            “You sons of bitches! You wait till my dad finds out about this!”

  • Friedrich

    What kind of BS ‘ghourd’ was Geebus…………….if he couldn’t pull a few nails out? And by the way, he never died for anyone’s sins but his own! Sedition, and claiming to be the king of Israel when there was a real King already sitting on the thrown at the time who he refused to acknowledge………. That was grounds for execution 2,000 years ago!!!!!!!!!! DUH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Friedrich

    I’m gonna watch the “Last Temptation”, and Monty Python’s “The life of Brian” tomorrow to celebrate! yeah I know, I’m boring… but I do own both of those movies!!!!!! ;-) I love a good Fanasy/ Sci-fi……….. especially about Geebus!

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  • MakeANoise

    I hear you…but the Pastors will tell you, that YOU are missing the point…trust me, I know, lol

  • Chris

    Frankly, I’m not sure a detail like that is important to the overall message of Jesus’ existence.

  • Custador

    This is spambot spam – don’t click the link.

  • Pingback: A Question of When: Date & Time of the Crucifixion « Chuff blog

  • Lutheran

    I’m rather late on, this, but I felt that I should still comment. Upon reading the passages in question (I must admit that I hadn’t noticed the possible contradiction in dates before), I’m not sure what seems to be the problem. I do see that the first passage says that they were looking for a room on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but you’ll notice that it says that this was when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is usually taken to mean the 15th day of Nisan (that month of the Jewish holiday) but Passover lambs were traditionally sacrificed on the 14th day of Nisan. This implies that here they are talking about the day of Passover rather than the day after, and as the entire 8 days of the celebration, including the day of Passover before the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, were often collectively referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In this case this would put the occurrence of the Last Supper on the evening of the 14th (or technically the 15th, as the Jews considered the day to change at sunset), and then Jesus crucifixion and death to have occurred on the morning of the 15th.
    Reading farther on in Mark, I think that this view really makes more sense, because he also mentions that Jesus was buried on Preparation Day, (“It was Preparation Day… So as evening approached, Joseph of Armathea…went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body” (Mark 15:42,43 NIV)) the day before the Sabbath and the same day that he was crucified. If Mark says that Jesus was buried on Preparation Day, then it seems like a very reasonable explanation to think that the celebration on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was meant to be the day before Preparation Day, as was often used by the Jews of the time.
    I mention this because it seems from the comment that the author made about how people that believe in the whole truth of the Bible “explain it away with theological smoke and mirrors,” that he might otherwise label this as one of the smoke and mirrors arguments. Based on further reading of Mark I believe that this is really a much better way to read the text than to assume that John changed the date of the crucifixion, especially given the fact that Mark has the crucifixion on the same based on the time of Jesus burial. If anything then I could maybe see you saying that Mark’s use of the term “first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” could be misleading if you didn’t consider his comment that this was “when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb” (Mark 10:12 NIV).
    P.S. Sorry that my quote formatting is not as good, I don’t know how to make it look as nice as the original author did for his. Hopefully it is still readable without too much difficulty. Any comments on how to make it look nice like that would be appreciated. Also, I did not read every single comment that was made, so if someone else already made a similar analysis, I apologize for the repetition.

    • VidLord

      I wouldn’t call your analysis smoke and mirrors but more like mental gymnastics. If you used such mental skills on how someone can walk on water, turn water into wine, raise people from the dead, the existence of ghouls (devils) and fairy’s (angels) and finally why would “God” get angry – then I think you’d utilize that powerful reasoning in a more efficient manner. Go ahead – try it out on my favorite – Why would an omnipotent being get ANGRY?

  • pstjim

    As far as Matthew 12 is concerned. The question is did Jesus mean for us to understand that he would be in the ground literally 72 hours?

    The simple answer is “No” not when you understand their way of referring to and calculating time.

    Now for where I get that understanding.

    Jesus is quoting
    Jonah 1:17
    17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

    So he picks up the phrase “Three days and three nights”
    Note other scriptures referring to the timing between the crucifixion and resurrection use other terms for the timing….

    “In three days”
    Matthew 26:61
    61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”

    John 2:19-21
    19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
    20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
    21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

    “After three days”
    Matthew 27:63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.

    Mark 8:31
    31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

    “The Third Day”
    Matthew 16:21
    Matthew 17:23
    22 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.

    Matthew 27:64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure UNTIL the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

    Luke 24:21
    21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
    (Note it is just the third day and now they have lost hope because he has not already risen!)

    Luke 9:22
    22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”

    Luke 24:46
    46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

    UNDERSTANDING THE TIME FRAME

    So is scripture inaccurate since there are several different phrases used for the time period between the crucifiction and the resurrection?

    1. They do not seem contradictory to those in Bible times
    In fact if you noted above carefully Matthew uses all three phrases for the same time period. Because of the way they calculated time these phrases were not contradictary.

    Note the Pharisees use both words “after” and “Until” and do not feel they are contradictory.
    If we want to know how we should understand the wording “After three days” we can look at the Pharisees to whom Jesus is talking. They ask Pilate

    Matthew 27:63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure UNTIL the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

    2. Jesus had it clear in his mind when He speaks to Herod.
    Luke 13:32-33
    32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ 33Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

    3. Inclusive Reckoning
    Basically this is a concept of inclusive reckoning that the Jews held. It is their method of computing time.

    “A short time in the morning of the seventh day is counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eight day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes remain after the birth of the child these being counted as one day.”
    Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. 4 p.475

    Any part of a day is counted as the day it does not have to be a 24 hour period. This method of computing time is found throughout the Bible and was used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and is still being used in our time.

    Even in Japan until the government changed the system under George McArthur, a child born in December was considered a year old for the remainder of the month. On the first day of January the child became 2 years of age. Meaning that he had lived in two calendar years. We only think of it as the amount of time passed not that they were in that time.

    Just to validate this from scripture
    In 1 Kings 18:9-10
    We are told that the siege of Samarid lasted from the 4th to the 6th year of Hezekiah, which is equated with the 7th to 9th year of Hoshea, and yet the sity is said to have been taken at the end of three years.

    Today we would subtract 4 from 6 in the reign of Hezekiah or 7 from 9 in the reign of Hoshea and come up with two years. But the Bible counts it as three.

    3. Christ the Passover Lamb
    1 Corinthians 5:7-8
    7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    For Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Passover service it was necessary for him to be crucified on the 14th of the Jewish month Nissan and resurrected on the 16th of the Jewish month of Nissan. Thus Passover and Wavesheaf typology would be met. I could go into this more but it would double the size of the answer. More if you want.

    Note I am trying to include some attachments

    Sorry if you were asking for a glass of water and I opened a fire hose.
    Thanks Friends for your interest.
    God Bless,

    • Sunny Day

      Just watching those Gymnastics made me tired.

      Here’s a Towel, you should try out for the Olympic Team.

  • Sayingwhatneedsaying

    “Jesus” Oh, you must mean the guy who comes to my house every Wednesday to cut my lawn!

  • Mystified Atheist

    I’m an atheist, and I dont take the bible as fact, but this article is willfully misinterpreting the bible. I agree with Lutheran above. Mark 15:42 CLEARLY states that the day of the crucifiction was the day before the sabbath – ie. the Friday. No contradiction with John.

    Why would the author of the article choose to make assumptions about the date based on questions asked by the disciples in Mark when the date is so clearly recorded in Mark 15:42? Who says they weren’t talking about where to eat Passover in 2 days time? I plan big events before, maybe they also planned ahead?

    SAD argument against the absolute truth of the gospels when there are so many better examples. Lift your game guys!

  • Erica

    Simple explanation for the “differences”…read it in context. Mark 14 said they ate their passover meal on the first day of unleavened bread, when it was customary “to kill the passover lamb.” Apparently their lamb was Jesus, and they ate their meal early before their Lamb was killed, without an actual lamb, which was the day before the Passover, as John also affirmed. Then immediately after their meal Jesus was led into Gethsemane where he was captured, tried, and killed in the mid-afternoon, when the actual lambs were also being killed. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11934-passover-sacrifice Considering cultural context and the Jewish day of sundown-sundown (instead of 0000 to 0000 hours like our Roman calendar), there is no contradiciton. Context people!

    • Custador

      I love that you can show Christians parts of the Bible that contradict each other, and parts that are just flat-out wrong – And the Christians will deny those parts exist and perform the most absurd and laughable mental gymnastics to deny what’s right there in writing, undeniable, in front of their eyes. Really, it’s just funny. Well, funny and pathetic.

      • UrsaMinor

        Mostly pathetic. The funny has worn thin over the centuries.

  • Michael

    It is possible that John was NOT referring to traditional day of Preparation/Passover but saying
    “Now it was the day of preparation (as Jesus, Lamb of God, was set for crucifixion) for the passover (freedom of mankind); and it was about noon. [Pilate] said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” (John 19:14)

    The confusion comes when we think that John was referring to Jewish festival of passover while he was hinting to preparation of Lamb of God and passover resulting in possibility of mankind to enter kingdom of God, life eternal…

    • Nox

      The secret to making the bible true is to completely ignore what it actually says.

      • Jabster

        The problem is, as I’m sure you know, that if start with the premise that the Bible is the word of god or at least inspired by god then once you start accepting that this part is untrue, then when do you stop – was Jesus not a real person? That’s why you ended up with these torturous levels of ‘interpretation’ of what the Bible is really saying. Of course this does not apply to other holy texts were normal rules apply.

        As for popular ways of making the Bible true, I thought the most popular way was just not to read it in the first place.


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