Josephus: Important Evidence for Jesus?

Josephus: Important Evidence for Jesus? July 10, 2015

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian born in 37 CE. His Antiquities of the Jews, written in approximately 93 CE, has two references to Jesus. He was not a Christian, and this non-biblical source is often cited by apologists as strong confirmation of key elements from the gospel story.

At least, that’s what they’d like to imagine.

Passage 1: Testimonium Flavianum

This first passage is the famous Testimonium Flavianum:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

That’s surprisingly powerful support for the Christian position, but you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

Josephus was born after Jesus died, so in the most charitable interpretation, he is simply passing along second-hand information. More damning, scholars almost universally agree that this was not original to Josephus. This is what a Christian would’ve written, and Josephus was no Christian. Also, the passage interrupts the flow of the book at this point (that is, the book would read better if this passage were removed), and it is briefer than similar summaries in the rest of the work. This is what you’d expect from a later addition.

From the Jewish standpoint, Josephus was a traitor. A Jewish commander during the First Jewish-Roman War, he defected to the Roman side in 67 CE and wrote his history in Rome. Jews had little interest in copying his works to keep them in circulation, and it was mostly Christians who copied them. They might have been motivated to “improve” Josephus.

The earliest copy of the Testimonium Flavianum is from Eusebius (324 CE or earlier), a Christian scholar. That it is traceable back to Eusebius raises concerns. He is not considered a reliable historian, and it’s possible that he added this paragraph.

Passage 2: James the brother of Jesus Christ?

The second passage is a bit long, so let me summarize. Ananus was named the new high priest. He was eager to establish his authority, and he sentenced a group of men to death, one of whom was James the brother of Jesus. There was an outcry against this execution (perhaps it was hasty or was built on insufficient evidence—the text isn’t specific), and concerned citizens petitioned the Roman procurator to rein in Ananus. The procurator agreed and removed Ananus, “and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.”

Let’s return to James, one of the unfortunates executed by stoning. The text says:

… [Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others …

While this doesn’t celebrate the miracles of Jesus, it does at least establish the existence of Jesus Christ in the first century, since the book was written in about 93 CE. However, David Fitzgerald (Nailed, p. 58–61) summarizes a Richard Carrier argument that makes an intriguing case that this isn’t what it seems to be.

The first problem is that this isn’t how other accounts describe the death of James the Just, the brother of Jesus Christ and first bishop of Jerusalem.

Next, notice the clumsy sentence structure:

“the brother of Jesus,
who was called the Christ,
whose name was James … ”

rather than simply “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James.” Imagine if “who was called the Christ” was originally a marginal note in a copy that was merged into the manuscript by a later scribe. Scholars can point to many examples of these scribal insertions. In the form that we have it, it’s like a chatty email that drops “and then I saw God’s divine representative” into a rather boring summary of a trip to the mall. Surely the reader of Josephus would say, “What?? Who cares about James? Go back and elaborate on that Christ bit!” This is what journalists call “burying the lead.”

The argument for that phrase being an addition goes from intriguing to convincing when we consider how the passage ends. Who replaced the hotheaded Ananus? It was “Jesus, the son of Damneus.” (Don’t forget that Jesus or Yeshua was a popular name at this time.)

Before, you had some random guy named James, highlighted for no reason from the list of those who were killed. But delete the “Christ” phrase as a later accidental addition, and the story makes sense. Ananus the high priest irresponsibly kills some people, and he’s removed from office. The job is given to Jesus the son of Damneus, the brother of one of the men killed, as partial compensation for the wrongful death.

Even with the most charitable interpretation, Josephus gives faint support for the Christian position—he’s simply passing along hearsay of supernatural events. We would give this the same credibility deserved by any ancient book with supernatural claims.

A critical review shows why both of these could be later additions, suggesting an original Josephus with no references to Jesus Christ. This is just educated guesswork, and scholars don’t argue this position with certainty, but a Josephus that might have referenced Jesus is a weak foundation on which to build any truth claims of Christianity.

When others asked the truth of me, 
I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, 
but an illusion they could bear to live with.
— Anais Nin

Josephus is enough to convince people today to be Christians,
but Josephus wasn’t enough to convince Josephus to be a Christian!
— commenter primenumbers

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/7/12.)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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  • Partial Mitch

    Bravo. Josephus isn’t a fun read, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I’ve always been amazed that someone would attempt to twist one little section to support Christianity, when “Josephus was no Christian,” not even a little bit.

    It reeks of desperation, and makes me really, really, really hope that we manage to find an uncorrupted copy at some point. Whatever he wrote was almost certainly closer to history than this sloppy revision.

    • There’s a version of the Testimonium that’s not in Greek (was it Syriac?) that’s slightly watered down from the version of Eusebius. Apologists want to argue that, if they must admit that Eusebius buffed up his version, this other version would’ve been the original.

      Have you any opinions on this argument?

    • primenumbers

      That’s funny! Josephus is enough to convince people today to be Christians, but Josephus wasn’t enough to convince Josephus to be a Christian!

      • Nice one! I’ve added that as a quote at the bottom of the post.

    • Jim Jones

      If only Philo had written about Jesus, somewhere in the thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words by Philo which are extant. But Philo wrote not one word about him or about the ‘Christians’.

  • Alicia

    Whether Jesus lived or not (that he did seems the simplest explanation of all those stories claiming that someone by that name was the founder of a new variant Judaism) has absolutely nothing to do with Christian claims that he was the biological son of god and a virgin, that he was resurrected, that his killing accomplished anything metaphysical.
    We can easily affirm that the theological claims Christians make for Jesus are historically ungrounded without going into the esoteric zones of historical denialism trying to question the existence of a perfectly plausible 1st century rabble rouser (or the perfectly plausible connection between said rabble rouser and some rabble that identified as his rouse-ees).
    And we look less like foolish extremist when we do it that way, too.

    • wtfwjtd

      Certainly, Christianity is easily refuted by its own unsupportable claims. This is the angle I prefer myself, most of the time. But, it can easily be shown that the Jesus of Paul, is not the same Jesus of the gospels. I don’t see acknowledging this as historical denialism at all; to the contrary, in my view, it’s foolish and unsupportable to claim otherwise.
      Historical consensus? Yes, “Jesus the man probably existed” seems to be where it’s at. But consensus has been known to change, especially on a subject with such thin evidence. And the fact that the evidence supporting a historical Jesus is so thin, undermines all but the most mundane of Christian claims about him, to the point their religion is easily seen for the fraud that it is. I find this aspect alone to be very useful, and it makes the study of this subject to be both interesting and worthwhile.

      • Alicia

        I have understood Paul much better ever since I met someone who converted to Christianity (from Orthodox Judaism, for what it’s worth) in a singly mystical flash. Her Christianity was very… Odd. Ethereal and not particularly tied to tradition or scriptural notions or anything else. It was a real Aha for me. Remember that according to the stated tradition (of whatever worth that is, obviously), Paul was converted in his flash, spent the weekend being converted by whatever minimally indoctrinated Christians happened to be on hand in Damascus, and then went off preaching for several years before deciding to, you know, do his homework and meet the people who actually knew Jesus and what kind of movement HE had been trying to get off the ground. He hadn’t felt the need to because his mystical experience (however you want to explain that we can leave for another day!) was so compelling to him that he could preach just based on that. Which is *exactly* what Saundra would have done.
        This insight renders Christianity as it came to be practiced (since Paul put such a big stamp on early Christian communities and on the bible) less connected to a historical Jesus, but maintains the existence of a historical Jesus. Me and a few people went a few rounds recently on the existence of the historical Jesus and mytholization and Occam’s razor and the comparative sociology of religious speciation on Love Joy Feminism.

        • wtfwjtd

          Keep in mind, the Acts story of Paul’s conversion is just that–a story. Acts can be considered as historical as the gospels, with several glaring omissions, errors and contradictions. For obvious reasons, I consider most if not all of it fiction, and it seems the anonymous author copied many of his stories from Josephus, IIRC. There’s 3 different “Paul conversion” stories in Acts, and none of them agree with each other. It seems as if the author wanted to emphasize this most important event, but in his eagerness to do so perhaps got a little sloppy in his editing.
          I prefer to let Paul speak for himself, through what most consider to be his known writings. Yes, Paul met his Jesus through a self-described “vision”, but knew of no Jesus miracles or wise Jesus sayings. He thought he knew just as much about Jesus as men who were supposedly with him. This is seems incredible to me; was Paul a blowhard or just an outright liar? Neither option looks good for Team Christianity, but it’s what they are left with. Couple this with the fact that Paul never places his Jesus in any geographical location or time, and the pat narratives about how Christianity began start to fall apart.
          What was your friend’s conversion like? Did she explain it as a “vision” or something else? And, how did she even know that it was Christianity that she should convert to?

        • Alicia

          It was years ago I knew her, so I don’t remember the details, just the effort of keeping my eyebrows in order whenever she opened her mouth.
          And an etherial Jesus not anchored in time or place and who did not teach anything coherent or nuanced or really any content at all is exactly what she would have done. She had her revelation, and don’t confuse her with the facts. Or in other words, I think I’m coming down on the “blowhard” option. Or maybe just lobotomized.
          In other news, given that even the tampered version of Josephus doesn’t mention much about Christians, how on earth could the writer of Acts have cribbed most of his text from Josephus? Or did I misread you?

        • wtfwjtd

          “She had her revelation, and don’t confuse her with the facts. Or in other words, I think I’m coming down on the “blowhard” option…”

          Christians love to ramble on about their “personal experience” or “personal relationship”, and then get mad when others don’t accept this as convincing evidence. No doubt, Paul was a very proud and loudly boastful man, “blowhard” probably isn’t too far off the mark. It’s strange, though, how it’s usually Christians who insist he’s a liar, by saying that he learned about Jesus from the “disciples”, when Paul himself flatly says otherwise. Why not just take him at his word when he says that he learned all he knows about Jesus via revelation?
          As for the author of Acts cribbing Josephus, I wasn’t referring specifically to the passage in question. The Acts author took certain stories and scenes from Josephus, and adapted them to his own story and purpose. I don’t have a list handy, but the shipwreck story is one, and there are a few others, enough to establish that it’s more than just coincidence. Greg G has a pretty good handle on this, maybe he’ll pop in and give more detail than I have at the moment.
          That’s also a good point about Josephus barely mentioning Christians in his writing. If Jesus really was the rock-star persona as the gospels claim, and his 12 buddies (and all believers, for that matter, unless one admits that Jesus was a liar), were able to drink poison, heal the sick, and raise dead people back to life, it seems incredible that a guy writing about Judea at this time wouldn’t notice it. Almost impossible, in fact.

        • Alicia

          Damn it, I’m going to go against my promise to myself and get into it on another website.
          At the time that Josephus was written, Christianity was still just another microscopic cult of weirdos making extreme claims. The Greco Roman world was chockablock with microscopic cults of weirdos making extreme claims, as a reading of Josephus generally will readily attest. As such, there is no reason that a non-christian would waste a great deal of ink on that one specific cult.
          Given that Palestine seems to have had at least one self proclaimed messiah and multiple self proclaimed faith healers mooching around at any given point for a couple of centuries, is it really shocking that one of them managed to convince enough people of the accuracy of his claims that he managed to start a long-standing movement? It would almost be more surprising if none had. Kind of like the Great Awakening in the US. Most of that crop of kooks faded away, but several of them ended up founding movements that are now well established denominations.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Christianity was still just another microscopic cult of weirdos making extreme claims. ”

          That’s exactly my point Alicia, there seems to be nothing to distinguish one from the other. You’d think if a cult had a real god-man leading it, he’d be able to easily shut up all naysayers, and demonstrate that he was the real deal.
          I’m not trying to imply with this that I necessarily think that Jesus never existed at all. In many ways, it’s much harder for the Christian to defend and explain an ordinary, delusional rabble-rouser that got himself killed, than it would be to just accept and teach an ethereal Jesus.
          OTOH, there are some things that aren’t adequately explained by the traditional Christian narrative, and the possibility that he was a euhemerized as a god is quite a bit higher than the opponents of this idea care to admit. When dealing with ancient history, we’re dealing with probabilities rather than certainties. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the very flimsiness of the Christian case when it comes to real historical data about the actual guy that makes this topic worth discussing.

        • was Paul a blowhard or just an outright liar?

          It seems unfair to compare Paul’s writings in the 50s with the gospels from the 70s-90s. True, Paul’s story doesn’t match up well with that later story, but the oral story (soon to be written down as the gospel) from the 50s might not’ve been much more elaborate than Paul’s own scanty biography about Jesus.

        • wtfwjtd

          “…but the oral story (soon to be written down as the gospel) from the 50s might not have been much more elaborate than Paul’s own scanty biography about Jesus.”

          If that’s the case, then apparently the guys who supposedly were his “disciples” didn’t seem to know much about him either, which opens a whole other can of worms. Or, it could be that they were poor communicators, or…maybe Paul was starting his own version of the Jesus religion. Christianity excels at producing knock-offs, maybe Paul’s version was one of the first (and most successful)?
          In many ways, what I see is the Jesus of Paul, the Jesus of the gospels, and books like Acts that are a clumsy attempt to fit the two together.

        • MNb

          “maybe Paul was starting his own version of the Jesus religion.”
          After comparing the contents of the Gospels with the contents of Paulus’ letters that’s quite a safe conclusion.

        • I’m imagining the Jesus story growing more elaborate with time. If Paul gives us a snapshot from the 50s, it’s not surprising that it doesn’t reflect the additional information added later.

        • MNb

          “I’m imagining the Jesus story growing more elaborate with time.”
          That’s scholarly consensus and a fine example of History of Antiquity using results from other branches of science, in this case psychology. In fact the consensus is so strong that this principle is used as an aid to date original manuscripts.
          Rejecting this runs into all kinds of problems regarding coherence and consistency.
          The funny consequence is that modern historical research of early christianity tends to neglect the Jesus character – what happened afterwards is much more important. Jona Lendering’s last book

          http://www.athenaeum.nl/shop/details/Israel+verdeeld/9789025303907

          is an origin story of christianity build on scientific principles. He only spends a few pages (maybe 10) on Jesus.

        • wtfwjtd

          Even Christians themselves tend to ignore much of what Jesus said, and pay more attention to Paul’s writings. I guess they like Paul’s version of Christianity better than the Jesus version.

        • You get to pick which theological angle to take from several options within infallible scripture?! Sweet!

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s where Free Will ™ comes in brother. Ain’t it great that we serve an unchangeable god?

        • Greg G.

          In the comments of this article on Vridar

          http://vridar.org/2015/07/10/understanding-the-emotional-jesus-temple-tantrums-name-calling-and-grieving/

          R. G. Price says Mark’s Jesus is based on Paul. It struck a chord with me. I responded to him there with some confirming ideas. I already thought Mark’s James, John, and Peter were based on Paul’s opinion of them given in Galatians.

        • wtfwjtd

          “R. G. Price says Mark’s Jesus is based on Paul.”

          That seems reasonable to me. Paul’s writings pre-date Mark by 20+ years, maybe Mark had access to them. He was also enamored with Homer, so why not make his own hero-savior? He was writing a deliberate work of fiction, but good fiction often is based on characters that one knows or has read about. Was this Jesus of Paul a celestial being, or was he an actual character? For Mark’s purposes, it didn’t matter, I don’t think. He could write his epic, and let his readers fill in the blanks.

          This also makes me wonder: Did Christianity popularize Mark, as the traditional narrative has it, or did Mark’s epic story popularize Christianity, and help start a movement? I’m more inclined to think the latter.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think I typed that very clearly. Mark’s Jesus character was based as much on Paul the person, as he described himself in the letters, as on Paul’s idea of Jesus.

          Mark was writing fiction but as an allegory, like how some fairy tales are actually allusions to the affairs of royalty of the time they were written. It was common for writers of Greek to model their writings on older works and the readers were expected to recognize the references and the Homeric epics were the favorites.

          RG Price’s idea is that Mark was making OT allusions but Matthew thought the allusions were prophecies and added more.

          I think Mark accidentally rejuvenated Christianity by creating a first century Jesus cult out of the more Gnostic Christianity of early first century Christianity.

          Mark may have been mocking the Christians of his day. It would seem to be very subtle if you look at it from a historical Jesus perspective but if the Jesus of the Gnostic Christianity of the day was from the distant past, it would be more obvious.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Mark’s Jesus character was based as much on Paul the person,…”

          Oh wow, that sounds like a pretty radical idea. I was thinking more in terms of using Paul’s description of Jesus, and making a story from that.

          Ignorant Amos posted a link the other day, it was a discussion that noted the virtual absence of apologists in the early-mid second century that mention the gospels in defense of early Christianity. What if these guys actually knew of them, but were embarrassed by the far-fetched notions contained within their pages? These early apologists barely mention Jesus at all. They talk of Christianity in more Jewish terms, and the concept of Jesus dying for sins is largely absent.

        • Pofarmer

          is also fits in well with the idea that Mark might have originally been a play.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, wow, the [un-extended] ending makes way better sense that way.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve always assumed that was more of an Evangelical preference, but i’ve never tried a side-by-side comparison of any sort.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’d say there’s cafeteria-style Christians in just about every flavor of Christianity you could name. Some easy examples–Jesus: The Jewish law is still in full force.
          Paul: The law is crap. If God tells you to do something, do it.(This sounds much like stoicism that was popular in Paul’s day).
          Jesus: I came only for the lost sheep of Israel.
          Paul: Jews are idiots, gentiles make better Christians.

          I think that’s enough to give us a the general idea.

        • MR

          Are you sure you meant stoicism, wtfwjtd? That doesn’t sound like stoicism to me. Can you point me to a reference?

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s the way it sounds to me, maybe I mis-read it. Greg G had the link in his post below, here it is again:

          http://vridar.org/2015/07/10/understanding-the-emotional-jesus-temple-tantrums-name-calling-and-grieving/

          Let me know what you think.

        • MR

          Ah, thanks. I had bookmarked that second post to read later. It was a little tl;dhttriy (too long, didn’t have time to read it yet).

          From what I know about stoicism, I don’t think your comparison between the Stoics and the Christians is quite right. Stoics didn’t believe in an anthropomorphic God, or “Zeus.” God/Zeus was more like nature or reason, not the Zeus that stood on Mt. Olympus throwing thunderbolts. My understanding, if I’m not mistaken, is that Zeus would never “tell you to do something,” in that Christian sense, rather, one would know what to do through reason and wisdom.

          The post states:

          Ultimately, there is only one way to know what is the right thing to do in a particular circumstance or what Zeus requires: consult a sage. According to circumstances, the sage might even go against what convention and local law deemed to be appropriate actions in order to perform an appropriate and perfect action. The sage’s action, obedient to reason/Zeus, ultimately defines what constitutes a perfectly appropriate action in any particular circumstance. On this view, moral authority requires a perfect moral expert. Only the sage, then, stands as an authoritative interpreter of these common norms, codes, and local laws. . . . .

          I agree it sounds very much like getting a pronouncement from a priest that “God says such-and-such….!” But, from the little I know of stoicism, I wouldn’t compare it to that. That’s just not how stoicism worked. Think more, the guru on the mountain top. He’s not pronouncing from a set of laws, or from a command from God, but by weighing the circumstances and coming to an understanding of the will of God/Nature/Reason through knowledge, wisdom and reasoning.

          Probably you don’t see that as much better, but from all the Stoic philosophy I’ve read, I’d much rather put my fate in the hands of a stoic sage than a Christian priest any day. 😉

        • wtfwjtd

          Ah yes, things are never quite as simple as they seem, are they? I was thinking more along the lines of Paul being the wise sage, rather than a general comparison to Christianity. Since he had the inside dope via revelation, he could use this, combined with his accumulated knowledge and wisdom via decades of being a Pharasee, to inform us of the right moral path, regardless of what the (mostly Jewish) law said.
          I know that’s not quite stoicism in the true Roman sense, but that seemed to be the angle that the author was taking.

        • MR

          Another thing about stoicism, it was about doing the right thing for your own personal growth or developing your own moral path. It wasn’t for you to pass judgement on others. It was about personal virtue. How to make yourself better, not making laws for others to follow. They had their own journey.

          If your brother does wrong, support him and show him a better way. If he does not listen, do not blame him nor yourself.

        • wtfwjtd

          Dang, I wish modern Christianity was more like that. It would sure save us all a lot of time and trouble.

        • MR

          To me, Christianity is just Judaism softened by Greek philosophy, including stoicism (with other influences, as well). They were at a crossroads and were assimilating many cultures and beliefs. They were evolving for the better, but were still stuck with the baggage from the old religion(s). Sadly, we’ve been stuck with that baggage now for 2000 years.

        • wtfwjtd

          I think where it started going horribly wrong was when that “Great Commission” crap got added in to the mix. Well, sure, it wasn’t so great before proselytizing was added, but that really steered it into the gutter.

        • Greg G.

          The Romans were into blood sports and public executions but even they thought the Hebrew death penalties were too outrageous and apparently made them go through Roman channels for it.

          Even the early Jews had restrictions that made it nearly impossible to execute someone. A person would have to be seen and warned by two people in order to be found guilty and sentenced.

        • MR

          What do you think of more oriental influences on Christianity, Greg G? Is there evidence for that? Someone mentioned the book, “Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff….” Christ spends some time in that book in India, I believe. I presume to suggest that some of his teachings come from there. Thoughts?

        • Greg G.

          That is a good question. I have been to museum lectures on Buddhism. They could trace Greek style statues going to the Orient when Alexander opened trade routes to India. I have read that there were monks in Egypt and I think in Rome. They would certainly have influenced each other. I don’t know of any writings that have a direction that can be identified, however.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I don’t see the Stoic influence on Christianity nearly as positively. Passions are bad, so push them down when they rise. Sure, that’s good advice when your passions are way out of hand, but I think it’s generally unhealthy–and a big part of Catholicism and Stoicism.

        • MR

          I think maybe you’re misunderstanding Stoicism. It’s not really about pushing your passions down so much as controlling them. I would be surprised if it influenced Christianity in the way you suggest, but I agree that the whole suppression/guilt trip thing is a shackle on the religious mind.

          I can’t say just how much Stoicism specifically influenced Christianity (but I look forward to reading the book I got the other day, “Stoicism in Early Christianity”!), but certainly Greek philosophy in general influenced it, mostly for the better, in my opinion, but only in a relative sense. It was a step away from harsh, cruel, even barbaric customs and laws toward a more humane, dare I say, philosophical approach. Not perfect, but a step. It just didn’t progress much from there, and now we’re 2,000 years later trying to catch up.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I might be misunderstanding, and I’ll be interested to hear what you learn from “Stoicism in Early Christianity,” but I was struck by reading Augustine and Aquinas and seeing so much Greek thought in there (or at least what I interpreted as Greek thought).

          And this line from Greg G’s link

          If one wishes to put the viewpoint of the triumphant Christ Cult into historical context, in terms of philosophy it belongs to the school of thought Greek Stoicism, and this philosophy, with its suspicion of human sexuality and the human body and its strictly conservative ideas about social order and its rigid resistance to change or revolutionary ideas is found to permeate almost every letter that eventually made it into the Christian canon.

          seems right on point to me, especially “its suspicion of human sexuality and the human body.” Passions, especially lust, are not to be trusted. A few years ago, I came to the realization that a fear and loathing of women and sexual arousal were major drivers of Catholic thought. I don’t think the Stoics would have disagreed with the Catholics.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve been reading up on Philo. He thought Plato and Aristotle were influenced by Moses. Alicia’s description of Process Christianity reminds of Philo. The Word (Logos) in the Gospel of John seems to be drawn from Philo.

        • Pofarmer

          My understanding was that the idea of Logos originated with Philo. Perhaps this is incorrect? That’s one of the things that makes it so puzzling that Philo never mentions Jesus. He should have been very interested in his theology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The second century Apologists don’t seem to know much about a Jesus of Nazareth…they are all about the Logos.

        • Greg G.

          Heraclitus of Ephesus used “Logos” circa 500 BC. The Greeks had many ideas about it.

        • MR

          Philo and Josephus are sitting on my bookshelf side by side. One of these days I’ll crack them open (besides the occasional reference), one of these days….

        • Greg G.

          I used to just read the reference when someone mentioned Josephus, but I am finding lots of amazing things in it when I read outside those bounds. Today, I say that the high priest Jonathan was killed Sicarii style. The description of his murder was similar to the description of the Sicarii MO described elsewhere. Jonathan got on the nerves of Roman Procurator Felix, by telling him how to do his job, so Felix bribed a friend of Jonathan to have him executed. I wondered if that was Jonathan ben Ananus who was high priest twice but they were about a decade apart.

          A week or so ago, I read that Josephus said he couldn’t speak Greek well because learning other languages was frowned upon by the Jews, so that makes John 3 less likely as Nicodemus’ misunderstanding is through a Greek pun.

        • Greg G.

          Did you delete the vampire comment under the latest article? I tried to reply and got a “removed by moderator” message and it is gone now.

        • MR

          Yeah, sorry. I realized after I sent it that vampires are undead, but I was thinking zombies. I should have edited, but my food was arriving and it was easier to delete. Sorry for the confusion.

        • Greg G.
        • MR

          Yes, no doubt Augustine and certainly Aquinas were influenced by Greek thought. Pop over to Strange Notions if you want to see just how much in bed Aquinas was with Plato and Aristotle. I was referring more, however, to the Greek influence at Christianity’s inception more so than Augustine and Aquinas. Getting from Old Testament Judaism to New Testament Christianity, the religion seems to have been dragged through Greek philosophy (not just Stoicism, and not to mention Zoroastrian influences). The idea of a soul, for example, stems from Plato. Some of Jesus’ teachings strike me as very stoic, e.g., loving your fellow man. People at the time were trying to process many different ideas and beliefs. Some good, some bad or simply incorrect.

          Regarding Greg’s link…, I dunno, that guy sounds like he has a beef and an agenda so I have to take his rant with a grain of salt. The whole lust and all that…, the Stoic perspective is very different from the Christian perspective as far as I can tell. Stoicism doesn’t have the sin and guilt aspect that Christianity does. It’s more about self control. It’s not that sex = sin, or is an evil in and of itself, in fact, it’s a necessity, it’s part of our nature, but stoics would frown on being obsessed with sex. Everything in moderation, whether sex, food, drink…. Self control is good, but I don’t think they went so far as suppression.

          Our modern take on being stoic, being an unfeeling, uncaring, cold fish, is not really what Stoicism was about back then. It was more about moderation and controlling oneself and not being upset about things beyond your control. A simple form would be, what good is it to be upset with the weather, it is what it is. A more complex idea would be controlling grief. While it is okay to grieve, it’s important to understand that death is inevitable, and it is foolish to allow something that we know is inevitable to devastate us. Grieve, yes, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Be angry, but not irrationally so, etc.

          Anyway, personally, I do think the Stoics would have disagreed with the Catholics regarding the things you mention. Those ideas have more to do with sin, guilt, controlling others and appeasing a potentially angry God. Stoicism was about bettering oneself. Perhaps stoicism had some negative implications, but I really don’t see it lining up with Catholic thought.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Getting from Old Testament Judaism to New Testament Christianity, the religion seems to have been dragged through Greek philosophy

          This is right on, and I’m always interested to learn more about that process. It has to be part of the reason this particular branch of Judaism survived while so many others didn’t. Those first 100 years would be great to understand better.

        • MR

          Philo is going to be interesting for that even though he wasn’t Christian. I’m already spreading my reading too thin, but will try to read one or two of his treatises in the next couple weeks. I want to get a feel for him.

        • Greg G.

          I stumbled across this on a website that doesn’t look like it has been updated in ten years or more but it might be relevant here.

          The Stoic Canon of the Christ Cult

        • MR

          Hmmm…, well, I’m no scholar, but I have read Seneca, Epictetus, Aurelius and bits of others, and I can’t say I agree with this article’s harsh characterization of the Stoics. Regarding a Stoic “Christ cult,” I have no idea, perhaps I’ll know more after I read my new acquisition.

        • TheNuszAbides

          nutshells have always appealed to me but i’ll try to do some follow-up homework in case i ever actually use them and need to back them up 🙂

        • wtfwjtd

          A comparative list would be a handy thing to have, if I run across one, I’ll be sure and post it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i appreciate the work put into the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, though some is on the ham-handed side from where i’m sitting.

        • Pofarmer

          What about the socialist utopia in Acts?

        • wtfwjtd

          The socialist utopia as espoused in Acts is pretty much utterly and completely ignored by today’s cafeteria-style Christian. It don’t fit their political narrative, you know.

        • Pofarmer

          I doubt few have even heard or read those passages.

        • TheNuszAbides

          apparently the guys who supposedly were his “disciples” didn’t seem to know much about him either, which opens a whole other can of worms. Or, it could be that they were poor communicators, or…

          NDAs were incredibly fraught in Antique Palestine.

        • wtfwjtd

          You mean NDE’s? Not only that, but zombie apocalypses, dead-raisings, and other such nonsense were common as houseflies. Writing about another one would hardly have raised an eyebrow.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe he means that it wasn’t that they were poor communicators, they were just restricted by Non-Disclosure Agreements. Or NDEs works, too.

        • wtfwjtd

          Well, it’s true, Jesus in Mark kept telling people (including the disciples) not to disclose to anyone who he was. So I guess that fits, too.

        • Right–Jesus told his disciples to not reveal his mission. Which is why we don’t know about it to this day.

        • TheNuszAbides

          mixed messages between at least two ‘authors’? no way!!

        • Kodie

          Near Death Axeperiences – when you nearly die from the smell of cheap cologne.

        • wtfwjtd

          Does cologne that smells like bug spray count? No wonder bugs hate that stuff, just thinking about it almost makes me cough.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that might be more like Non-Discriminating Exterminations.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, Non-Disclosure Agreements. (i realized too late it falls kinda flat if you take the whole “spread Ze Gospel” thing as a given.) 🙂

        • primenumbers

          Paul clearly tells us how he came up with his ideas on Jesus – he got them from reading OT scripture (no doubt with some imagination applied) and through direct revelation, and definitely from no other human. I’d not be surprised if there were groups of people back then doing exactly that – mining OT scripture for hidden meanings and preaching what they have derived.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Mystic Book Club!

  • Greg G.

    Origen praises Josephus for the history he put together. He mentions the John the Baptist passage and the “who was called Christ” passage in Contra Celsus where he seems to be listing everything Josephus said about Jesus. He also mentioned the “who was called Christ” in another writing. If there was anything like the Testimonium Flavianum in Josephus, Origen would have brought that to bear against Celsus and raved about it often. Instead, he tells us that Josephus didn’t believe Jesus was the Christ, especially since Josephus tried to pass Vespasian off as the Christ. The TF is just a few paragraphs before the John the Baptist passage.

    Origen bequeathed his library and writings to Caesarea and it was acquired by Pamphilus, the mentor of Eusebius of Caesarea, who was the only person who mentioned the passage until Jerome a century later. Jerome mentioned Josephus about 90 times but the Testimonium Flavianum only once.

    It is farfetched to believe that so many Christian writers who spoke of Josephus would never make mention of the TF.

    The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D. shows an affinity with the passage in Luke. Ordinarily I would think Luke took it from Josephus. Goldberg thinks the TF was written in two stages with the core being by Josephus and embellished by an interpolater. But even Goldberg’s reduced version is never mentioned despite the “who was called Christ” being mentioned multiple times.

    I think the interpolater used Luke 24:19-21 and 25-27, substituting words and phrases favored by Josephus and adding some Christianese.

    I just happened to look up some of the phrases used in the passage last night in English so it may not mean anything. The TF is Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.3.

    The phrases “at this time” and “principal men” are used throughout Antiquities of the Jews. But “wise man”, “wonderful works”, “cross”, and “tribe” are seldom used after Antiquities of the Jews 14. “Wise man” describes Abram, Daniel, David, Solomon, the third captain sent to arrest Elijah, and Ptolemy. It is not used in AJ, 14, 15, 16, or 17. In AJ, 19 & 20, it is used but doesn’t describe a particular person.

    “Wonderful works” is used for Moses in AJ 3 while “wonderful and surprising works” is used for Elisha in AJ 9. “Cross” as a form of punishment is used in AJ 6 once, AJ 11 three times, and AJ 12 once. “Tribe” is used at least once in each of the first fourteen books, dozens of time in some of them. After that, “tribe” is used once in AJ 17 and twice in the same paragraph in AJ 20, besides the one time in the TF.

    “Divine prophets” does not appear elsewhere though Josephus does use “holy prophets” once, in AJ 12. “Prophet(s)” is used hundreds of times with no adjective but the most common adjectives are “true”, “false”, and “certain”. I also saw “lying”, “wicked”, “better”, “greater”. and “excellent”.

    • Pofarmer

      I think it was on vridar. But I think that scholars are arguing that the entire Testimonium is an addition because of the Greek phrasing. If I could be more vague and less helpful I would.

      • Greg G.

        I accidentally posted it before I was finished. I think I’m done with it now.

  • Sophia Sadek

    It is interesting to compare the way that different academic historians approach these passages. John P. Meier claims that the obvious interpolations are perfectly valid.

  • Derrik Pates

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, Eusebius’ own writings complain rather bitterly of the fact that Josephus’ writings made no mention of their Savior. So was Eusebius, an early leader in the Christian church, wrong about Josephus’ writings not mentioning Jesus, or were the writings altered later, thus making Eusebius “wrong” after the fact?

    • Greg G.

      Origen mentioned that Josephus didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. I don’t think Eusebius made that complaint but I could be wrong.

      Both Origen and Eusebius were from Caesarea and Eusebius had access to Origen’s library.

    • Pofarmer

      It seems like a lot of convenient apologetics tools show up around Eusebius.

      • adam

        Isnt he really the creator of christianity as a political party for POWER?

        • TheNuszAbides

          seems like that’d follow, for the most part. the buzzphrase i remember from before looking into him at all is “Christianity’s first historian”, and plenty of folks on every side will stress some form of ‘back then there weren’t historians-as-i’m-assuming-“we”-would-understand-the-term’, so agenda-driving is safer to presume.

        • Jim Jones

          Like a butcher putting extra fat and breadcrumbs in the sausage. To make more ‘sausage’.

  • Ananus… Sorry, this was really interesting but I am just all about that name right now

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Damn, you just had to do it. Now all I can see is that damn picture of Jesus in the dog’s butt. Please pass the brain bleach.

      • i already have his full name set as my fantasy football team name Ananus Ben Ananus

  • David Chumney

    Let me preface my remarks with a disclaimer. I’m not in any way defending what the Christian faith has to say about Jesus. I’m only interested in what historians consider “probable” based on the surviving evidence and sound arguments based on such evidence.
    Louis H. Feldman (a non-Christian scholar, one of the leading experts in the study of Josephus) has written: “The passage about the death of James the brother of Jesus (Ant. 20.9.1) has been regarded as authentic by almost all scholars” (Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 991). He also points out that this brief reference “indicates that Jesus had been mentioned earlier” (Ibid.). Thus, some portion of the so-called Testimonium Flavianum very likely did exist before early Christian scribes tampered with what Josephus had written.

    Once the rather obvious Christian interpolations have been removed from the TF(that longer reference to Jesus), that passage is fairly neutral in the sense that it doesn’t present Jesus in a way that Christians would have supported.

    Here’s what the TF looks like with those obvious Christian interpolations removed:

    Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; and the tribe of the Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day. (Ant. 18.3.3)
    Of course, if these references in Josephus provided the only credible evidence for the existence of Jesus, that would be a rather weak foundation to build on. But, of course, there is also some additional credible historical evidence within the pages of the NT–not much, but some.
    While many recent Jesus books present some version of what their authors see as a “plausible” historical Jesus, the bar should be raised much higher than that. The only evidence that should be taken seriously is what historians can point to as “probable.”
    BTW, for those who are interested in the argument that Eusebius may well have forged the entire TF, see Ken Olson, “Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61 (1999): 305-322, or Ken Olson, “A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum,” in Eusebius of Caesarea: Traditions and Innovations (ed. Aaron Johnson and Jeremy Schott; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), 97-114. Either of these resources will likely only be available in a theological library (i.e., on a seminary campus), but for those who have access, either is an easy read.
    Although Olson’s research has not yet won wide acceptance, this is his field of expertise, so what he has to say needs to be considered very seriously. (Right now, Olson is a doctoral candidate at Duke University.)
    Concluding postscript: Please note that it was a Roman Catholic journal that first published Olson’s work, despite the fact that he casts doubt on the authenticity of the only 1st century non-Christian reference to Jesus! Serious scholars follow the evidence wherever it leads, and journals such as CBQ aren’t afraid to publish that research. Remember that the next time you or someone you know presumes that scholarship associated in some way with the church is necessarily biased.

    • Pofarmer

      Problem is, there is ample evidence that the entire testimonium is a late fabrication. There are many articles about it on vridar.org

      http://vridar.org/2009/03/08/the-testimonium-flavianum-an-additional-clue-from-eusebiuss-against-hierocles/

      My guess us Eusebius concocted the whole thing.

    • Pofarmer

      Here is some more, much more recent scholarship, indicating the entire testimonium is forged.

      http://vridar.org/2015/01/16/fresh-evidence-the-jesus-passage-in-josephus-a-forgery/

      Once again, Eusebius is the obvious suspect.

      Edited for spelling

      • wtfwjtd

        “Entire twistimonium”? Hey, you just created a new word (even if by accident). I like that sound of that!

        • Pofarmer

          Dang it.

        • Greg G.

          No, take a bow for that one, sir. I’m stealing it. It’s up there with “temple tantrum”.

      • David Chumney

        An interesting article. Unfortunately, most of the material Hopper analyzes is what scholars have long recognized as interpolation. From the bit of reading I’ve done on the subject, I’ve been able to trace arguments for the “reconstructed version” of the TF back to 1838, so it’s clear that that should be the basic text for all further critical studies.
        No one that I’m aware of even considers the obvious interpolations as relevant to the discussion anymore. Those who continue to “investigate” those dubious lines have likely not read the pertinent research, so they’re basically claiming credit for what other people have pointed out a long time ago.
        I’m far more interested in Olson’s research because he doesn’t waste any time with the acknowledged interpolations; instead, he is looking at the “reconstructed version” and comparing only those lines with the style found in the remainder of the Antiquities.
        Either way, I’m certainly happy to dispense with the idea that the TF has a claim to authenticity. I have no dog in that fight; I’m only interested in historical research.
        One final note: I tend to be interested in the research of those who have scholarly credentials in appropriate fields and who are taken seriously enough to be published in the best academic journals. If that makes me persona non grata, so be it.

        • Pofarmer

          “I’ve been able to trace arguments for the “reconstructed version” of the TF back to 1838, so it’s clear that that should be the basic text for all further critical studies.”

          Why? Before that ot was widely thought that the whole thing was interpolated, this is simply apologetics getting in the game, as far as I’m concerned.

          As far as published in the best academic journals, I’d need to know what those are. Bart Ehrman has noted that the field of Biblical studies is very heavily weighted towards believers. Anyone loke McGrath, who believes in the divinity of Jesus as well as his historicity. i have no trouble discounting out of hand. Most of these journals are run by the same.

        • Greg G.

          I’m certainly happy to dispense with the idea that the TF has a claim to authenticity. I have no dog in that fight; I’m only interested in historical research.

          That is my position as well.

          The fact that Origen mentioned Josephus a lot with praise for the history he provides. He quotes the passage about James twice and discusses it. In one of those cases, he is arguing against Celsus and includes the John the Baptist passage. It seems to me that he is giving an exhaustive list of New Testament references in Antiquties of the Jews. The TF is quite close to the John the Baptist passage. It is hard to imagine that Origen would not have written about any other mention of Jesus. That makes me think the TF was not in AJ.

          If the TF was not in AJ, then the “the brother of (the one who was called) Christ” was probably not original. It is only something a Christian would understand, and think it was significant, but Josephus intended audience would not. Richard Carrier argues that it was a margin note of someone who hoped it was about the James in the NT.

          Luke and Josephus – Secular Web by Richard Carrier makes a good case that Luke used Josephus in Luke and Acts. So I think it is ironic that an interpolator used Luke to fill in something in Josephus.

          The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D. discusses the Christian interpolations but does not consider that the whole thing was copied from Luke.

          In the Road to Emmaus passage (Luke 24:19-30), he is giving a summary of the gospel, referring to earlier parts of the story.

          Luke 24:19
              Luke 7:16

          Luke 24:20
              Luke 23:13-33

          Luke 24:21
              Luke 1:68
              Luke 2:38
              Luke 21:28
              Luke 18:33

          Luke 24:22
              Luke 24:1

          Luke 24:23
              Luke 24:2-11

          Luke 24:24
              Luke 24:13

          These are some plausible OT passages that Luke has Jesus referring to in the following verses.

          Luke 24:25-26
              Isaiah 52:12-15

          Luke 24:27
              Deuteronomy 18:15
              Isaiah 7:14
              Isaiah 9:6
              Isaiah 40:10-11
              Isaiah 53
              Ezekiel 34:23
              Daniel 9:24
              Micah 7:20

          Luke 24:30
              Luke 22:19

          I think the possibility that Goldberg overlooked dovetails nicely with Olson’s conclusion.

          I think the John the Baptist passage is also an interpolation. The three non-Mark gospels show reluctance to say that Jesus was baptized or needed to be baptized. I think the passage was inserted into Josephus to counter Mark as the reasons for the baptism in each are direct opposites. Frank Zindler makes a case for it being an interpolation from the text itself. I think it is a good case, too.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I have no dog in that fight; I’m only interested in historical research.

          That is my position as well.

          after seeing MNb lay the pseudoscience rap on you a couple times, i take care to apply Doubt Benefits since the tone i’ve inferred from your in-depth posts is more “but what if…” or “consider this [because most ‘scholars in relevant fields’ have little-to-no incentive to do so]” rather than “_____ obviously means _____; you are all tools”.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. I don’t hold any ideas with absolute certainty. I figure if I am 99.9% certain of 10,000 things, 10 of them are wrong. I may overstate things just to stimulate conversation. If I am wrong, I want to know why I’m wrong but if it is couched with lots of maybes, there’s nothing that is actually incorrect, like Ken Olson says at The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus,

          Every one of the six premises Van Voorst gives is wrong. Or, rather, they would be wrong except that the qualified way they are stated (in terms of what is usual, general or common) allows them to accommodate an unspecified number of exceptions.

          Remember:

          If you want good information from the internet, don’t ask a question. Just say something that is wrong. –Abraham Lincoln

          Allow SIWOTI to work for you.

          https://xkcd.com/386/

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, before i drifted over here i had a couple of decades of online (mostly BBS) off-the-handle diatribes under my belt. after learning to ‘express myself’ via keyboard (i.e. vent in ways my imagination was closed to in physical-public settings) i slowly increased the practice of shutting up the fingers and listening/reading the way i’ve always been good at listening ‘in person’ (which is mostly due to a blend of shyness and curiosity). still working on the former, of course; merely lucked out with the latter.

          and i’m pretty familiar with how old/tiresome/unsexy it can be to insert the disclaimers or qualifiers Every Damn Time You Stick An Idea (or a gi-normous list) Out. (that’s actually how i started out, before the real venting began; my earliest blowups were entirely pedantic/semantic and i’ll probably never let go of that entirely!)

        • TheNuszAbides

          that was the second xkcd i ever saw. about 8 years ago maybe? (i don’t know how old it was then, i guess the bastard only ever datestamps ‘what if?’)

        • MNb

          “after seeing MNb lay the pseudoscience”
          That’s not because of his tone, which undeniably is far more civil than mine, but because of his method. That includes his “lots of maybes” cop out underneath.
          Science is about probabilities. And that’s why Richard Carrier is the only JM to be taken seriously, as he addresses this point.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sorry, i know you weren’t responding to tone and my casual aside could have used some clarity to that effect. but the first time i saw you bring it up it seemed like you saw the entire JM prospect as a crock. is there then some hope for others who take Carrier seriously?

        • Greg G.

          The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D. is an excellent piece of work in the study of Jesus history. As Richard Carrier points out in the comments at A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum, he shows twenty correlations with only one slight alteration of the order.

          Under Section 8. Concluding Remarks and Two Speculations, Goldberg considers three possibilities. The first is chance but he rejects it because of the similarities, including unusual phrasings. The second is that someone copied Luke into Josephus which he rejects because it would be hard to imitate Josephus. The third is that Luke and Josephus used a common source for the main part of the Testimonium Flavianum, which he accepts.

          But a moment’s reflection on the passage in Luke would show that it is a synopsis of the Gospel of Luke up to that point. The parts of Luke it reflects comes from the Gospel of Mark and some Old Testament passages. Therefore, Goldberg should have rejected the third option and settled on the second. The Ken Olson article confirms that to be the case.

          Goldberg did a fine piece of scholarship but the methodology of assuming that the gospels are based on tradition apparently made him favor the hypothesis of another source.

          For the past two centuries, New Testament scholars have surmised lost sources for the gospels to explain them, as if those authors couldn’t put two words together and had to have a source to copy from. Bart Ehrman, in Did Jesus Exist?, used the Q (used by Matthew and Luke) source, the M (used by Matthew only) source, and the L source (used by Luke only) as evidence for the historical Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount Site: James and the Sermon on the Mount by Robert I. Kirby and his sources show a strong correlation between the Epistle of James and the words of Jesus in Matthew yet he doesn’t consider the possibility that James was part of what they call Q and M.

          Jesus historicists think that Matthew used Mark, Q, and M while Luke used Mark, Q, and L and Mark may have used Q, too, and that is that. If you don’t assume a Jesus, you don’t need tradition stories to explain away the resemblance of the gospels to the literature of the day.

          New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price combines the work of other scholars to show where Mark got his information. Mark’s Use of the Gospel of Thomas (Part 1) by Stevan Davies fills in the gap Price is missing for chapter 4. If the James-Matthew connection is a source for Matthew, then Luke had to have used Matthew as a source, too.

          Almost every scholarly study used here was done by scholars who accepted a historical Jesus and using the methodology you accept. Most of them assume the parts of the gospel they didn’t study are from tradition. When aggregated, the Synoptic Gospels can be explained with known sources and no need for tradition or a historical Jesus.

          You don’t have to like my methodology. The methodology of the scholarship as is still leads to a fictional Jesus.

        • I tend to be interested in the research of those who have scholarly credentials in appropriate fields and who are taken seriously enough to be published in the best academic journals.

          I don’t know if that’s a reference to yours truly, but either way your approach seems sound. The benefit of focusing only on scholars are (1) there are only so many hours in the day, and you may need to focus–fair enough–and (2) a scholar can simply make a claim about something in that field without a footnote and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

          When it comes to science or history, I’m just a popularizer. I respond to point #2 by giving citations for any important fact on which I’m basing my conclusions. As a result, I think my arguments can be read alongside those of a scholar if I provide sources for the facts and make the argument clear so that the reader can critique it.

    • Here’s what the TF looks like with those obvious Christian interpolations removed

      But does this experiment make sense? Why not just throw the entire TF in the trash because whatever truth it had before tampering (if anything) is now lost? How can this be done objectively, without some Christian goal in mind?

      Of course, if these references in Josephus provided the only credible evidence for the existence of Jesus, that would be a rather weak foundation to build on. But, of course, there is also some additional credible historical evidence within the pages of the NT

      And if the experiment is simply hammering the TF so that it looks like the gospels, it’s guaranteed to tell you zero new information (since anything interesting is already redundant with the gospels), so why bother?

      • David Chumney

        Apparently the experiment does make sense to critical historians who are interested in trying to determine what Josephus actually wrote. It is clear that many of them have no interest in propping up the beliefs of the church. No serious historian is going to “trash” what might well be significant evidence. Instead, good historians will continue to probe that material with the best tools available.
        I realize that there are plenty of well-credentialed scholars who make their Christian biases all to clear in what they publish. Nevertheless, I am confident that there are plenty of others who will handle evidence fairly, without any Christians goals in mind.
        In regard to your second comment, among the scholars who take the “reconstructed version” of the TF seriously, all of them agree that it does not provide any independent corroboration of Jesus’ historical existence, because it is apparently based on hearsay that Josephus has encountered. However, if Josephus’ reference to the death of James is authentic, it does provide independent evidence for Jesus’ existence, because it is very likely Josephus would have known about that incident first hand.
        Rather than continuing to belabor the point, I would recommend that anyone who’s interested read John P. Meier’s discussion of this topic in his book A Marginal Jew, vol. 1, 56-69. And, yes, it’s true: he’s a Roman Catholic.
        I only responded to this particular post because it’s something I’ve read a great deal about. I’m assuming that your blog is not meant to be an “echo chamber.”

        • primenumbers

          “However, if Josephus’ reference to the death of James is authentic, it does provide independent evidence for Jesus’ existence, because it is very likely Josephus would have known about that incident first hand.” – the use of “Christ” would be problematic there for the same reasons the word is problematic in the TF. If in your edited TF you reject the use of the word “Christ” is must also be similarly rejected as not written by Josephus in the James passage.

    • Aram McLean

      Your revision’s still no good. Why would Josephus write ‘receive the truth’? There’s no reason for him to suppose Jesus spoke the truth. Nope. You’re barking up the wrong tree. Just toss the whole thing. It’s a forgery. Right up there with the drinking poison, handling snakes, and ‘let he who has no sin cast the first stone’ later addition to the NT BS.

      • Greg G.

        That’s what Ken Olson shows. He shows that some of the phrases in the Twistimonium are found in Eusebius’ writings.

    • primenumbers

      “Louis H. Feldman (a non-Christian scholar, one of the leading experts in the study of Josephus) has written: “The passage about the death of James the brother of Jesus (Ant. 20.9.1) has been regarded as authentic by almost all scholars”” – so even though Feldman is Jewish and therefore not expressly motivated to demonstrate Christ, we cannot say that of the scholars who he cite in general. The interpolation in this passage is certainly possible given the time-lapse between when it was written and the copies we have. Is an interpolation as a scribal note copied in probable. Yes, it’s reasonably probable should such a note have existed that it be copied in. The amount of scholars thinking it’s not interpolated shouldn’t therefore be taken as any degree of certainty that such interpolations didn’t occur.

      To edit back the TF to remove the “Christian-like” bits is problematic. Doing so renders the passage smaller and even more irrelevant to the flow of the book.

      And what is most important is that all what I’ve said is irrelevant because Josephus isn’t a primary source for Jesus, but at best a source for what some early Christians believed (how early depends on if Josephus wrote it, or some later Christian wrote it). It cannot help us at all determine the truth of Christian claims, yet that is exactly how apologists do use it.

      • Agreed. BTW, I’m guessing your avatar is a listing of the first eight prime numbers, top-to-bottom, with white = 1?

        • primenumbers

          Yes, first 8 prime numbers in binary.

    • TheNuszAbides

      journals such as CBQ aren’t afraid to publish that research

      maybe it makes Ockham’s Modern Razor cry, but maybe a canny Catholic outfit figures they can afford to take the criterion of embarrassment to another level.

  • wtfwjtd

    I find it strange, Josephus supposedly refers to Jesus as a “doer of wonderful works” and “a teacher”. Paul, whose writings pre-date Josephus by at least a few decades, and who was supposedly associates with men who were said to have actually been with Jesus, used no such language to describe his Jesus. Were they talking about different men?

    • primenumbers

      Of course, who ever interpolated into Josephus was going from the gospels, not from Paul.

      • Presumably Eusebius, centuries later.

        • primenumbers

          He’s certainly the prime candidate.

        • Greg G.

          The Ken Olson reference provided by David Chumney gives evidence that Eusebius did it by showing some of the phrases in the TF can be found in Eusebius’ writings more than in Josephus.

      • Greg G.

        He probably got it from the Road to Emmaus pericope in Luke 24. That scenario is not considered here though the case can be made from the evidence presented:

        The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus by Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D.

  • Pofarmer

    Vridar.org has a lot of info on the Testimonium Flavianum.

    http://vridar.org/?s=Testimonium+flavianum

  • Cognissive Disco Dance

    Hey I love Ananus Morissette she’s great thanks!

  • busterggi

    Obvious interpolations – had Josephus written and believed the testimonium then he would have been a Christian and this is clearly not what he believed. The James section is outright about a completely different Jesus, not the Christian messiah.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Considering the number of people who to this day claim to have seen Elvis (long after his death) I’d be more likely to believe he is around… NOT.

  • While the consensus viewpoint about Biblical researches seems to be that Testimonium Flavianum has some grain of truth in there somewhere, I’ve yet to see any kind of majority opinion as to what that grain would be, exactly. Which makes the whole discussion even more confusing. It appears to be so problematic that there’s good argument for junking all of it. If there was a real non-addition nucleus of truth in there someplace, it likely was as short as something like ‘Now there was about this time Jesus; he drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. Pilate had condemned him to the cross.’ But that’s just me, doing a cut/paste right now, and who’s to say what the real thing was?

    I’m not sure how to square the circle of what appears to be a solid paradox: A)Everyone serious agrees that it’s at least partly lies, B)The general, majority view is that there’s some grain of reality in there perhaps, C)Yet nobody can concur on what the grain exactly is.

    • primenumbers

      “Now there was about this time Jesus; he drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles” – except that he didn’t get many followers at all, did he? Later Christianity did, but Jesus himself was not well known enough to make mention in the contemporary historical record, and nobody wrote about him within his lifetime.

      • Great point. I wonder if it was popular during the times of Eusebius to imagine that Jesus had significant numbers of followers during his lifetime.

        But when you look at the process of finding a replacement for Judas, there were only 2 qualified candidates, and (IIRC) the meeting had about 100 people.

        • wtfwjtd

          “I wonder if it was popular during the times of Eusebius to imagine that Jesus had significant numbers of followers during his lifetime.”

          We can safely conclude that the anonymous authors of Matthew(8:1) and John (6:2)certainly felt that way, and likely helped popularize the idea.
          Another funny note about replacing Judas: not only did they only have about 120 guys to choose from, but Matthias was chosen by lots!
          Crank up the slots Martha, we’re headed to ‘Vegas!

      • Hm, that’s an interesting thing to think about. I guess a lot of it depends on whatever original word once is using that gets translated into /many/. For me, it seems to indicate /some, but not a lot really/, as in ‘2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” song still has /many/ fans, though the group has fallen out of popularity’.

        At any rate, the most likely thing to me, personally, looks like it’s all made up, all of it, given how the general flow of the passage gets interrupted while it looks fine otherwise.

        • primenumbers

          Not just what the original word is, but also how Josephus would use that word in other contexts. To me, in context of the paragraph with the english translation as given, it does seem to indicate a large number rather than a small number of followers.

          And yes, it’s all interpolated. The surrounding context tells us that, along with internal evidence like this, like it’s not something Josephus would ever write. If it was about any character other than Jesus all that would be enough to remove the entire passage.

    • Pofarmer

      If you found the vridar.org links I posted, one of them mentions that untill the mid 19th century the consensus was that the entire Testimonium was forged. At that point, it looks like apologists got hold of it and tried to rehabilitate the passage by claiming that at least some of it was genuine. But, all of the lines, nearly verbatim, are found in earlier works of Eusebius. This goes right back to Celsus claiming that the Christians were doctoring their works to respond to criticism.

  • Mick

    I can’t believe that a Christian would ever be dishonest enough to tell lies about anyone for any reason. It’s unthinkable!

    • TheNuszAbides

      ikr? do they really want to be dripping with evidence that they’re boringly and annoyingly ordinary humans?

  • SJ

    “Who Is Mighty Like You?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LEOKajr3QL0

    – The Praise Troll

    • Just what I need to start the week–a song to tell an insecure though omniscient god that he’s still #1 in my book.

      Thank you, brother and/or sister!

      • SJ

        Yes Bob it is exactly what you need because you are a child of God in the making and when you sing to God…..He sings back to you with all the best ideas.

        He could make you praiseworthy some day if you learn to praise Him enough….

        After all….He made you and you’re not chopped liver are you?

        Here’s another song for you to reflect on and take to heart:

        Psalm 91 Song
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=67wC6-kWWSo

        • He could make you praiseworthy some day if you learn to praise Him enough

          It doesn’t seem weird to you that God loves sycophants? God thinks that a good way to spend your time is to remind him of how fabulous he is?

          Wise humans drop such needs. An infinitely wise god would have no such needs.

        • SJ

          No it is God’s way of providing His children a role model. God is the Great Psychiatrist…..we call him “Wonderful Counselor and Friend”…then he trains us up by providing His peronal role model in the pages of the Gospel which are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…..Paul’s testifies to his own personal struggles in learning to follow God’s role model provided in the life of Jesus Christ….but all the apostles except Judas were success stories….that’s why they praise God and tell us the best ways to behave like God’s children.

          You’re probably like me….you have a struggle in this world getting a good spiritual education….everyone does….we wrestle like Jacob unless God blesses us in our blindness..some of us our better at seeking out the blessing though because we play by God’s rules.

        • Wow–where does one start with you?

          I hope you and your Bronze Age god are very happy together. Try to stay out of trouble.

        • SJ

          He just got me out of admin trouble this morning….I was smart enough to pray to Him before dealing with an issue and everything worked out easy as pie.

          Praise Be to God!

          This used to be a favorite song until I realized the lyrics needed to be changed from
          ” shall” to ” have”.

          Divine Diana Ross
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CnzmPrsLXn8

        • Dys

          Do you have any songs about confirmation bias? You need to listen to them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i smell a Coulton-Lehrer-Yankovic collaboration.

        • adam

          “I was smart enough to pray to Him before dealing with an issue and everything worked out easy as pie.”

          Wow, YOU must be ‘special’

        • SJ

          Why can’t I be special….the bible is loaded with special people.

          All the prophets were special, David was special, the disciples were special….

          What made them special?

          You keep identifying with the not so special people….what is making you do that?

          We have to learn to examine our own motives just like Jesus said….

        • Dys

          Well, at least you’re giving up on your false humility. It’s a bit at odds with your whole “people are evil” thing though.

          But it’s clear that your ego needs feeding, and imagining yourself in the same class as biblical characters will certainly accomplish that.

        • Why can’t I be special….the bible is loaded with special people.

          Someone needs a hug.

        • SJ

          I do….as many as I can get….it keeps you sane.

        • Dys

          So the reason for your present condition is that you haven’t received the proper number of hugs?

        • adam

          Certainly hasnt worked for you.

        • Pofarmer

          “You keep identifying with the not so special people….what is making you do that?”

          Assholes like you?

        • Greg G.

          Noah was special and righteous, the best of the bunch including Methuselah, so God spared him and his family and drowned everybody else. As soon as the Flood was over, he got drunk and passed out. Because one son saw him naked, he cursed his grandson’s descendants. Where did he get that power?

          Lot was special and righteous so God spared him and his family when he fire-bombed a couple of cities. Lot got drunk twice and date-raped the daughters he offered to a crowd to gang-rape and when they turned up pregnant, he blamed them.

          Phineas was special and holy. Israelites were taking Midianite wives so he snuck into their tent and ran a spear through each of their bellies. God ended a plague because that murder was so righteous.

          Elijah was special and righteous so when he put God to the test against Baal, he was spared but the priests of Baal were killed. Elijah was able to start a bonfire with prayer.

          Elisha was special and righteous so when some children made fun of his bald head, he called down bears to maul the children. Who gave him that power and allowed him to use it like that? Who gave him the bald head in the first place?

          Do you want to be a special ass like them?

        • SJ

          Prove those people didn’t have demons.

          Hitler most likely had a demon and there were multiple assasination attempts on him.

        • Dys

          Demons: Because personal responsibility isn’t really all that important.

          Of course, there’s no evidence that demons exist, but you won’t let a silly thing like that stop you.

          Your modus operandi is that you’re justified in believing whatever you like as long as it can’t be disproven. Which is an admission of gullibility.

        • adam

          The whole idea of christianity is to TRY and avoid personal responsibility.

        • Dys

          I just thought it was funny that SJ resorts to demon blaming after previously telling me how important the concept of responsibility is to freedom.

        • adam

          It is obvious that he relishes being a hypocrite….

        • TheNuszAbides

          butbutbut Free Will(TM), so we’re responsible for letting demons in because if we would just stop denying them and start wearing the cross and relentlessly praying and singing for everything we’d be set! (not to be confused with Set.)

        • adam

          Hitler was a christian, in the same manner that you are.

        • Greg G.

          Those are all Old Testament heroes. Demons didn’t do that kind of thing in the Old Testament. Demons are a New Testament invention.
          Are these not the special people that you were referring to?

          Noah is the Old Testament hero who built the Ark and fathered the human race after the Flood.

          Lot was Abraham’s cousin who God spared from Sodom and Gomorrah.

          Phineas was Moses’ nephew, the son of Aaron, and a priest. God ended a plague because of the double homicide he committed.

          Elijah was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. He appeared with Moses at Jesus’ Transfiguration. John the Baptist was modeled on him.

          Elisha was the protege of Elijah. He did twice as many miracles as Elijah.

          Have you even read the Bible?

        • SJ

          Giants came from the demonic Nephilim….read Genesis 6….Goliath was a giant.

          The Amalekites were descendants of the Nephilim.

          They didn’t have Christ’s authority to cast out demons in the Old Testament….Christ lends his authority to believers in the New Testament.

        • Dys

          Genesis – not a history book. Goliath is listed as being a few inches shy of 7′. Tall people are not descended from the evil offspring of fallen angels. Furthermore, there is no scriptural support that the Amalekites are descended from the Nephilim; the etymology of the name Amalek is unknown.

          You need to grow up.

        • Greg G.

          Genesis 6:4
          The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

          The Hebrew word for God in that verse is “‘elohiym”, a common Old Testament name for God.

          How could Goliath and the Amalekites be Nephilim when the Nephilim were drowned in the Flood?

          In Mark 12:18-27, the Sadducees ask Jesus about a woman with seven husbands, each of whom died. This refers to Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, in Tobit in the Old Testament Apochrpha. She was vexed by the demon Asmodeus who killed her husbands on their wedding night. The angel Raphael is able to subdue Asmodeus. That is the earliest demon in Judeo-Christian lore. He didn’t possess anybody.

        • “Cuz the Bible tells me so” doesn’t work its magic around here. We’re all controlled by demons.

          I suppose you think illness is caused by demons, like Jesus did?

        • adam

          Piled Higher and Deeper…

        • SJ
        • Greg G.

          That link says:

          At first glance the Old Testament seems to say very little about demons.

          On a second look with scrutiny, they used questionable translations of the words they get as demons. Those verses are mostly about sacrificing and worshiping idols, not actual beings.

        • Greg G.

          Are you going to argue that the greatest Old Testament heroes were possessed? Maybe Jesus’ rhetorical question about how can Satan cast out Satan was just a trick. Satan could pretend to cast out Satan and make it look like an exorcism. So Jesus may have been possessed.

        • SJ

          I’m gonna frustrate you again and deny you an argument. I don’t argue the Old Testament….I used to try to correct unbelievers interpretations because they are so bad I felt pity for them and wanted to make sure they didn’t miss out but no more.

          Those scriptures are a gift of God to the human race and I refuse to scrap like a dog over them. I already gave you the best info…..I can see you’re interested in the scriptures but you’ll just have to go the route of every man trying to get the good Lord’s approval and study them for yourself.

          Remember…I think I told you to read Dr. Stephen E. Jones works online….then you’ll have God’s perspective….you really can’t have God’s perspective when you raise objectives before you know everything.

          So I’m the praise troll now…I finally learned my lesson and I only discuss the scriptures seriously with likeminded people….

          So you take care and God Bless….ask God to show you something….

          Remember Prov. 25:2 and that you’re important to God. Now don’t rest til you get to the bottom of all these scriptural questions you have….God likes to answer Himself from the bible so take your questions to Him there….

        • adam

          “Those scriptures are a gift of God to the human race and I refuse to scrap like a dog over them. ”

          Yes, a gift………….for haters

        • Greg G.

          You were the one who questioned whether the greatest OT heroes were possessed by demons as if you didn’t recognize the names.

          You have seen that the Bible doesn’t say what your like-minded friends say it does. You should stop listening to them.

          So I’m the praise troll now…I finally learned my lesson and I only discuss the scriptures seriously with likeminded people….

          If your scriptures can’t take scrutiny, you really, really need to discuss them seriously with people who are not like-minded.

          If the scriptures are fragile to scrutiny, get out of the echo chamber.

          If they are not fragile to scrutiny, get out of the echo chamber.

          If you don’t know whether they are fragile to scrutiny, get out of the echo chamber.

        • SJ

          You better examine your motives for what you are offering to people. You better be very sure you’re not wrong because you’re affecting eternal destinies.

          I barely scan atheist posts any more….so you better be responsible and check things out properly….I know I’m going to answer to God one day that’s why I don’t turn my hand back from the plow but I can be more careful about where I choose to sow God’s Word and you better be absolutely sure yourself.

          People are far too evil for me to compare notes with just anybody.

          Read an essay or two by Tozer….now that is a strong, clean mind…..and it demonstrates there does exist a difference between a godly mind and an ungodly one.

          Derek Prince used to run with Wittgenstein and he left him to serve God.

          People defect over to God all the time.

        • Dys

          You better be very sure you’re not wrong

          Pascal’s Wager is a terrible argument. But considering the surface level understanding you seem to have concerning most of these issues, it’s hardly surprising you resort to it. Of course, you won’t engage in the same level of introspection regarding your beliefs. Because you just assume they’re true.

          because you’re affecting eternal destinies.

          There’s no indication that eternity is accessible to humanity. And there’s good evidence against the existence of a soul as well.

          People are far too evil for me to compare notes with just anybody.

          Stop making excuses for your laziness, intellectual cowardice, and egotism. It’s pathetic. Your ego can’t hold up to criticism, so you’re inventing reasons to avoid confrontation.

          People defect over to God all the time.

          And people realize how little sense Christianity and other religions make all the time as well.

        • Greg G.

          I’m interested in the truth and following the evidence where it leads. You should try it.

        • Whaaa … ? I thought your last comment was your good-bye.

          Maybe it’s time to leave.

          People defect over to God all the time.

          Just not to your god. More.

          http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/04/PF_15.04.02_ProjectionsOverview_religiousSwitching_640px.png

        • MNb

          “You better examine your motives for what you are offering to people. You better be very sure you’re not wrong because you’re affecting eternal destinies.”
          I have examined your motives and they suck in a major way. That shouldn’t surprise anyone though, because the eternal destinies you offer suck as badly. That specifically includes Heaven.
          As for my motives I repeat: I’m here to enjoy myself. I don’t care at all of you deconvert or stick to your silly belief system. It wouldn’t make me feel good if you did the first either.
          But I do enjoy your arrogance, ignorance and general silliness. You do a pretty good job making yourself look bad. Of course you won’t admit that, so I’m in for some more fun.

        • Kodie

          Nobody seems to care much what you want to waste your time being certain about. Stop trying to warn us, you are fucking silly. I’ve never seen anyone so wrapped up in a fantasy as to determine themselves the messenger of such utter crap. Your assessments of what is a strong, clean mind by your fucking batshit crazy mind is void of all credibility. You seem to think we care who your sources are and that will give you credibility – it’s the other way around. If you can’t think for yourself (as you claim you always do) and speak in your own words, your nonsense actually detracts from any credibility your sources may have originally had. You are a detriment to Christianity. If people are buying this bullshit, it’s because they’re fucking stupid. Most people who buy some version of fantastical Christianity tend to buy one that has a better resemblance to reality than yours does. It depresses me if more people are nearly as stupid as you that whatever you tell them is in any way appealing. You must have hit them over the head with a great big hammer and dragged them off to be reprogrammed by your cult. Nothing you say should have any effect on a sane person, even a sane person with some bent toward the wishful thinking. Yours is batshit thinking. It’s so far removed from reality that I caution you to commit yourself to a facility where you will be kept safe and fed. You can’t possibly survive on your own.

        • adam

          “People are far too evil for me to compare notes with just anybody.”

          Not NEARLY as evil as YOUR ‘god’

        • Dys

          So, as per usual, you have nothing worthwhile to offer.

          I only discuss the scriptures seriously with likeminded people….

          In other words, you have no desire to seriously and critically examine the bible. You’re a coward.

          The honest truth is that you don’t have anywhere near the mastery of scripture that you want us to believe, and you don’t have the qualifications to correct us on scripture. In reality, you’ve been corrected here numerous times, but you want to keep playing teacher, even though you don’t have the ability.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you don’t have the ability

          or any ability is overwhelmingly offset (and then some!) by agenda.

        • Kodie

          Remember…I think I told you to read Dr. Stephen E. Jones works online….then you’ll have God’s perspective

          Is Stephen E. Jones god? Your sentence makes me think you think he is, and you worship a human whom you think speaks for god. Some people do study the bible with diligence and without bias and come up with another interpretation. You are equating “research” with “coming to the same conclusions as SJ’s ‘mini-god’.” And before, you were bragging about thinking for yourself. You clearly do not, if you are recommending some one guy to come around to your own biased interpretations. Try using your fucking brain, and your fucking ears to pay attention, your eyes to read what other people write to you, and tell you something you don’t know. How do you know god didn’t send you here to get help from us? Because you’re absolutely detached from reality and in need of an intervention between you and your cult. You only think you feel better, but you can’t stand the withdrawals. You can’t outthink a rational person, and you can’t recommend biased crap and get the attention you want. You’re wrong and I predict you will be wrong for a very long time.

        • TheNuszAbides

          first Jones was “the world’s greatest bible scholar” (because wouldn’t we be impressed if his peers actually got together to determine something like that? hoooooo boy…). then after a while she made the too-little-too-late-by-miles effort to qualify that that’s, y’know, her personal assessment.

        • Kodie

          You’re only frustrating in that you continue to think you know a damn thing about anything. What nonsense you are! Go please visit a park and tell the pigeons. Nobody here gives a shit.

        • adam

          “God likes to answer Himself from the bible so take your questions to Him there….”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Holy rollers like you are continuously declaring that no one can know the mind of God and then set about spouting garbage about knowing so much about what is on God’s mind. incredible.

        • SJ

          You can’t know the mind unless you have repented and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

          A lot of people haven’t repented and that includes a lot of people claiming the name
          “Christian”…..

          Some people who are Christians could be assuming they are but you are suppose to repent and be baptized….see John the Baptist.

          How can you be made new unless you truly repent and turn from your wicked ways?

          So a lot of people saying they are Christians aren’t….because they are refusing to
          acknowledge Him enough to let Him change them.

        • adam

          “You can’t know the mind unless you have repented and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah ha, the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          Nothing in your comment counters my earlier statement.

          1 Corinthians 2:9-11, which says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” —but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

          When something awkward for the believer to explain about God’s actions is put forward, we get the mantra, “God works in mysterious ways” and “No one can know the mind of God”, yet every holy roller and their dog, you included, has an opinion on what God want’s, needs, thinks or desires.

        • SJ

          I don’t argue religion. I study the circunstances of the bible stories….some of those things still go on today.

          A woman gets an abortion from careless living then. 5 or 10 years later she can’t get pregnant. Why should she? She didn’t revere the source of life or life to begin with….instead she exalted herself against the innocent.

          A lot of people rush decisions without studying long range consequences.

          But it is a common observation that a lot of women who receive abortions have difficulty conceiving later….So why didn’t they protect themselves? Because the ugly sinful world communicated error to them….that’s why.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A woman gets an abortion from rape or incest then. 5 or 10 years later she can’t get pregnant. Why should she? She didn’t revere the source of life or life to begin with….instead she exalted herself against the innocent.

          Fixed that for you ya sicko. About 50% of all pregnancies spontaneously abort so why shouldn’t women have control over their own bodies?

          A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths.) A miscarriage may also be called a “spontaneous abortion.” This refers to naturally occurring events, not to medical abortions or surgical abortions.

          But it is a common observation that a lot of women who receive abortions have difficulty conceiving later….So why didn’t they protect themselves? Because the ugly sinful world communicated error to them….that’s why.

          More ignorant drivel. You are getting too stupid for words now. Google is your friend, use it to avoid looking like a prat.

          Results Induced abortion was not related to future fertility. In the prospective study, the fertility rate ratio (FRR) of the abortion group relative to the nonabortion group was 0.94 (95% CI0.83 to 1.07, P= 0.37). This result was supported by the retrospective study, which again showed no important difference between the two groups.

          Conclusion Induced abortion does not appear to have an important effect on future fertility.

          …and….

          Long-term risks of one abortion on secondary infertility, second-trimester spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, and low birth weight were comprehensively reviewed in 1982 and updated in 1990. These reviews formed the basis for Surgeon General Everett Koop’s conclusion that “the physical sequelae of abortion were no different than those found in women who carried pregnancy to term or who had never been pregnant.”

        • SJ

          Why let an impersonal study drive your conclusion? When you can interview a woman who had an abortion and later on has a gynecologist tell her she can’t have children from it or only with difficulty.

          Besides women don’t own their bodies. God does…..Also half the DNA belongs to the father and the father doesn’t have any say over his own DNA and descendants?

          They should have been careful up front if they weren’t emotionally, financially and mentally stable enough to form a partnership to raise a child.

          Imagine someone had said you shouldn’t be born….you’re too expensive, I don’t have the time….your existence is inconvenient….

          You’ve got to wonder how much we cost the country with the loss of life….those people aborted could have been the next Bach, Einstein, Rembrandt, Etc….They might have helped pay into Social Security….we would of had a bigger pool of people paying into it….but we let politics decide to let people defect on responsibility to themselves and their kids.

          Now politics wants to own all are money for Obamacare after knocking out millions of payees into the retirement and Medicare systems.

        • Ignorant Amos

          More of your inanity.

          Why let an impersonal study drive your conclusion?

          Whaaaa?

          When you can interview a woman who had an abortion and later on has a gynecologist tell her she can’t have children from it or only with difficulty.

          You are just too stupid for words. Because when the majority of women who had induced abortions have no problem conceiving after and giving birth, your one example anecdote is tosh.

        • SJ

          Abortion is a personal decision and you think a woman should let an impersonal study make a decision over the fate of her very own child.

          If your life is ever on the line in a court of law….imagine that the jury goes with a study over your personal testimony.

          You sir are callous beyond belief.

        • Kodie

          You think she should cower to irrational beliefs and emotional appeals? You think making her decision harder to make is saving anyone? It’s making you feel better, but you love to make other people feel worse to make yourself feel better. You love to frighten people unnecessarily with your anecdotal distractions. Being wrong like you are, you have to bully women in need and scare them with scary campfire stories to manipulate them to make a decision you won’t regret. You are ignorant of statistics and want those statistics hidden and deceive women instead with your lies and emotional pleas for them to fuck up their lives just to make you happy. You sick fuck. Christians are sick fucks.

          Do you have a life? You keep coming back here to fight.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If your life is ever on the line in a court of law….imagine that the jury goes with a study over your personal testimony.

          It was and they did. I was acquitted. That was 23 years ago. Yet again you show yourself to be a fool.

        • Kodie

          A judge would not admit evidence that are not relevant to the facts of the case. What you’re doing is imagining that everything someone else does is your own fucking business to judge, because you aspire to be god. You can’t handle just being a lonely old busybody, you want people to answer to you and feel bad because you deem them unworthy of your admiration. That’s something religion does to people, it makes them want to please some non-existent being by being his judge on earth and deciding who is worthy and unworthy to you, i.e. “him.”

          Fuck that nonsense, you are just some asshole on the internet who speaks about horseshit only you can see and keep telling yourself you’re not crazy.

        • Kodie

          Because anecdotes are emotional appeals, and a scientific study removes emotional bias and gives statistical results, which you gleefully ignore. Because you’re fucking ignorant.

        • adam

          “Besides women don’t own their bodies. God does….”

          And you have no problem NOT listening to YOUR ‘god’

        • adam

          “I don’t argue religion. I study the circunstances of the bible stories….some of those things still go on today.”

        • Kodie

          You demonstrate no faith in your god to do what “he” wants to be done, so you decided to do what you think he wants because another person convinced you. You’re really the pawn of that other person, and god is not involved at all. The power of suggestion – you gullible fool.

        • SJ

          No I’m not. I’m like a person sitting on a jury. I heard both sides for decades….longer than you’ve lived….

          I can compare the bible to real life…..and know….gluttony makes people fat….booze makes them out of their minds and unable to protect themselves or function efficiently, porn makes you a slave to your baser instincts and gets encoded in your memory banks gumming up your purer impulses so you fail at relationships, etc…

          Sin is a reality.

        • Kodie

          You’re not sitting on a jury, you are an asshole with an opinion that doesn’t match reality. None of what you say because it’s in the bible means there’s a god, it means there are causes and effects that people can observe. What you are is a gullible idiot. You also seem to think you are much older than everyone, and that should make you wiser, but you sound like you are 7 or 8 years old to the rational adults in the room. There’s no such thing as devils or demons or sin. Yes, some things in this world, consumed to excess are bad for our physical bodies and emotional connections with other people – still no god. That’s just the kind of animal we are. Deal with it, you asshole!

        • MNb

          Nope. God is imaginary so sin is imaginary as well.
          Being fat is not a sin. Being drunk is neither.

        • Saigokun

          God might be imaginary, but sin certainly isn’t.

        • adam

          Sin is imaginary

        • Dys

          Sin is a transgression against God. If God is imaginary, then sin isn’t real.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No I’m not. I’m like a person sitting on a jury. I heard both sides for decades….longer than you’ve lived….

          But not longer than I’ve been alive and you are talking pure bollocks.

          I can compare the bible to real life…..and know….gluttony makes people fat….booze makes them out of their minds and unable to protect themselves or function efficiently, porn makes you a slave to your baser instincts and gets encoded in your memory banks gumming up your purer impulses so you fail at relationships, etc…

          Your so fucking stupid it is making my brain hurt. So the Bible is not real life? Not everyone who over eats gets fat, not everyone that drinks booze gets drunk and your ravings about porn are nonsense, you are just too stupid for words.

          Back in 2009, researchers at the University of Montreal wanted to study the effects of pornography on men.

          As with any scientific experiment, they needed men who have watched or looked at porn, and an equal number of men who hadn’t. The problem? Researchers were unable to find a suitable sample group of men who had never, ever looked at or watched pornography. In fact, they weren’t able to find any men at all who hadn’t. It seems that at some point in their lives—all men watch porn. (Please spare me the #NotAllMen whining). Despite this, sex-crazed men are not roaming the streets in a constant sexed-up frenzy.

          http://www.puckermob.com/relationships/relax-prudes-10-rasons-pornography-is-actually-good-for-you

          Sin is a reality.

          No it really isn’t.

        • adam

          “Sin is a reality.”

          Elbow deodorant

        • adam

          “You can’t know the mind unless you have repented and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

          Even then all you know is IMAGINARY..

        • adam

          “How can you be made new unless you truly repent and turn from your wicked ways?”

          Obviously you cant stop lying, so you never have.

        • Ron

          How do you know that you’re not one of those people who assumes that s/he’s a Christian but really isn’t?

          Here’s a foolproof test to see if you are:

          “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe… They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” Mark 16:17-18 (NLT)

          Kindly demonstrate that you are a true believer by healing all the sick people at your local hospital.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve been thinking. God thought killing everyone with a flood would work out but it didn’t. Then he thought killing one person for no reason would work out. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Let’s see what bright idea God has up his sleeve for his next attempt.

        • Ron

          Here’s a rarely seen photo of God’s first attempt at creating the perfect universe…

          https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/nutty-professor-feature.jpg (Image: Jerry Lewis, “The Nutty Professor”)

        • Greg G.

          The Friendly Atheist has a question from a religious textbook for eight year olds.

          Write a letter encouraging an imaginary friend who is finding it hard to trust in God.

          See this response. It is excellent:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/07/16/found-in-a-religious-education-textbook-aimed-at-eight-year-olds/#comment-2139383363

        • Yeah–demons. That’s the ticket.

          And ya got me–the burden of proof is mine to show that they didn’t have demons. In fact, everything that I can’t prove they didn’t have, they did have. They had wings, they were clairvoyant, they had flatulence.

          Must’ve been cool.

        • TheNuszAbides

          SJ might make a good Dungeon Master.

        • MNb

          Prove that you’re not possessed by a demon. As far as I can tell from your comments you’re a human demon indeed.

        • Kodie

          Everything you don’t like is something you fear has demons about it. Try living in the real world, where we don’t actually have such imaginary creatures.

        • adam

          Special as in DELUDED….

          You STILL havent demonstrated that YOUR ‘god is anything but IMAGINARY…

        • adam

          //

        • Kodie

          You’re not a prophet. You’re hardly conscious.

        • TheNuszAbides

          hardly conscious

          well, to be fair, some of those prophetic trances …

        • SJ

          You better just make up your mind that you’re specially designed….an original….and that shows how important you are to God.

          Just make up your mind to accept the fact that God loves you….You’re made in His image…so just accept that fact…then He can lend you a hand….

          You are so hard headed….just imagine what God could plan for you and you just walked off and left it like a little kid losing a hand held video game….

          You have to choose what you will pay attention to and when you do that you see results…

          I’m terrible at gardening but God taught me to change methods and persevere and now i actually have two plants flowering…I usually kill plants but God is making me better with them….

        • Kodie

          Nobody has to do anything, you lack the credibility for anyone sane or rational to do whatever you tell them they “better” do. Being a fool like you isn’t “better” for anyone.

          Although, I can imagine before you “found” Jesus and were used like a tool by your cult, you likely were a worse person, bothering the living shit out of people minding their own business and doing fine, over some other bullshit. You need attention and you don’t care if anyone likes or believes you. You are sad and lonely and just love the attention you get being here, saying stupid shit over and over while alienating people from your cause more and more. You are detrimental to Christianity. If anyone here was going to be convinced to give it a try, you’re turning them off.

        • SJ

          Spirit in the Sky
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=srbrdZ_EhWo

          -The Praise Troll

        • adam

          .//

        • Kodie

          You are a sad and lonely person.

        • Doesn’t that song say, “I’m not a sinner, I never sinned”?

          Sounds like blasphemy to me.

        • Greg G.

          Never been a sinner I never sinned

          I got a friend in Jesus

          So you know that when I die

          He’s gonna set me up with

          The spirit in the sky

          Read more: Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky Lyrics | MetroLyrics

        • SJ

          Lol….Christians have a dual nature. Old man….New man….prove he isn’t singing from his new nature. It is impossible for the new nature to sin but it does take time for that new nature to mature enough to decide to assert itself.

        • Right–you’re better at gardening because God, not because Home Depot or advice from neighbors or searching on the internet.

          God–the unfalsifiable answer to everything, and hence the answer to nothing.

        • adam

          “You better just make up your mind that you’re specially designed….an original….and that shows how important you are to God.”

          I have made up my mind to seek Truth, unlike you:

        • Greg G.

          You better just make up your mind that you’re specially designed….an original….and that shows how important you are to God.

          Unless you are a monozygotic twin, triplet, quadruplet, etc. Then you are not specifically designed. You are not an original. You are superfluous to God.

        • SJ

          This is God’s view of you….stop rejecting it….How can you become saved with all the rewards if you keep kicking God out of your mind?

        • Greg G.

          This is Santa’s view of you….stop rejecting it….How can you become good with all the presents if you keep kicking Santa out of your mind?

          That makes slightly more sense than your version.

          If God knew me, wanted me, and existed, he would know what it would take to convince me and he would do it. So the problem is that one or more of those three options are false.

        • Dys

          You’re assuming there’s something to be saved from. Maybe if you got it through your thick skull that we don’t accept your unsupported presuppositions, you could stop asking stupid questions. Atheists don’t believe God exists. We reject the entire basis of your religious worldview.

        • Kodie

          Stop rejecting an imaginary figure? Stop rejecting becoming a moron like SJ? Sure, we could all float on your bullshit, and get nowhere, stupidly. We’re rejecting what you say because it is imaginary bullshit. There is no god to reject. There is no view of me from “out there” that you have any access to, certainly. I can’t see how someone as pathetically ignorant and dishonest as you are would be given such a responsibility in the first place. You seem to be so arrogant as to assume it. Stop rejecting rationality, stop talking over everyone and plugging your ears up when we answer. That is what makes you a moron saying nothing worth listening to. Consider how all of us take what you say and respond to it with relevance, and then you do the ignorant moron thing and ignore the feedback or rationalize it to be from devils. What a fucking stupid asshole you have been. Why do you think you are modeling a Christianity anyone would want? You are full of hot air and bullshit – really stinks! Of course we’d fully and insistently reject that. There is nothing of substance beyond the bullshit you keep talking. Why do you do it? Are you trying to gain martyr points at your church? How much money have you given them?

        • Kodie

          Hey asshole, you seem to think it’s god in or on our minds. You are an aggravating pile of utter nonsense. Don’t even try to equate our rejection of the stupid bullshit you say with “god”. I’m not rejecting god, god doesn’t even exist, it’s a fairy in your own mind. You are so delusional to think it’s god we’re rejecting because we won’t simply drool and lose our minds to accept every nonsensical bullshit you have to say. Deal with it – you believe a fantasy that’s not real, and you don’t have the credibility to convince anyone else that it’s real. Sad for you, just fine for the rest of us. There are no problems here for us, just you. Not anyone’s fault you can’t stay away. Deal with it.

        • God is magic? Fabulous. Let me share my favorite Jesus song:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw3eP2JPFIY

        • Dys

          Bet you can’t guess Jesus’s favorite song…here’s a hint:

        • TheNuszAbides

          that reminds me of the crucifix-marionette i wish i’d bought.

        • Pofarmer

          Give everything to the church ir God kills you, great role model. Enslave young women for sex, groovy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          just gave new meaning to “Daddy-O”.

        • Dys

          No it is God’s way of providing His children a role model.

          I really, really hope you don’t consider yourself a role model for us here. That would be incredibly embarrassing for you. Or at least it should be.

        • SJ

          I don’t know if you can be a role model in cyberspace….it is faceless….but you can share ideas that put people on the alert so they can think things over….

          I’d hate to be a victim of someone else’s shallow thinking….I usually think for myself….which is only wise as I will only be judged on myself and not on anybody else’s actions like atheists try to impose on theists…..

        • Dys

          I’d hate to be a victim of someone else’s shallow thinking

          No, you’ve demonstrated that you’re more than capable of providing your own.

          not on anybody else’s actions like atheists try to impose on theists…..

          Your persecution complex is showing. That you aren’t able to handle criticism is your problem. Who’s imposing anything on you? You choose to be here.

        • adam

          “I’d hate to be a victim of someone else’s shallow thinking.”

          Seems as though you thoroughly enjoy it..

        • Kodie

          You failed at your mission. Your persistent “alerts” have no credibility, and now you go like a clown lying and claiming you think for yourself. You obviously do not.

        • Kodie

          Your “spirituality” is the worst. You need a better psychologist, because you are only interested in spreading nonsense. Whatever seems real to you is fake, and you are a foolish idiot in need of counseling to get back to reality.

        • adam

          “No it is God’s way of providing His children a role model. “

        • Ignorant Amos

          …but all the apostles except Judas were success stories….

          Such retarded thinking. Why do you dumb-ass Christians keep painting Judas as the bad guy. Without Judas there would be no Christianity. Judas is the biggest success story of the lot, you are just to thick to realise it. Try reading the recently discovered “Gospel of Judas”.

          “The Gospel of Judas”, originally written at about the same time as those stock accounts, depicts somebody else altogether. Not written by Judas, the writer tells the story of a man specially favoured by the teacher. According to the text, Judas was the one among “the Twelve” who actually “got” the message. Instead of “betraying” the teacher, Judas is actually given the task of freeing him from the “man who clothes me”. Jesus, then, is but a spirit occupying a human body. Judas thus becomes the first Christian.

          Judas is the most important character in the myth of Christianity after Jesus…Christians are just too blind and simple to realise it.

        • MNb

          “He sings back to you”
          What voice type does he have? Bass, baritone, tenor or countertenor? If I tried to sing Child in Time or Catch the Rainbow to your god, would you think he will sing back?
          Here, I have two religious songs for you as well.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b375QyDAEY

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5gW3u_-3FE

        • SJ

          I won’t be able to keep up with multiple posts in a thread. So I might limit myself just to delivering spiritual ideas through music.

          I already know there is a battle for the minds and hearts of people particularly on the air waves so I mostly focus on pure music and classical music these days and put myself on those channels.

          What we focus on affects us…what we look at, what we think continuously about, what we hear affects our wills and can make us disobedient.

          I pretty much focus exclusively on God these days so I can be one of his better children….I’ve seen and heard of His miracles….so I let Him separate me from the world so Jesus can establish peace in my soul that way I can be used for God’s peacemaking purposes.

          We have to actively choose to be like God to be His disciple.

          By the way…God doesn’t literally sing to me….He works through divine inspiration…if I can keep myself spiritually clean then He’ll provide the inspiration that motivates….

          Can’t prove that God exists any clearer than that…He wakes me up with new ideas all the time…Read Psalm 17 verse 3…. He works on His people at night alot….we think we’re doing the work learning the scriptures….but we’re not…every good impulse comes from God as the bible says….

          So make sure this world doesn’t upset your focus, your will or your impulses…that way God will make a way for you…there could be a struggle though…the devil preys upon weakminded people’s weaknesses…

        • Dys

          Can’t prove that God exists any clearer than that

          So you can’t demonstrate that God exists at all. Thanks for admitting it.

          I won’t be able to keep up with multiple posts in a thread.

          Since you just mindlessly repeat the same nonsense over and over again, I’m actually surprised you don’t just have it all typed out and copy/paste it.

          Of course, you still don’t grasp that we don’t believe the crap you keep asserting. But you’re more than a bit thick, and I need to try harder to be patient with people with learning disabilities.

          But the takeaway you should get from this is that we don’t believe you, and you haven’t supplied a reason why anyone should.

        • adam

          “I’ve seen and heard of His miracles…”

        • So I might limit myself just to delivering spiritual ideas through music.

          In the name of all that is holy, no!!

        • Greg G.

          I won’t be able to keep up with multiple posts in a thread. So I might limit myself just to delivering spiritual ideas through music.

          Please don’t bother. Your music sucks.

          No need to keep up in multiple posts. Your ideas suck.

        • Dys

          And here’s a song for people such as yourself who not only believe in God, but have the temerity and arrogance to presume to speak for him.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-PX2Z4r-e4

        • Kodie

          You don’t need to do that. Your mission already failed. Get a life. You can’t accomplish what you set out through evangelizing music videos. There is no need for you to keep pestering us.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i would truly be amazed if any part of any of her Inspired Music vids appealed in any way to any nonbeliever. it’s preaching-to-the-choir to the preaching-to-the-choir-th power.

        • MNb

          “God doesn’t literally sing to me….He works through divine inspiration…if I can keep myself spiritually clean then He’ll provide the inspiration that motivates”
          Sad that you need an imaginary sky daddy to provide that inspiration.

          “So make sure this world doesn’t upset your focus, your will or your impulses”
          Make sure your overheated imagination that produced your god doesn’t either. So I haven’t listened to any song you posted; I have listened to the two I linked to. Very inspirational indeed.
          Without any god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s an imagination dead zone. pure fantasy (per Iris Murdoch, completely dependent on the imagination of others)

        • Dys

          I imagine he sounds like Tiny Tim singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”…only with more slavery and genocide.

        • adam

        • Dys

          Here’s a song about praising God…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZeWPScnolo

        • Kodie

          If there is a god, he didn’t give you any good ideas. You have the worst ideas. If you got them from god, he is terrible. Chances are, you got them from another person who feeds your ego and validates you. Chances are also great that they are in it for the money.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did he make this guy too? Perhaps he shoulda made some chopped liver instead.

          https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/c0/c9/87/c0c98720e58341c5c0d222ebc1abdef5.jpg

        • SJ

          He’s most likely a son of Satan.

          Check the New Testament. Jesus used to call people under demonic influences
          “Sons of Satan” and who would know better?

        • Greg G.

          Sons of Satan is a motorcycle gang. Where did Jesus use that phrase? This is close:

          John 8:44: You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

          Jesus says Satan is a murderer but who did he murder? He killed Job’s family but only did so with God’s permission which is as much on God as Satan.

          If the serpent in the Garden of Eden was Satan, why did God punish serpents? It would be like putting Mitt Romney in jail because someone wore a Halloween mask that looked like him while robbing a bank. If God can’t tell the difference, then Satan could disguise himself as you and every other Christian who ever lived and blaspheme the Holy Spirit. God would then be unable to forgive you and every other Christian according to Mark 3:29. Otherwise, God owes every serpent who ever lived a big apology.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • SJ

          How do you know God isn’t teaching his children to use their reason judiciously?

          You have to be trained to discern good from evil before you can overcome evil.

          Putting God down doesn’t help anyone learn to use their reasoning faculites to overcome evil.

          Look at this passage:

          “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure.” — Philippians 2:12-13

          People were made because making us pleased God.

          Just like most people today have children….because they like children and it pleases them to have them though there are some people who don’t love children.

          But that’s not God….He made us because it pleased Him.

          But sin came along to disrupt His pleasure in us…all we really have to do to please God is to learn to obey Him.

          Now you choose your motive….little children obey their fathers out of fear but the adult children obey him out of love and respect.

          ” Perfect love casts out fear.”

          So why do so many people run with the disobedient children? Maybe because not every adult human being grew up…..some people don’t grow up….and they get pissed when you expect them to be more responsible.

          But accepting responsibility is character building….it makes an adult out of a child….if a child denies accepting responsibility about enough things long enough then sooner or later he becomes a delinquent.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just like most people todaymhave children….because they like children and it pleases them tomhave them though there are some people who don’t love children.

          More ignorant nonsense. Most children are born in third world countries where family planning is none existent. In a lot of places that is down to the Catholic Church…ya know, the Christians? As a result…19,000 children a day die- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. Figures for 2011 show 6.9 million children died from preventable health issues.

          http://thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

        • SJ

          A lot of third world countries are in demonic stronghold regions….Have you ever studied any missionary history at all?

          Missionaries have gone into demonic strongholds and been tortured and sometimes cannibalized.

          You have been deceived by rationalism. The West is only a small percent of the world…a lot of the rest of the world reports demonic activity.

          All the major religions report demons in their ancient narratives not just Christianity.

          Kundalini Warning by Andrew Strom
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2X1HC-3s3uI

          Jesus Christ is the one who casts out demons….not Buddha, not Mohammed….

        • Ignorant Amos

          You a crazy.

          All your burbling nonsense is a non sequitur.

          Just like most people todaymhave children….because they like children and it pleases them tomhave them though there are some people who don’t love children.

          That is still an erroneous statement, dufus.

        • Kodie

          Missionaries are stupid fucking idiots. They go in somewhere and attempt to override the local culture with their moronic fantastical nonsense – meanwhile, these countries are starving, without clean water, or medicine for common but preventable diseases. It’s you fucking idiots who think that’s a “demonic stronghold” and the cure for it is bible study. The cure for hunger is food, you asshole, not bibles. The cure for illness is medicine, you asshole, not evangelizing.

          It’s no wonder they fight back against that stupidity, cultural chauvinism – it’s not what they need, and they are rational enough to give you what you deserve.

        • Dys

          Demons are imaginary – if you’re seeing them all over the place, you need medication. Or stop taking the hallucinogenics.

          There’s nothing for anyone to cast out.

        • Kodie

          You don’t use reason, period.

        • Greg G.

          You said something silly. I responded to it. You ran away from my comment and posted even crazier Christianese. Please address the “sons of Satan” comment and where Jesus said it. You can also address where Satan was actually a murderer.

        • SJ

          Instead of interrogating me and using it to object to God why don’t you use it as a meditative puzzle piece and think how does a supremely holy and benevolent God intend this and check other verses on it. That way you are building your own mind picture.

          You won’t be satisfied with my response because you have set your mind and will to the anti- God bias…..

          So you have to will to change your own bias to try to put yourself in God’s shoes.

          I don’t think you really need an answer of mine unless you are trying to demolish my mind picture and you can’t…Over 300 atheists have already harassed, harangued, insulted me , hate crimed me and one even confided to me on a message board that he would actually kill believers if he could….it was very honest even if antisocial of him to say that…But I never give my mental picture of God to anyone….I’ve been walking with God since the cradle so nobody is going to dissuade me…

          Now I am going to try and cure myself of this posting habit and practice Sam Harris’ conversational intolerance by ignoring atheists until I learn to stay with evangelicals….I seem to be like a little evangelical child though and I always color outside of the lines….but I can learn to be more orderly and stay with my theological kind. 😉

          Being the Praise Troll is really more fun….Responding to posts is too labor intensive.

        • Greg G.

          Responding to posts is too labor intensive.

          You have replied twice to this post and not addressed the point. Responding to posts is no harder than posting one except you have to use your brain to make sense. I can see why that is “too labor intensive” for you.

        • Kodie

          Responding with any relevance and thought is taxing on the crazy lady. Responding to every single goddamned fucking post with whatever tapioca passes through the sieve is apparently not hard for her to do.

        • Greg G.

          Sanity is taxing for some people.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How many comments? All proselytising and preaching. How many on topic? None, because she knows nothing about the topic, just like she knows bugger all about the scriptures she holds so dearly, but of course that is no surprise, very few of the knuckle draggers’s do. Son’s of Satan…what crazy nonsense to be caught out on…not even a mention of Daughter’s of Satan. }8O)~

        • Kodie

          That would presume we believe in any god. If you can’t convince us, that’s your fault, but don’t try to make it our job to convince ourselves for you. That’s you’re own fucking job. It seems you are unwilling to accept that some people do not live in your fantasy world and do not accept what you believe you see, especially the way you tell it. You are a bad messenger.

        • Dys

          why don’t you use it as a meditative puzzle piece and think how does a supremely holy and benevolent God

          And the meditative response comes back – God’s not supremely benevolent. Or God probably doesn’t exist. Duh.

          Over 300 atheists have already harassed, harangued, insulted me

          Stop crying persecution when you’re inviting it by mindlessly preaching. Oh, and you’ve been incredibly arrogant, pompous, and thick as well.

          I’ve been walking with God since the cradle so nobody is going to dissuade me…

          So you’re admittedly close-minded, yet you expect people to be open to your opinions. Just a tad hypocritical of you.

          Being the Praise Troll is really more fun….Responding to posts is too labor intensive.

          It requires no mental effort, which is certainly right up your alley.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are a liar for Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          I expect being called anything “for Jesus” is a compliment to her.

        • Kodie

          She’s an asshole for Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          That could be. Her subject matter reminded me of the results of an enema.

        • Ignorant Amos

          .Over 300 atheists have already harassed, harangued, insulted me , hate crimed me ..

          Ahemmm…bullshit! You keep a running total?

          …and one even confided to me on a message board that he would actually kill believers if he could….it was very honest even if antisocial of him to say that…

          What is your point in making that comment? Do you know how many death threats atheists get from Christians everyday? Do you think all those death threats from Christians are typical behaviour for Christians? Well it is, and it is by virtue of scripture too.

          http://www.atheistrev.com/2011/07/fox-news-facebook-page-full-of-death.html

          Welcome! 2 atheist billboards were taken down last week due to a ton of death threats by ‘christians’. The threats were made to both the people who made the ad, as well as the company who loaned out the sign space…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbr5JfFTxlE

          So don’t come on here whining about some death threats you allege some “atheist” confided in you somewhere sometime….the internet is replete with death threats from all you not-so-nice-Christians.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Godly love letters to Richard Dawkins…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW7607YiBso

        • Ron

          Responding to posts is too labor intensive. ~SJ

          “Don’t worry about what you will say to defend yourselves. I will give you the wisdom to know what to say. None of your enemies will be able to oppose you or to say that you are wrong.” ~Jesus (Luke 21:14-15)

          How’s that working out for you?

        • SJ

          More than 300 people opposing me…and not a dent in my confidence…..I’d say the Armor of God is working just fine.

        • Ron

          Yes, but how many have you swayed over to your position?

        • SJ

          I don’t have a position.

          I introduce people to God for a relationship not a position.

          If they like God then He changes their position and circumstances and adopts them…

          I’m just the praise troll now because I have some knowledge of how good He is.

          Psalm 16 Sung
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tbdUbyo8IRY

        • Dys

          I don’t have a position.

          Yes, you do. Your position is that a God exists, specifically the Christian one.

          I introduce people to God for a relationship not a position.

          No, you make assertions about God, and then run away when anyone asks why they should believe you.

          I’m just the praise troll now because I have some knowledge of how good He is.

          You were always just an ignorant troll. You’re here for your own ego, as evidenced by the various times you’ve insisted you’re leaving, yet you keep coming back.

        • Ron

          Why would you need to introduce people to God for a relationship? Is your god incapable of establishing relationships on its own?

        • SJ

          Everything in Christianity is built on Jesus. Jesus brings spiritual birth of a whole new nature to individuals.

          So if you believe lies about him you can’t receive your spiritual birth in this lifetime.

          Theology should be dogmatic….It is like the DNA code to Jesus’ nature. Jesus blood is all powerful and His spiritual DNA changes and manifests in people.

        • SJ

          God is in the process of building His future kingdom now….one person at a time…He has a date in the future when Jesus will come again to put death under his feet once and for all time. The bible says the last curse to leave is death.

          The New Jerusalem comes down to Earth then. Read the end of Revelation about the New Jerusalem.

        • Kodie

          So you admit you’re doing this just to feel persecuted.

        • SJ

          Don’t know for sure because God gives the increase but I think I got a Muslim and I have a good chance with a Buddhist right now.

          Overcomer. Mandisa
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z29olPjFbqg

          These people are in real life..the Muslim and the Buddhist…not online.

        • adam

          ….

        • Ignorant Amos

          You got a Muslim? Whoopppeee! The Muslims are just as fucked up as the Christians. You got a gullible person to leave a belief in one steaming pile of crap to believe in another steaming pile of crap? Impressive…NOT!

          The problem is, for your great proselytising conquest, Yahweh/Jesus is not doing so well in the other direction.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_converts_to_Islam_from_Christianity

        • Kodie

          No, she got a Muslim cab driver to nearly crash his cab, and she’s so delusional, she thinks that means she got to him.

        • Kodie

          What are you hoping to accomplish by returning to a site that doesn’t believe you and will never be so stupid and gullible to believe you?

          You are working on your martyr badge and you are addicted to attention.

        • SJ

          By the way I don’t need a position because I have Jesus plus evidence up close and personal.

          Jesus helped one person I know with eczema, another person with depression and epilepsy, another person with depression and another person with anxiety and another person I laid hands on got a good radiology report when they were expecting a cancer diagnosis.

          So we have to thank and praise Jesus for all of that.

          And I’ve been praying for interventions for other people I know but their own attitudes might be limiting the interventions.

          God will never force Himself on anyone….you have to love Him and receive Him with humility….

          People cause a lot of their own problems by harboring resentments like a weed in their hearts and minds…..eventually a weed like that will take over choking out your good intentions and blesssings and causing you to curse people.

          In the midst of contagious unholy people you have to consciously assert your will to maintain holiness.

          God is the great gardener and He throws the stinking weed thoughts the philosophers like to plant on you out…..so you can enjoy His beautiful Presence more and more….

          Sun Tzu wasn’t a peacemaker….He taught people to establish control through fear tactics.

          God’s tactic is love your neighbor as yourself….and turn the other cheek and for a rational person that is enough to invite Jesus in who will kick the demons out with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

          God loves people….He sent His Son to beat the devil on the Cross so that the devil’s hold on you willl be broken so that you will never be lost or an outcast again.

          He will adopt you and give you a glorious inheritance.

        • Dys

          In other words, you don’t have anything other than your own anecdotal stories to support your position. Which is really another way of stating you don’t have any real evidence at all.

        • adam

          Wow victimization AND delusion.
          Not unusual to go together…

        • Kodie

          The armor of idiocy is acting of its own accord and leading her back where she can get more persecution points and earn her martyr badge at church. There’s no other reason, other than I suspect the present addiction replaces a former addiction, probably to crack or heroin. If there was meth involved, there’s sure still meth involved.

        • Dys

          and not a dent in my confidence

          Of course not – you’re an attention whore.

          I’d say the Armor of God is working just fine.

          Nah, it’s just your natural obstinance, lack of introspection, and egomania that are shielding you. The fact that people are criticizing you and you haven’t changed your mind on anything doesn’t demonstrate anything about your beliefs. It’s just a demonstration that you’re pigheaded.

          You’re not intellectually honest, so of course you’re not going to engage in any discussion that requires rational thought or forces you to actually contemplate your beliefs.

        • Susan

          More than 300 people opposing me…

          Where did you come up with that number?

        • SJ

          From an estimate of three forums I’ve participated in where atheists engage theists regularly…now I’ve got to add Patheos to the list.

          We need to protect our minds from unholy thinking. The philosophers plant a lot of false ideas in people’s heads.

          But God can weed the bad ideas out of your head if you study and accept Him. He is the Gardener, after all.

          The Internet is loaded with people who have the most unholy ideas congregating together spreading their unholy ideas to each other like weeds.

          Adam was from the earth….and we have to learn to stand our own ground in our own minds to maintain purity and holiness and a godly nature.

          It’s Working
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jd2C8Gmm23s

        • MNb

          “We need to protect our minds from unholy thinking.”
          Why? If I look at you holy thinking only seems to increase silliness, stupidity and ignorance. At the other hand unholy thinking has done me well.

        • SJ

          I’m a child of God and the more I trust in Him the more He takes care of me….so then I can become carefree like a child in my mind…

          Why would I want to drive myself crazy with worry when I can receive each day as a gift.

          Intelligent people worry about the future too much trying to control things they can’t really control.

          I surrender to God and He takes care of me and I really have nothing to worry about.

          I’m the poor kid who was told by my own family I wouldn’t be able to go to college….Yet God made a way for me and I attended 5 of them and have no debt from all that education….

          So why worry….God teaches everybody….read Psalm 23…. He will be beside you every step of the way like any good Shepherd tutor is….

          Worry will make you indecisive and drive you crazy.

        • adam

          “Why would I want to drive myself crazy with worry when I can receive each day as a gift.”

          What is more powerful than the ‘gift’ of self-delusion

        • Kodie

          You’re bragging about how stupid you are. Good for you.

        • Greg G.

          Yet God made a way for me and I attended 5 of them and have no debt from all that education….

          She must have been kicked out five times for not paying tuition or room and board.

          That reminds me of the hillbillies who went to the furniture store. The salesman told them, “The best thing is that you can take it home today and you don’t have to make a payment for six months.

          Pa says, “Run, Ma, they’re on to us!”

        • adam

          ..

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s more to do with your thick skull than anything else. You are just too stupid to know any better.

        • MNb

          Oh, I never contradicted that the Armor of Denial, Ignorance and Self-Delusion is a very, very strong one.

        • SJ

          You must never have met a strong believer. Swindoll wrote this essay once explaining that confidence is one of the four characteristics of a believer.

          Confidence isn’t a lack of humility. It comes from a feeling of experience and self assurance in one’s beliefs and in God’s ability to maintain that belief.

          You need to learn from godly people and stop attacking them….

          You’re the one denying Christians peace because you don’t have any….so get some or leave people alone….

          A lack of personal peace isn’t a gift….it is a living nightmare.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do you have anything to say about the topic of this thread that you successfully derailed with your crappy preaching of ignorant bullshit? If not, can you just fulfil your continued promises to leave and piss away off tae feck outta here.

        • SJ

          Yeah, that’s why I leave….I’m breaking the rules by obeying God and practicing civil disobedience and trying to get people out of spiritual captivity sort of like Moses.

          I know you atheists are important to God….so I’ve got to take my best shot even if it means social ostracism….I’m a big girl and I can handle a little hatred better than most.

          Some day you will all be Joshua and winning every battle….all you have to do is let Jesus teach you how to think like a winner….then the demons will be trembling at you and you can walk into any prison the devil is holding court in and rout him out because Jesus will grant a believer authority to do that.

        • adam

          “Yeah, that’s why I leave….I’m breaking the rules by obeying God and
          practicing civil disobedience and trying to get people out of spiritual
          captivity sort of like Moses.”

        • Are you leaving? Or just teasing us? Because I don’t think your time here is having the effect you want.

          How about a little summary of your position, and then you leave. Sound good?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tremendous idea.

        • SJ

          I’m teasing you Bob….I don’t summarize any more….I’m God’s work in progress….so I merely proclaim God’s grace and goodness….like most prophets do….

          I may be moving over to a more evangelical site soon….All in God’s time though….He tells me what field to move on to and times the move….

          You take care though if I should leave suddenly or get called away and don’t forget you’re important to God….that is the whole reason why the Gospel exists….to raise up God’s children.

        • I don’t summarize any more

          Then how about leaving some more?

          I may be moving over to a more evangelical site soon….All in God’s time though….He tells me what field to move on to and times the move

          God surely can’t be pleased with the work you’ve done here. All you’ve done is given another iota of evidence to our bad interpretation of Christians.

        • SJ

          Ok then Bob S. I will leave you to the Apologists then and stop derailing your thread.

          Like I said I know of another forum outside of Patheos and Disqus….and I could still end up in a foreign country on a missionary assignment….

        • Bye.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Breckmin

          I would have been happy to answer those questions… but like other atheist sites… I once again got blocked from an atheist for answering questions…. this time it was John Loftus at debunking Christianity.

          Same old, same old when you are willing to answer questions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well he did have a point. Stating your God can do anything because he is God is not an argument as I pointed in this comment… https://disqus.com/home/discussion/debunkingchristianity/debunking_christianity_we_are_all_atheists_some_of_us_are_more_consistent_than_others/#comment-2143737781

          But I’m not going to be responsible for derailing this thread after crying about a previous theist doing just that a few days ago.

          I appreciate your candour, although answering questions is less the issue as to how you answer and any underlying agenda one might have. I have been bannhammered from a number of theist sites because the questions got too awkward and the answerers were lacking. Still, I appreciate the effort you’ve made by chasing me up, fair dues.

        • Breckmin

          just a quick response: I’ve never ever stated “God can do anything because He is God.” That is circular and self defeating. There are many things that omnipotence does not apply to and I make that point quite often. I have always rejected the concision of “all-powerful” and replaced it with “all-logically-powerful” (and made the point that infinite logic and infinite order are not a limitation).
          FTR, Bill Craig is weak on quite a few points.. not just “timeless.”
          The Kalam has its weaknesses. There are better arguments.
          God Bless. Always.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry, I should have been more specific. God can do anything he likes or desires because he is God, and by like, I mean, if good likes or desires to do it then it is morally right regardless. If that includes raping babies then so be it. As pointed out by yourself here…

          God sets the standard for what is good in His own universe because He owns everything because He created everything. God owns what He creates and He is rightful JUDGE over everything. Omnisapience, omniscience, infinite might makes absolute right, etc. are ALL linked together… you CAN’T isolate on “might makes right” and claim that you have somehow invalidated the argument… because you are missing (failing to address) connected premises. Infinite might makes absolute right is just ONE of the connect premises tied to owning what you create… tied to being omniscient…tied to being perfectly wise…tied to all of your good characteristics missing from the discussion….tied to being perfectly just and RIGHTFUL JUDGE!

          BTW, the caveat “all-logically-powerful” is still problematic. But I digress.

        • Breckmin

          There are at least a million or a billion things God “will not” do… raping a baby is one of them. God is the Giver and Taker of all life through the sum total of all circumstances so of course in a crass sense as I explained…. every baby that has ever drowned in all of human history does so by God sustaining the natural order of everything (water, lungs, the natural death)… and so in a crass sense God kills us all (but this is because we are under sin and the curse of death as part of God’s logical judgement…. which I know you don’t believe in). Still there are eternal blessing for those who find the truth in the midst of all the deceptions. I pray that you find that truth. (J.C.)

        • MNb

          “There are at least a million or a billion things God “will not” do… raping a baby is one of them.”
          Why not? Because he’s God? That’s the same circular argument you rejected above.

        • Breckmin

          MNb that clearly is NOT the answer (but I’m not going to derail here anymore than I already have).

        • Kodie

          It’s clear that you whatever you think makes sense to you, but you’re unable to make it make sense to anyone else.

          God makes a world in which babies can be raped. Or, he would “never” do what you would never do, “obviously!” Clearly! If it makes any difference to you either, I don’t think god would rape any babies, because he’d have to exist first.

        • MNb

          Thanks for not answering my question. So I repeat:
          why is raping a baby one of the billion things your god won’t do?

        • Breckmin

          rather than talking about what Jesus wouldn’t do, or the specific characteristics of God, or the fact that an Infinite Spirit has no body and therefore rape would never apply….and many other common sense arguments I would bring here… I’m not going to derail this thread any more than I already have. I was just letting someone know that I had been banned for answering questions.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you put a full-page ad in the paper and sue John Loftus for damages?

        • Dys

          I was just letting someone know that I had been banned for answering questions.

          So you dropped by to tell us that you’ve been banned elsewhere for answering questions. Which is completely irrelevant to the discussion here, so there’s really no reason for you to bring it up. Or a reason for us to care.

        • Breckmin

          just letting I. Amos know that I would have been more than happy to have addressed all of his points and questions…and I was not without response…just banned again.

        • MNb

          “an Infinite Spirit has no body and therefore rape would never apply”
          Well, that infinite spirit of yours once incarnated in a human body, so logically could do it again – this time to rape. If Zeus could it applies to your god as well – or Zeus is more powerful. So that’s not the answer either.

          “the specific characteristics of God”
          These define god – ie you’re back at the circular argument “because he’s God” you just rejected.
          Thanks again for not answering the question, despite trying halfheartedly.

          “I was just letting someone know that I had been banned for answering questions.”
          Irrelevant. You won’t be banned here for that reason.

        • Breckmin

          fatuous discussion about a meaningless appeal to the concept of the alleged “possibility” of God somehow “raping” someone. It’s nonsense. You don’t understand the Who God is.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrT8qs8HGRo

        • Ignorant Amos

          SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING, SPOIIIING

          That’s the sound of a bag full of irony meters exploding.

          http://www.jesusandmo.net/strips/2008-12-23.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          Raping a baby is just one of the debauchery experiences an omniscient god has to have. Otherwise a paedophile knows something that God doesn’t and that can’t be right with a know everything god.

        • Kodie

          You know what happens a lot is that Christians become a tedious waste of time. On a blog like this one, Bob will let you go a million miles before you’re banned, but settle yourself in to be called tedious and worse. If another blog doesn’t really like things to get into name-calling, he’s responsible for keeping up the tone of his blog by weeding out continuous wastes of time that exist only to be called names. Maybe you think you were answering questions, but like a lot of Christians don’t actually read the questions first and start going on about the same things already said and have no interest in a two-way conversation. I can understand why a blog owner wouldn’t want to keep wearing people out with that shit.

        • Breckmin

          “a lot of Christians don’t actually read the questions first and start going on about the same things already said..”

          My interest is in answering questions. The person who banned me once called me an “answer man.” I read the question and respond with point for point rebuttal. The accusation was a generalization which dealt with nothing specific. When I’m banned from atheist sites it is usually, “show us the evidence or you are banned”… as soon as I start going through the cumulative case and we start to look at specific evidence in point for point rebuttal (scientific discussions) this is when I get banned. They don’t want their blogs filled up with Christian apologetics anymore than very specific teleological arguments (or the skirt of teleonomy) that can NOT be generalized as I.D. (Intelligent Design… which is hasty generalization).

        • Greg G.

          I have seen several people banned here but none of them were making good points. SJ was the most recently banned. Look at the quality of her posts and how long it went on. Sparkling Moon has posted here for years as an India-style Muslim. Karl Udy has posted here for years as a Mormon. John H2 hasn’t posted for a while but I don’t think he was banned.

        • Greg G.

          and I could still end up in a foreign country on a missionary assignment….

          The ISIS-controlled area would be a good place for you to go. They don’t care much for religious debate either. You would probably fit right in.

        • Kodie

          It’s probably too dark and serious a place to go, but I think she might be smarter without a head.

        • Greg G.

          Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

        • Dys

          So you were lying once again. And you keep giving yourself a free pass on it.

          You’re not a prophet, a counselor, a teacher, or any of the other positions you’ve attempted to grant yourself to stroke your own ego. You’re merely another in a long line of ineffectual Christian proselytizers.

          When you finally leave, don’t forget – God doesn’t exist, Jesus is dead, and we don’t believe you.

        • Kodie

          You can’t do anything other than repeatedly pester people who are done listening to you. You said you were leaving 6 times before, you said you were moving on. It sounds like you want to be forced – it’s the only way to get all the points to make your martyr badge for persecution on an atheist site!

        • Kodie

          I think even evangelicals will think you’re batshit insane and detached from reality. God doesn’t tell you when to move – you determine yourself that you’re addicted to this site and can’t resist even more yammering. Don’t blame that weakness on “god”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, that’s why I leave….I’m breaking the rules by obeying God and practicing civil disobedience and trying to get people out of spiritual captivity sort of like Moses.

          That figures. You do know the Exodus story is an allegorical metaphor, right? It didn’t happen. Which you should be thankful about because the God character in that story is one rotten debased nasty piece of shite.

          I know you atheists are important to God….so I’ve got to take my best shot even if it means social ostracism….I’m a big girl and I can handle a little hatred better than most.

          Yeah but you have now been spouting your tedious mantra for long enough now. It is getting worse than boring. The thread has degenerated to your shite and our abuse. That’s why I’ve started flagging your comments. You see, normally when a religious fucktard pitches up, there is a wee bit of debate. They try and engage with their interlocutors at some rational level, but not you, you are so far up your own hole you have no interest in anything other than the sound of your own ravings.

          Some day you will all be Joshua and winning every battle….all you have to do is let Jesus teach you how to think like a winner….then the demons will be trembling at you and you can walk into any prison the devil is holding court in and rout him out because Jesus will grant a believer authority to do that.

          Pure unadulterated and unsubstantiated nonsense with no basis in the real world.

        • Dys

          That figures. You do know the Exodus story is an allegorical metaphor, right?

          But the important part was for SJ to compare herself to Moses. Because apparently pride isn’t really a sin if you’re using it to feed your own egomania on behalf of Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          I’m a big girl and I can handle a little hatred better than most.

          Nobody hates you. It is your ideas that stink.

          You may have seen brmckay and Kevin Osbourne insisting that God was the whole universe. Before that it was WaterOnMars and others with a similar idea that God is the ground of Being but in terms of Christianity. Often Sparkling Moon stops by with an approach similar to yours but it is a version of Islam from India.

          We ask them all for evidence that supports their ideas but none of them can provide any. Some think the request is an insult to their intelligence.

          If you are such a big girl, then support your claims in an adult manner. Your approach isn’t working. We are not impressionable children nor are we becoming senile, yet. It will take evidence and logic to make your case. You haven’t either.

        • SJ

          Well you’ve grown to used to the Apologetics crowd….but I don’t debate or make claims any more….

          I merely appeal to people with common sense….

          Now there are book smart people who lack common sense and if that is the case in this forum then only an act of God will change things and I don’t control God but I will pray that He sheds light into the mind and heart of anyone reading threads that I post in..

          I don’t try to control people with cases why should I? If God will allow you to use your own mind to reason the wrong way then I’m going to copy him and allow it and certainly not argue to persuade. Because the more you damn any case I make the more trouble you could be getting yourself in from God’s perspective.

          He could be allowing self fulfilling prophecy to occur.

          You rationalized rejecting Him therefore you stay in a rejected state because prophecy could be self fulfilling.
          .
          I always try to talk sense into an atheist…..to look before he leaps out of God’s arms because the fall to Earth is long and hard and the devil is trying to run Earth with his angels…..Read Eph. 2….who do you think the prince of the power of the air is?

          You still have some time to repent though if you haven’t lost your common sense but I wouldn’t wait too long there are cases of early Alzheimers and dementia setting in on people. What if it cut short your time to repent?

        • adam

          “and the devil is trying to run Earth with his angels…..”

        • Dys

          I merely appeal to people with common sense….

          No, you don’t. You appeal to gullible people.

          I always try to talk sense into an atheist

          No, you don’t. You merely assert what you believe, and then run away when asked to support them. That’s not talking sense, that’s selling snake oil.

          You still have some time to repent

          Repentance is fine when it’s required, but it’s nothing to do with any God. And there’s definitely no need to repent in order to pretend one is “saved” from imaginary eternal consequences.

        • Greg G.

          There are also people who are not book smart yet lack common sense. Dunning and Kruger have identified that as a problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I always try to talk sense into an atheist…

          Spoooiiiinnnng! I haven’t seen you talk sense….period.

        • I merely appeal to people with common sense

          No, I don’t think so. If you did, you would be getting a better response. You’re simply spouting your theological bullshit with which we’re already familiar.

          Whether you mean, “I appeal to people who have common sense” or I appeal to people by using common sense,” each fails.

        • Kodie

          You appeal to people who are greedy and self-centered, and stupid as fuck. Nobody here like that.

        • Kodie

          Talking “sense” would include making sense, and you don’t. Making sense means coming up with rational arguments to support your assertions. Telling people “you need to” is not being sensible, it’s being arrogant and bossy, and also delusional and self-centered. I thought pride was a sin. Go take your bullshit to a quiet dark place in your home, and talk secretly to god about your pride problem and your addiction to internet websites where you proudly spout nonsense to increase the abuse because you love it and are addicted to it.

          Seriously, to talk about “demons”, you have an addiction, don’t try to say you’re “talking sense” because your assertions and hallucinations bear no resemblance to reality, and you’re in denial, the first stage of addiction.

          But you already know this, you were addicted to substances, and you were counseled in your rehab to turn your life to Jesus, the only thing keeping you from taking another drink or dose. You still have a problem.

        • Greg G.

          you’re in denial, the first stage of addiction.

          That’s what they told me when I was addicted to brake fluid. I said, “No, I can stop anytime.”

        • Kodie

          Ok, that’s funny.

        • adam

          “all you have to do is let Jesus teach you how to think like a winner”

        • Kodie

          Your best shot is to rapid-fire stupidity and delusion at us? You have delusions of grandeur, and the arrogance to think it’s pestering that changes minds. Pestering your ignorance drives people further from Jesus. You have no credibility, and your mission has failed – you tried your only best trick which is pestering people to listen to your delusions, only to be mocked because you are detached from reality. I know you want us to want you to go away, that will screw up your determination harder because you think you’re wearing us down to belief. FUCK ING STU PID YOU ARE. Your best shot was lame, terrible, nonsensical, and delusional. You painted an ugly picture of a very ugly Christianity, and revealed just how much of a life of fear and no faith someone like you leads. How do we slam the door in your trespassing asshole discourteous arrogant wrong wrong wrong fucking face? How many times will you promise to move on and leave us alone, and why do you keep thinking your best is to keep doing the same stupid things?

          Because you love to feel persecuted. You need your fix. You’re addicted to martyrdom, and you really want to be famous like Moses – cuckoo for cocoa puffs is calling you to model for the cereal box.

        • Kodie

          Some day you will all be Joshua and winning every battle….all you have
          to do is let Jesus teach you how to think like a winner….then the
          demons will be trembling at you and you can walk into any prison the
          devil is holding court in and rout him out because Jesus will grant a
          believer authority to do that.

          It’s an especially delusional world that you live in. Let’s strike a deal with everyone – all us atheists will pretend we’ve converted because you can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something and leave us the fuck alone with your hostile, insulting, and delusional rudeness.

        • Greg G.

          BobS. responded to one of her threats to leave with a simple “Bye”. I took it as the Hammer.

        • Kodie

          It’s the hammer of hope, peace, and justice.

        • adam

          “You must never have met a strong believer. ”

          I have met quite a few in the mental ward of the hospital…

        • Kodie

          You need to stop with the “you need to”s. You’re a gullible moron who keeps yapping away and you don’t have confidence, you have ignorance. You don’t seem like a “godly” person at all, you seem like an insecure bullshit artist with nothing better to do, maybe home on a disability claim. You’re a sad, lonely, pathetic woman in need of attention, and you think it makes you a better person. Nothing about what you’ve said about your religious beliefs indicates you are a better person than anyone else, and demonstrably a worse person than almost everyone I’ve ever met. If you would listen and make some fucking effort to make sense, nobody would fight you. You have to take some responsibility, that if you keep charging in here especially after lying only hours ago that you were definitely leaving for good, you have to accept that everyone here thinks you are not only wrong, not only misguided, but a total clueless asshole with no social skills.

          If you didn’t get it the first hundred times, THAT IS STILL TRUE!

          Stop denying that you’re a fucking crazy asshole who is wrong and ignorant and lazy and knows nothing! That’s the basic only answer you’re going to continue to get here if you wish to stay. There are no more variations, and no point in trying to reason with you, you illiterate dummy fucking asshole. If you don’t have the courtesy, the Christian goddamned fucking courtesy to read, all you’re going to get is the abusive language you deserve. Nobody here is punching you in your dumb fucking face, so quit bragging about how many people are against you. You don’t bring good news, there is nothing to brag about, you bring ignorance and bullshit. Even most Christians I’ve encountered aren’t as fucked in the head as you. They’re wrong about everything, but they don’t lean so hard on the lame excuses as you do.

          Deal with it, asshole. You’re not a good person.

        • Greg G.

          That is the Dunning-Kruger shield.

        • Kodie

          Where are these other 290 people? Are they imaginary like god and Jesus too? The power of ignorance is very powerful, but we don’t give a shit. Why do you keep returning to say more bullshit, your mission failed, and you are only after attention and pretending to be so persecuted because 10 people are telling you you’re wrong, a liar, and an utterly ignorant asshole with no regard for others. You like it when we think you’re leaving for good but then you pop back up like a fucking whack-a-mole. You know nothing, you’ve learned nothing. Tell us what asylum you are quartered so I can alert the nurse to cut down on your internet time.

        • Jim Jones

          I’d like to know if it was fair that Jesus died on the cross so that Hitler could go to heaven and Anne Frank would go to hell.

    • adam

    • Greg G.

      My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus – Jimmy Buffett

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twJYU8MgEpY

      • TheNuszAbides

        My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus

        coincidence? you be the judge

    • Dys
      • SJ

        You’re the steward of the Earth like Adam and instead of blaming God for not intervening you could have intervened yourself.

        Plenty of people do things…they start charities, they adopt foster kids, they give money to charity…

        They don’t sit around blaming God for all their problems.

        Some people take on challenges from the world like they are tests from God and they are determined to pass His tests….

        How can you be a godly person if you don’t learn enough from God to recognize and take on one of the world’s tests?

        “Study to be an approved man”…that is God’s way….how come the world doesn’t point out this superior standard any more….Did everyone get addicted to weak substitutes and distractions…

        This is a vain world….nobody except God really knows how to build character into a person….This world used to not be so vain….but television keeps coming up with more and more channels of distraction…

        The media won’t be happy until we are living in the moral stone age again like a pack of apes….

        People are evil….we can’t even trust them to keep sex off tv during daytime hours when small kids are around to watch television.

        Freedom always requires responsibility. No wonder every time I turn on the tv or open a media news page there is another sex pervert making the news.

        • Dys

          You’re the steward of the Earth like Adam and instead of blaming God for not intervening you could have intervened yourself.

          Who’s blaming God for anything? He’s a fictional character. However, if he were real, there’s a whole host of problems that could be laid squarely at his doorstep. It’s a hypothetical – we don’t believe God actually exists.

          Oh, and Adam never existed. The notion that the entire human race is descended from just two original people isn’t genetically feasible.

          Plenty of people do things…they start charities, they adopt foster kids, they give money to charity..

          None of which requires any belief in God whatsoever.

          This is a vain world….nobody except God really knows how to build character into a person

          God is irrelevant to character building.

          The media won’t be happy until we are living in the moral stone age again like a pack of apes….

          Uh, you’re the one who thinks morality derives from a bronze age deity. And humans are a member of the Hominoidea taxonomic group, commonly referred to as apes.

          People are evil

          Some of them maybe. Not all of them. If you think you’re evil, I’d suggest you have some severe psychological issues you need to work out. Although, if you actually are evil, that provides an incredibly good reason not to trust anything you say, particularly about all the God and Jesus stuff. So thanks for the warning, I guess.

          Freedom always requires responsibility.

          Blaming the media for the fact that morality has changed is incredibly insipid and near sighted. And there’s little to no indication that there’s any divine being to which we are ultimately responsible to. That doesn’t, however, mean that anything is then permitted, as some incredibly ignorant apologists like to proclaim. Those apologists are basically admitting to being sociopaths. Morality doesn’t come from any god.

        • SJ

          How old are you?

          Try asking a few old people if times have changed radically and if the immorality is related to tv.

        • Dys

          Every generation disapproves of the subsequent one – it’s one of the ways you can tell you’re getting older. When you start sentences with “Back in my day”, you’re old. Of course, if you talk to old people, you’ll also discover that racism was for more out in the open and socially acceptable as well…but that kind of goes deflates your entire argument.

          There was a time when people thought rock and roll was the worst thing ever, and led to Satan worshiping along with Dungeons and Dragons. There was a time when Elvis could only be shown from the waist up because gyrating the hips was considered racy.

          That times have changed is merely an indicator that times have changed.

        • SJ

          And I believe the old people were right because they had sharper and stronger spiritual senses than young people do. Christians have to mature…and maturity takes time and dedication….

          ” Faith is by hearing “….

          If you listen to evil ideas all the time it is going to block you from experiencing God’s revelations…..

          Because thinking about evil leads to evil action sooner or later.

        • Dys

          I believe the old people were right because they had sharper and stronger spiritual senses than young people do.

          And they were right about the whole racism thing as well? Because I know for a fact it was far more tolerated back then. Or did that one just kind of slip under the spiritual sense at the time?

          You’re ultimately complaining about things changing. And change is scary, so it’s often demonized, much like your doing. Generally speaking, people become more conservative as they get older. And that’s why the younger generations push new ideas and change paradigms. It’s nothing to do with good vs. evil – it’s just change.

          You’ll be adopting 20 cats and yelling at kids to get off your lawn in no time at all.

        • Pofarmer

          The worlds been going to hell in a handbasket since the very first Preacher.

        • TheNuszAbides

          …By Design!

        • adam

          “Christians have to mature…and maturity takes time and dedication….”

          In 2000 years only a few have matured…..

          Most STILL believe like children..

        • How old are you?

          You’re asking this? You’re the one who can’t imagine facing reality without Sky Daddy by your side to hold your hand in case you get scared.

        • SJ

          It is a very good question….there are a lot of kids on the Internet who don’t have the life experience to deny their elders’ claims.

          Have fun with your show..my fav is the big headress episode…

        • adam

          “It is a very good question….there are a lot of kids on the Internet
          who don’t have the life experience to deny their elders’ claims.”

          Fewer and fewer everyday fall for the bullshit you pander to.

        • Dys

          Considering SJ has definitively stated that she’s only here to (praise) troll, might I humbly suggest that it’s time to show her the door?

        • adam

          “How old are you?”

        • SJ

          I am 54 years old and was born believing in God. Though I never attended church regularly before the age of thirty.

          I did briefly consider becoming a nun at around the age of 16 but I wasn’t Catholic and didn’t have the earthly spiritual connections so I went to college instead.

          It took me a while to get a good spiritual education….I found,out reading John Wesley that some people don’t repent until well after baptism….

          Look at all the babies they baptize…..some of those people repent later….

          Repentance is the truest sign of conversion but most people don’t announce that they have repented so you only have their actions and transformed lives to observe.

        • adam

          “I am 54 years olf and was born believing in God. ”

          It is amazing how much you sound like a 5 year old talking about Santa Claus..

        • SJ

          That’s my new nature you are hearing. I am a born again with a new Christlike nature.

        • Dys

          Your new nature is complete bullshit, based on an ignorance of child psychology? I believe it.

        • Kodie

          You’re proud of your detachment from reality and immaturity. There is no god, only gullible people.

        • MNb

          No, it’s your old picture. Now you look like this.

          http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Voz-WfO9L.jpg

        • adam

          So Christlike nature includes lying to yourself and others, delusions of granduer and an ego the size of the galaxy…

        • Ignorant Amos

          …was born believing in God.

          More tripe.

        • Dys

          No one is born believing in God. They have to be taught. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Kodie

          So before, you thought nobody took you seriously because you’re a woman, and that was not it, so now you think you are older than everyone and we need your “wisdom” – lady, you may be too old to change your ways, but we’re all old enough to know you don’t know shit about reality. Here’s a thought – keep telling yourself you’re not crazy, and it’s us, not you! Keep believing the lies you have to tell yourself to get through a day believing we’re demons because we’re troublesome to you. Keep affirming you’re not such a fool as you in reality are for believing some of the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard anyone, Christian or otherwise, assert in all seriousness. Keep pretending it’s not your responsibility to show any evidence, keep pretending it’s our job to do your job convincing ourselves for you, and keep telling yourself it’s not because you’re incompetent and unintelligent.

          But do it somewhere else.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Try asking a few old people if times have changed radically and if the immorality is related to tv.

          Yeah, because back in the good auld days, before the invention of the TV, those times were far more morally superior, right? How can you be so asinine with just one head?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Those young whipper snappers and all there newfangled sinnin’ ways….you sound like the Christian Taliban…ironically you are using popular music to try and make your silly pants point…

          http://ramblingsdc.net/Cartoons/SinnersRepent.jpg

        • SJ

          You can tell there has been a change to accomodate sinful behavior on tv.

          They used to have a law in the 1950s that two people couldn’t be in bed together on tv not without one person having his foot on the floor.

          We learn and learn to react and how to act from role models and some people spend more time with television than they do with parents.

        • Jim Jones

          Like bible times? Where slavery was OK? Killing your slave was OK? Forcing your wife to have an abortion was OK? Killing your children was OK? Attacking another tribe and raping all the virgins while killing everyone else was OK? Killing someone for eating bacon wrapped scallops was OK?

          Yeah, right. Good times.

        • SJ

          You have been trained in the wrong perspective….you can’t get God’s perspective from an anti-God person.

          When you argue against God you put yourself in the devil’s camp.

          Christ came to destroy the works of the devil so we could be set free from the captivity of sin and death.

          You can be a slave to sin which is an unjust master or a slave to God who is a just master.

          Sin kills a lot of people early.

        • Kodie

          You have no credibility to speak for “god’s perspective,” for one, we still have no evidence of any such god. Secondly, what you speak is detached from reality and the rantings of a lunatic. Thirdly, you are ignorant of statistics, and make up a lot of bullshit or pass on a lot of bullshit anecdotes that do nothing to serve as evidence to support either god’s existence or whatever you think he really wants that he requires you to do for him instead of doing it himself. Third, B, you have no faith.

        • Jim Jones

          > Sin kills a lot of people early.

          Nope.

          Ku Klux Klan members in United States politics

          And then there’s Jesse Helms

          Now let’s look at some people who did die young and see what their sins were:

          Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse was told that senior Church leaders were aware of the crimes of Father Gerald Ridsdale and an “evil” paedophile ring that he operated for decades.

          A royal commission into child sex abuse heard that Father Gerald Ridsdale abused more than 50 children over three decades, including all of the boys at the school in Mortlake.

          In 1971, each of the male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school was molesting children.

          Philip Nagle, who was abused at the school, held up a photograph of his fourth grade class and said that twelve of the 33 boys had since committed suicide.

          So those 12 must have been real sinners right? Not like the ‘good’ priests that molested them who are all still alive?

          You do know everyone here is aware that you’re full of shit, right?

        • Dys

          Hey…I got really, really, really drunk the other day, and something SJ said almost made sense. I don’t remember what it was though, and then I sobered up.

        • Dys

          Or you can realize you’re not a slave at all and the perspective you’re working from is fundamentally flawed in its unwarranted assumptions.

        • MNb

          Of course we can’t get god’s perspectives. There is no god.

          “When you argue against God you put yourself in the devil’s camp.”

          And this is why I won’t convert to christianity. It affects learning skills.
          We have told you that we don’t believe in the devil either. So no, we are not in the devil’s camp.
          But because you’re a stupid christian you will repeat your nonsense ad nauseam.

        • Kodie

          She’s super-willfully ignorant and an attention whore.

        • adam

          “Christ came to destroy the works of the devil so we could be set free from the captivity of sin and death.”

          Uh, it was the works of bible god that created sin and death…

        • Dys

          Nuh uh…your perspective is wrong.

          And yes, that is precisely how infantile you come across.

        • adam

          “You can be a slave to sin which is an unjust master or a slave to God who is a just master.”

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget that some things that were legal six days of the week got the death penalty on the seventh day. You could be killed for beating a slave to death on the sabbath, not for the killing but for the doing the work that killed him.

        • Kodie

          Did the slaves get to take the day off too, since they would avoid being beaten, or were they exempt from sabbath and had to work and knew if they didn’t, they’d be beaten real hard the next day?

        • Greg G.

          Slaves were forbidden to work on the sabbath. Even plow oxen got the day off.

        • Kodie

          If I were going to get a religion, I’d like one that enforced a day off. That doesn’t always work in the secular world, and I know some people who miss things that happen on Saturdays. But it goes too far. In other news, it just took me over an hour to park in my neighborhood because it’s still fucking Ramadan, the basic equivalent to Christianity that must be Christmas and Easter, only it happens every fucking night for a month at 10:20pm. There’s a mosque up the block, and I’ve never seen 1000 of these people come here ever, but they are parked on every available legal or illegal edge of curb for a half mile radius. I love their freedom to worship when it inconveniences residences. Who is persecuted now.

        • Greg G.

          I have to remind myself to not take the shortcut to Arby’s on Friday evenings because it goes by a mosque.

        • Kodie

          TV reflects cultural values, not the other way around, dummy. What you want is your prudish values embraced by society and call them “sinners”. Go ahead, the fainting couch is over there, you dramatic ninny. Nobody gives a shit.

        • SJ

          You talk like a devil….always cursing….always angry….

          TV influences and reflects cultural values….

        • Otto

          That’s right when people use words you don’t like it is because they are in cahoots with demons…do you know how stupid that sounds?

          And BTW that is a rhetorical question…of course I don’t think you have any self awareness in regards to how others perceive you.

        • Kodie

          What does a devil sound like? He shocks you and makes you live in fear? I am merely frustrated that I share oxygen with someone so fucking willfully stupid and ignorant as you are, and so much a liar as you are.

          Your “devil” threats do not do anything, because sane people can see he doesn’t exist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They walk amongst us.

        • Dys

          And the bible supports slavery.

        • adam

          “You talk like a devil….always cursing”

          You do understand that in the bible the devil is the lesser of the two EVILS…

        • Ignorant Amos

          There used to be laws in the 1950’s that enforced racial segregation in the states. There used to laws that denied women’s rights to vote and so fourth. Again and again you display your asininity ridiculous example in order to try and support your stupid bullshit.

        • SJ

          I proved my point and you denied it because you are in rebellion against God.

          bye….I am trying to break the habit of discussing religion with rebellious people…

          I don’t have any desire to entertain your sinful contagious thinking any more.

          I used to try to save people for God but not atheists not any more….you have publicly renounced God so I guess you are at the mercy of the devil now because you refused God’s grace.

        • Dys

          You haven’t proved anything. That you believe otherwise is an indication that you suffer from severe delusions of grandeur.

          bye….I am trying to break the habit of discussing religion with rebellious people…

          Oooh…you’re leaving again? For the fifth, sixth, seventh time now? For realsies? Will you pinky swear this time?

        • Kodie

          You have never proved a point in your life. You are blathering on ignorantly about stories you think are interesting to know, but yeah, please step the fuck off. You have no credibility, and as noted many times, your mission has failed and sees no sign of reviving soon. Go tell a psychiatrist, you will be locked up to keep you from endangering yourself or others.

        • Otto

          bye….I am trying to break the habit of discussing religion with rebellious people…

          Translation: When people won’t agree with me I stick my fingers in my ears and sing “lalalalallalalal”…then I run away.

        • Kodie

          Fools like you are trained to think your arguments can’t make it because we’re in a rebellion with god. Your arguments can’t make it because they’re terrible and bear no resemblance to reality. There is no god, only idiots like you delivering nonsense out of emotional compulsion or addiction to the fears and fairy tales about being saved from what you fear. Guess what? You can’t make us fear what you fear, because you don’t live in the real world. You can’t handle that you’re wrong, so you believe some shitty rumor that it must be we’re in rebellion against your imaginary friend. We’re trying to tell you – it’s you and how stupid you sound to rational people living in the real world. It’s you and people like you who do exist, who do believe this nonsense, and who act on this nonsense to the detriment of our culture. You believe only you can save people and “warn” them of the stupid non-existent consequences that you’re hallucinating. The power of suggestion is a real thing, and if you’re not able to resist it, you might start seeing things that aren’t there. The rest of us can see that you are broken and not capable of adult conversation. It’s not hard to resist you – you make no sense and have done nothing to take care of your credibility. The fighting against you has nothing to do with your imaginary friend, god or Jesus or demons. It’s YOU, the alive, existent, grown adult, who persists in believing things that aren’t true, and arrogant enough to think we’d be to your own personal preferential liking if we just screwed our heads on backwards and think just like you do. You’re fucked up. You are sick. You are not well. Nobody needs this kind of warped “help” to get along perfectly well.

        • Otto

          God’s grace!!!?? The God you worship is a dictator and an asshat.

        • MNb

          See that you’re a liar?

          “I proved my point”

          You wrote several times that you don’t care about discussions, proofs and evidence.

        • Dys

          You mean mindless repetition doesn’t prove things? Damn it, SJ almost had me convinced!

        • adam

          “I used to try to save people for God but not atheists not any
          more….you have publicly renounced God so I guess you are at the mercy of the devil”

          the devil?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…but the imaginary Devil is far more appealing than that piece of shite imaginary God.

          https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/22/99/ca/2299cada0823e5265dd404dde4e313d7.jpg

          And those ten were by permission of God in a wager.

        • SJ

          You could probably be saved if you knew how to analyze your own spiritual blindness.

          It’s your personal problem so examine yourself and compare yourself to a theist….Oh I forgot. …nevermind…..you keep trying to kill the messengers from God with the messages He sends you….you’re like cavemen trying to beat me up en masse on this board really….

          Imagine that….God sends His ambassador ” Me ” to say He wants to adopt you and you keep subjecting me to shenanigans…..

          Well the joke is on you pal…..you used your God given talents against God….to try to commit patricide in your own mind….

        • Dys

          Yay…we can be saved from something we don’t believe in by accepting a god we don’t believe in, and then we wind up in one of two imaginary places we likewise don’t believe in. Do you see the problem yet SJ? We don’t believe you, and you can’t provide a good reason why anyone should. The threat you offer isn’t real, and thus there’s nothing to be saved from.

          Imagine that….God sends His ambassador ” Me ” to say He wants to adopt you

          You’d think an omnipotent God wouldn’t need to resort to using an insipid, ignorant, and sanctimonious troll. So, in a way, you’re good evidence that God doesn’t exist. Congratulations!

        • adam

          “You could probably be saved if you knew how to analyze your own spiritual blindness.”

          I have already analyzed the spiritual and found no blindness on MY PART,

          “Imagine that….God sends His ambassador ” Me ” to say He wants to adopt you and you keep subjecting me to shenanigans…..”

          If THAT is the best YOUR ‘god’ can do, then you can understand why I can’t call it a ‘god’.

          Why would YOUR ‘god’ send such an IDiot for me, I mean after knowing me and what it would take?

          Besides your bible says YOUR ‘god’ is a sinner just like you.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know how absolutely wrong you are. It is YOUR personal problem. The rest of us have no problem, but you have decided to have a problem with how others manage to exist just fine without taking on your faith problems. You have the entire freedom to leave if you want to, nobody is beating you up, these are just words. If you don’t like them, you can fucking go already like you said you were going a dozen other times. Nobody has captured you and tied you to a post so we could all take a turn punching you in the face. If there is a god and he sent you as his ambassador, what a fucking idiot GOD IS. But we know that isn’t true. You whine and complain that we won’t change our minds – that sounds like your own fucking problem, not ours. Deal with reality like reality. You have created this problem for yourself, and it’s none of our jobs to fix that for you by simply believing what you, the lying hypocrite asshole from another planet, keeps repeating. There is no substance, and if there is a god, you would be equipped with plenty of substance.

          You have no substance, no credibility, and no sanity. Please just go back to your church and cry there, nobody here gives a shit how persecuted you feel because you can’t change anyone’s minds with this horseshit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Great, now fuck away off with you silly nonsense, there’s a good child.

        • SJ
        • Otto

          Sexual repression helped create the mess you complain about.

          In the 1950’s women were smacked around on tv and movies for talking back…I bet you pine for those days for that reason too.

        • You’re the steward of the Earth like Adam and instead of blaming God for not intervening you could have intervened yourself.

          Well, yeah, but getting up off the couch is such a bitch. I’d rather pray and empower God to do it instead. That way I can tell myself that I did something but not actually having to go through all that hassle of actually doing anything.

          Now leave me alone. “I Love Lucy” reruns are on …

        • MNb

          “They don’t sit around blaming God for all their problems.”
          Neither do I. But when I take a rest I cannot help noticing that your god doesn’t provide me any help and never has done so. It’s like there is no god.

          “How can you be a godly person ….”
          I don’t want to be a godly person. I’m not an arrogant bitch like you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          instead of blaming God for not intervening you could have intervened yourself.

          instead of deferring to an ever-increasingly-debunked fantasy confabulation, you could have intervened yourself.

        • TheNuszAbides

          should we consider it telling that you fret exclusively about softcore porn and “perverts” and not about the far-more-mass-media-normalized violence?

        • Ignorant Amos

          No wonder every time I turn on the tv or open a media news page there is another sex pervert making the news.

          A fair few of them are Godbots of one flavour or another too. Demon infested according to you no doubt. Your all powerful God has a poor record in head to head conflicts with demons…omni-impotence methinks.

    • Ron

      I prefer more upbeat songs.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iUU6jTqB6k

  • SJ

    Special Delivery to my atheist bros…..the problem with Christianity is the lack of this:

    Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/murray/surrender.ii.html

    i’m the postman from God and the postman only rings twice…..

    Don’t forget you’re important to God and if He calls out to you make up your mind to open the door….

    David Crowder Band
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TCunuL58odQ
    – The Praise Troll

    • You know what your problem is? You understand absolute surrender, but you’re applying it to the wrong god. You should surrender to Allah.

    • adam

      “Absolute Surrender”

    • Dys

      The problem with Christianity is the lack of evidence for its claims and the fact that they have morons like you working for them.

  • Dan Dupree

    Its best
    just not to feed trolls but if you feel you must..Troll Surprise!

    3 lbs road
    kill goat meat (cubed remove hair according to taste)

    1 cuponion
    (chopped)

    1
    tablespoongarlic (crushed)

    2
    tablespoonslemon juice

    2
    tablespoonsdried thyme

    2 tablespoonscurry
    paste

    1
    teaspoonwhite pepper

    1
    teaspoonsalt

    3
    teaspoonsscotch bonnet peppers (minced)

    3
    tablespoons vegetable oil

    1 cup
    chayote (cubed)

    2 cups water

    2 cups white
    rice

    1 1/2 cups
    coconut milk

    Directions:

    (Those of
    tender constitution should cook this outside and wear hazmat suit with
    respirator)

    Trim meat
    and cut into bite size cubes.

    In a bowl,
    combine meat with lemon juice, stir, then add onions, garlic thyme, curry
    paste, pepper, salt, and minced scotch bonnet (habenaro).

    Cover and
    let sit outside in the heat all day .

    Heat oil in
    skillet and brown the meat.

    Add water
    and simmer for one hour.

    Add cubed
    squash and more water if needed and simmer till squash is tender.

    Serving
    Suggestions:

    Pour into
    old 285×40-18 steel belted radial tire and hang from the side of the
    bridge. Troll will eat most of the tire
    also.

    • tasty!

    • MR

      Can’t ride home on a bowl of goat! I’ve always said that. —Ron White

  • SJ

    If you boys and girls are going to start to learn who God is and His real ways then you need to start by watching the Followers of Yah videos….There has been an ancient conspiracy to cover up the true name of God

    You guys need to give up philosophy and other shallow pursuits then submit to Jesus so He will give you the Light so you can learn Hebrew.

    No wonder people are so confused about God and Jesus….the rabbis have been playing a hoax on people for thousands of years.

    3 Short Videos By the Followers of Yah
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLLLBOeGfOdzZPLFUSwzKLTP-_pFM0GwHB&params=OAFIAVgB&v=IbO9kPfD6IY&mode=NORMAL

    Don’t you forget….you’re made in God’s image and Jesus has a plan to adopt you and turn you into men God can approve of if you’ll just stop protesting and settle down everyday and read the bible first thing in the morning…..God’s Word first thing in the morning is better at setting a person right with the world than a newspaper.

    Here’s a nice song. El Shaddai:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DuXB1a3NBCw

    God is the alpha lion with the heart of a lamb.

    • MNb

      I already have learned everything about your god I need to learn: you sucked it from your big fat thumb.
      The more I read in the Bible the stronger my dislike of christianity.

      • SJ

        Then you are hating on your own family….your spiritual family…..and that hate is perverting you.

        We are built by God to be lovers and peacemakers not haters.

        The world has given you a programming virus to go against your godly programming but Jesus has the cure to the world’s viruses.

        • MNb

          My loved ones know better than the nonsense you attribute to me. I don’t hate your god. I don’t hate you either. I do not even hate your ideas – they’re too silly for hate. While I’m totally capable of hate it’s such a strong emotion I save it for very special occasions. Neither your god nor you are one.

          “but Jesus has the cure”
          That cure is worse than the disease, especially as that disease comes from your big fat thumb as well.

        • SJ

          I doubt you know what you’re talking about.

          I’m the most responsible person in my family. When the going gets rough my family comes to me….the old ones passed over the young unbelieving family members to come to me for help and even my unbelieving sibling knows to come to me for help though she won’t acknowledge it is God helping her through me.

          All of my unbelieving siblings’ best friends are believers….but my siblings like to ignore that fact so they can party with people.

          But when the going gets tough there they are coming to me for help and I usually always help….what if I die before them? Then they are in trouble…..

          I used to have an aunt who was married to this guy who ranted and raved about politics and unions constantly even in front of kids. It turns out he was an atheist….a couple of my cousins….children of his that I’m sure weren’t raised Christian died early ….very early from cancer…..while my believing relatives who had cancer or parents who believed in God lived to grow old.

          So I have personal observation validating my beliefs.

          Most people don’t check to see if God will cut off a family line or not….but I think people cut themselves off from God’s protection and place themselves under the devil by the way they live…..Madalyn Murray O’Hair placed her whole family under the devil and all but her Christian son was killed by a man she knew was an ex-con yet she hired him anyway without God as her protector.

          Michal in the Old Testament the wife of David made herself barren by denying God praise. She must have fell under the devil by that show of pride.

          What kind of true Israelite denies God praise?

        • SJ

          over my circumstance…..over my issue ( descendants )

          You Reign
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hi8-3D5KEVw

        • Dys

          This might pertain to your circumstance as well.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your a bat shit crazy loony tune. So, your a legend in your own lunchtime a the matriarch your family rally round in times of need…so what? What has any of that got to do with MNb’s defence of your accusation that he has been perverted by hate?

          I used to have an aunt who was married to this guy who ranted and raved about politics and unions constantly even in front of kids. It turns out he was an atheist….a couple of my cousins….children of his that I’m sure weren’t raised Christian died early ….very early from cancer…..while my believing relatives who had cancer or parents who believed in God lived to grow old.

          So I have personal observation validating my beliefs.

          Seriously? His children died of cancer at a young age because he was an atheist? Are you nut’s. What sick mind you possess. Your head is fucked up big style. You are the perverted one.

          Most people don’t check to see if God will cut off a family line or not….but I think people cut themselves off from God’s protection and place themselves under the devil by the way they live…..Madalynplaced her whole family under the devil and all but her Christian son was killed by a man she knew was an ex-con yet she hired him anyway without God as her protector.

          You are bonkers. Her Christian son was instrumental in assisting O’Hare to have mandatory prayer removed from public schools.

          Murray played a significant part alongside his mother in the ending of mandatory prayer in public schools in 1963.

          William Murray wasn’t kidnapped and murdered with the rest of them because he was estranged from his mother for 15 years. So he wasn’t there on the day, plain and simple.

        • SJ

          He was estranged because he left his mother the founder of American Atheists magazine to become a Christian so he repented of his unbelief.

          He might have cried out….” I believe. Lord, cure my unbelief.”

          Read up on the Spirit of Infirmity….it sometimes includes cancer as a subdemon cf. Luke 13:11. and John 5:4.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what? By your silly pant nonsense it took God 15 years to punish his ma? Really?

          …cancer as a subdemon…

          Wtf? Cancer kills indiscriminately ya moron. Scientists know what it is and it isn’t demons, sub type or any other for that matter.The Bible says nothing about cancer. Your heads away with it.

        • Kodie

          People coming to you for advice must not realize how batshit crazy you are. Family members are often in denial about how far gone another member of their family is. You have no proof that “god” is working through you. If you give good advice, that’s not god…. I doubt your advice is very good if it involves demons and trying to convert people in your family. If I tell you to save your money and stop spending it on stupid trash, that’s not god telling me to tell you, and if it works out for you that the advice was good, that’s not evidence that god worked through me. You created a fallacy to attribute everything to god even though you have no evidence of god.

        • Dys

          So you’re dismissing someone else’s experiences because they don’t match up with what you think their reality should be.

          You’re an arrogant twit.

        • SJ

          I’m just providing you with clues so you can get out of the mental box the devil has locked you in….chained you like a captive dog….

          You use your mind against God creating a reinforced spiritual blindness….

          Read the bible….it is all about escape from the captivity of spiritual blindness on the Road to Self Actualization through acquisition of a whole new spiritual nature.

          The spirit will lift gloom and doom off you and make you more cheerful.

        • Dys

          I’ve read the bible, with far more critical thinking and reason than you apparently. I just don’t automatically assume that everything in it is true, because that’s irrational.

          The devil doesn’t exist, and I’m not in any box. We understand what your beliefs are, but you can’t and won’t defend them, and thus you can’t provide any real reason why anyone should believe you.

          You’re not the teacher or counselor you desperately want to portray yourself as. You’re the nut on the sidewalk with the “The End is Near” placard, raving madly, and expecting people to take you seriously. But you don’t deserve to be. Your “clues” are nothing of the kind, and your delusions are not ours.

        • Kodie

          The clues you provide indicate that falling for this bullshit entails becoming a dishonest sad and lonely asshole like you. Those are the only clues you have provided so far.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I watched the documentary movie, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and all the while I was thinking about SJ and like folk, and how lost they are in the mind fuck they have bought into. I recommend the movie, not least to see what a pair of dickheads Tom Cruise and John Travolta are shown to be.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You really believe that it is not you trapped in the mental box don’t you?

          There are a number of psychological terms terms covering your mentality…delusion is the first that springs to mind.

          Too sad.

        • adam

          //

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you ask yourself why nobody listens to you? You’re detached from reality and feeding grown adults fairy tales that only children and idiots will believe. You have no credibility. There is no virus.

        • adam

          “We are built by God to be lovers and peacemakers not haters.”

          No

    • Ignorant Amos

      That figures…alpha lions commit infanticide too…poor analogy methinks.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB81Q3_Xs64

    • Kodie

      What an arrogant condescending asshole you are.

    • Dys

      God is non-existent, philosophy isn’t a shallow pursuit, Jesus is dead, and you’re an arrogant, pompous idiot.

      But thanks for coming back after lying multiple times about how you were leaving. You’re obviously demonically possessed, and are trying to lead us astray with your bizarre machinations.

      Here’s a nice song for you about Jesus’s brother:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPdFrW076R0

    • adam

      “Don’t you forget….you’re made in God’s image”

  • SJ

    Meh, the phliosophers are like mental Pharisees.

    , “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matt 23:4)

    • adam

    • Greg G.

      That’s pretty good.

    • Susan

      the philosophers are like mental Pharisees.

      I can only assume that someone told you this and you are repeating it as though it’s knowledge and have not bothered to investigate to see why you should consider it true. This seems to be your tendency.

      Can you name a single philosopher whose ideas you are familiar with?

      It’s a yes or no question. Please answer yes or no.

      • SJ

        Apologetics is almost always atheists trying to pretend they are professional philosophers when they are really irresponsible people. So they spend all day casting philosophical burdens of proof on theists. Which theists don’t have to comply with….Our basis is theology not philosophy.

        If you want to play philosophy get a philosopher.

        Can I name a single philosopher? Well let’s see I’ve only attended 2 universities and. 3 colleges… I should be able to come up with one….

        I’ve read Plato, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and had some small exposure to Locke, Hume, Nietzsche, Hobbes, Kierkegaard and a few others who’s names I can’t recall at the moment.

        No more questions please….I’ve decided I’m too conservative for most of Patheos and am sticking to evangelicals.

        My worldview is too old school traditional Christian for most channels on Patheos so I’m moving on and leaving liberals to do their thing. They can read the bible for themselves….and if they don’t want to put the work in doing that they can answer to God later.

        I don’t debate what I know. There are no Christian minds to defend here.

        • Dys

          Apologetics is almost always atheists trying to pretend they are professional philosophers

          No, actually apologetics is something Christians engage in. Atheists deal with counter-apologetics. And what you fail miserably to comprehend is that there are perfectly valid rebuttals to Christian arguments. But because you’ve a childish and ignorant approach to these topics, you don’t want to deal with the concerns and problems people see in the assertions you mindlessly repeat.

          when they are really irresponsible people.

          Translation: they say things you don’t like and don’t read the bible with the same unthinking blindness that you do. They understand that just because the bible says something doesn’t mean that it’s true.

          Which theists don’t have to comply with….Our basis is theology not philosophy

          If you don’t think Christianity incorporates philosophy, then you’ve literally no idea what you’re talking about. If you want to convince people that your worldview is correct, you have an implicit burden of proof. You don’t get to just shuck it off because it’s too much of a hassle for you. This is yet another concept you can’t get through your head.

          Well let’s see I’ve only attended 2 universities and. 3 colleges

          I’d think that with all that learning, you’d not present such an idiotic methodology here. You’ve got no excuse – instead of presenting a learned position or argument, you’ve instead settled on the unthinking, insulting, and ludicrous approach of just repeating variations of the same nonsense over and over again.

          I’ve read Plato, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and had some small exposure to Locke, Hume, Nietzsche, Hobbes, Kierkegaard

          You might have read them, but based on your infantile behavior and inability to grasp basic concepts here, it’s highly doubtful that you actually understood what you were reading. You certainly haven’t displayed any signs of higher education in your time here (despite the constant bragging). You’ve had holes punched in your statements multiple times by multiple people, and you haven’t had anything approaching an intelligent response.

          I don’t debate what I know.

          Or what you pretend to know.

          You’re an egotistical intellectual coward. We know it, and you’ve all but admitted it. If you’re not going to defend your position, then you’ve been wasting your time. You can’t provide any reason why anyone should believe you, you don’t want to anyway, and you’re proud of your deliberate ignorance.

          You need to grow up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well let’s see I’ve only attended 2 universities and. 3 colleges

          I’d think that with all that learning, you’d not present such an idiotic methodology here. You’ve got no excuse – instead of presenting a learned position or argument, you’ve instead settled on the unthinking, insulting, and ludicrous approach of just repeating variations of the same nonsense over and over again.

          Attendance means nothing. The other question to be asked is which universities and colleges? Then one has to ask, why should we believe a compulsive liar? Then you just have to look at her basic communication skills and lack of ability to engage in proper debate to see that SJ is not representative of a person with a third level education.

        • Kodie

          She said she wasn’t accepted to a bible college. I also know a guy who thinks he goes to Harvard because he enrolls in Extension School courses every summer. She might be one of those. I also know a guy who dropped out of every college he attended before completing a single semester at each of them. She might be one of those. Going to five different schools doesn’t mean anything good. 4 if you went to one college, even a community college, transferred to finish undergrad, a masters degree, and a ph.d. makes up to 4 schools, and when you come out, you wouldn’t shit on philosophy or skepticism. This is someone without an undergrad degree, not even from a bible college, who somehow (if she’s telling the truth about it, who knows) attended 5 different schools without gaining anything. For some reason, she thinks it sounds smarter to go to 5 schools than finish one school, even if it was a bible college, and we know they rejected her application!

        • Susan

          If you want to play philosophy, get a philosopher.

          I didn’t say I wanted to play philosophy. You made a claim about philosophers. I think it’s just a claim you’re repeating. I think it’s fair to say that that’s all you’ve done since you arrived here.

          I’ve read Plato, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and had some small exposure to Locke, Hume, Nietzche, Hobbes, Kierkegaard…

          That just tells me you can list some philosopher’s names.
          You made a claim that all of them are like mental Pharisees.

          We’ll start with the first name on your list. How is Plato like a mental Pharisee?

          Which ideas of his lead you to confidently assert that he is a mental Pharisee?

          I’m asking you to support a claim just once, SJ.

          I’m not even asking you to risk your relationship with Jesus to do it.

          You’ve made a general claim and you can safely support it if you’re able to.

          Please do.

          No more questions please….I’ve decided I’m too conservative for most of Patheos and am sticking to evangelicals

          Cognitive dissonance is a bitch. A typical response is to blame the messenger.

          I’m moving on and leaving liberals to do their thing.

          And to categorize and dismiss the person rather than address the subject. Also, to threaten to leave. (You’ve done this a lot but haven’t left.) Show me one thing I have said that would place me in a ‘liberal’ category. I asked you to support a claim. That’s all.

          I don’t debate what I know

          If you have knowledge, you should be able to demonstrate it. I’m not asking for a debate. I’m asking you to support your claim.

          Edit: Accidentally posted halfway through.

        • SJ

          You just shoved a burden of proof on me in your post pretending to be a philosopher and I don’t accept it. I used to have a minor interest in philosophy but no longer.

          I hang around Jesus Christ and the best theologians exclusively and I got no time for liberals or philosophical lightweights.

          Always acting irresponsible while they dump a load of responsibility on someone else.

          Jesus Christ said ” my burden is light ” and it is.

          Cya…I have to leave….people always want to snuff my light out because they don’t have one but I like Jesus Christ….He sticks closer than a brother…

        • Dys

          You’re a fool and a child. Someone asks you to back up a relatively simple claim, and you run away once again. I can only assumed that you’re absolutely terrified of engaging in a conversation that would make you question your blind faith. At least that’s the only rational reason I can come up with for your consistent cowardice.

          Atheists are not going to blindly accept the various assertions you make.

          I hang around Jesus Christ and the best theologians

          No, you really don’t. But your ego seems to demand that you think so.

          I got no time for liberals or philosophical lightweights.

          Your imagined intellectual superiority is just that – imaginary. You’re not even a lightweight; you’re too lazy and myopic for even that level of learning.

          Always acting irresponsible while they dump a load of responsibility on someone else.

          If all you’re ever going to do is run away whenever someone asks you to substantiate your assertions, you’re going to be just as shitty at evangelizing as you are at apologetics.

          I have to leave….people always want to snuff my light out because they don’t have one

          You have a massively overblown persecution complex. If you want to run away, then do so. But stop pretending that you’re just too high and mighty to deal with us poor atheists – it’s pathetic. You’re making intellectually dishonest excuses in order to avoid personal responsibility.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your imagined intellectual superiority is just that – imaginary. You’re not even a lightweight; you’re too lazy and myopic for even that level of learning.

          She epitomises the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        • Susan

          You just shoved a burden of proof on me in your post

          You carry the burden of proof. You made a claim. That is basic.

          pretending to be a philosopher

          I did nothing of the sort. If I have, you can check my comment history and show me in this interaction, where I did. That is another claim you can support without offending Jesus.

          Cya…I have to leave….people always want to snuff my light out because they don’t have one but I like Jesus Christ….He sticks closer than a brother…

          You’re probably not leaving but in case you mean for real, for REAL this time, I asked you to support a claim.

          Suddenly, I’m a liberal, I’m irresponsible and I want to snuff your light out. Oh, and I’m pretending to be a philosopher.

          Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

        • Dys

          SJ has to come up with some lame reason why running away from defending a claim is your fault.

        • Susan

          SJ has to come up with some lame reason why running away from defending a claim is your fault.

          I’m used to it by now. We all are.

          It’s frustrating and often more than a little disturbing.

        • MNb

          No, I refuse to give her the honour of frustrating me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lucky you…every comment she makes has my skin crawling, it is that much idiotic bilge she types.

          The fact that she doesn’t even know her own religion is both laughable and pathetic.

        • MNb

          “…. both laughable and pathetic”
          That’s the key! Laugh at her and she can’t get your skin crawling.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Suppose. Looks like she’s away in any case.

        • SJ

          No I didn’t make a claim….I made a cryptic remark.

          Cya.

        • Susan

          No I didn’t make a claim…

          Did too.

          How is Plato like a mental Pharisee?

          I made a cryptic remark.

          You tried to disparage an entire discipline by vaguely connecting everyone in it to the villians in your book.

          The fact that ‘mental Pharisee’ is gibberish is irrelevant.

          Explain what one is and show us how Plato is guilty of that charge.

          Cya.

          Probably in the next twelve hours based on your pattern of storming off in a huff without ever leaving.

          Either way, good night.

        • Dys

          When you have a fragile faith, obviously the best thing to do is lie and then run away when confronted with criticism. Like you just did.

        • Susan

          When you have a fragile faith, the best thing to do is run away when confronted with criticism.

          She’s not running away from criticism. She’s running away from a request that she support a general claim she’s made that is not even about Yahwehjesus.

          I haven’t asked her to respond to a criticism. I asked her to support a claim.

          It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

        • Dys

          Based on the behavior she exhibits, I don’t think she can tell the difference between being asked to support a claim and criticism. It seems to be one and the same as far as she’s concerned.

          SJ has repeatedly tried (and failed) to pass herself off as some type of expert on theology, a counselor, etc. She sees herself as an authority figure on the topics she rants about. I think SJ sees asking her to substantiate her claims is tantamount to questioning her imagined authority, and she won’t have any of it. And since she doesn’t have any real authority, her only other option is to run away.

          Honestly, it might not even be that her faith is all that fragile. But her ego certainly seems to be.

        • Susan

          I don’t think she can tell the difference between supporting a claim and criticism. It seems to be one and the same as far as she’s concerned.

          There’s nothing wrong with criticism, either. That’s how we critically examine our ideas, test them against reality.

          But I didn’t ask her to address a criticism. I asked her to support her claim.

          It’s an important distinction.

          Either way, she’s not running away. 🙂

          She’s just threatening to. It’s a safety valve for her.

          She is just hitting the reset button. She’ll probably be here tomorrow and just start all over again as though no one had ever asked her to support her claims.

          As though repeating unsupported claims for the umpteenth time would have any impact.

        • Dys

          I imagine you’re right. I think she craves the attention.

        • Susan

          I think she craves the attention.

          I don’t know what motivates her. It’s just as likely that she’s been told to be a warrior for Yahwehjesus and she has responded as unthinkingly to that message as she has to all the other messages that go with it.

          In her worldview, we are all going to end up in an eternal lake of fire. It doesn’t seem to bother her that she can’t support a single claim and that we’ll all burn forever for asking honest questions because she’s never thought about the answers.

          It is our fault.

          She’s just here to get a merit badge in being persecuted.

          And to link to insipid auto-tuned contemporary christian music.

          She could at least have tried the Staple Singers.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rekp7rRcSFs

        • Kodie

          She can’t take an honest look at herself, once she has the Jesus cloak on, she thinks she has super powers. In any case, SJ is the one with all the problems. Why does she, in the first place, think that it’s our job to finish her project for her and do our own “research”, using the sources she suggests until we turn into a dishonest dimwitted delusional godbot like her, or we’re not good enough for her? If she’s not pleased by us, she’s not doing her part to change any hearts or minds, and think we would gladly go out of our way to brain-damage ourselves because her “warnings” and “notices” are so credible and frightening. She comes for the abuse, and blames everyone but herself. She comes here to make hostile claims and accusations, and doesn’t take a look at herself. She knows nothing, but has come upon the realization that trying to convince people the hard way doesn’t work. I almost hate to see someone like her obviously being coached to rationalize and keep her morale up and be compelled to keep trying, but it would help if she weren’t so afraid of demons to listen to what is being said by other people who aren’t making money off of her. Who is the demon? People who give adequate reasons why this shit won’t fly, or people who keep validating her irrational sense of confidence and obligation to her imaginary friend?

          Religion really sucks by making people counter reason as though it is going to damage their faith – because it is. SJ mentioned many hundreds of messages ago that she used to get too close and the demons of atheism almost got to her, so now she has to prepare herself with armor to go into a fight not listening, not engaging honestly, or else she might learn something or be forced to think. If anything triggers her doubt in herself or Jesus, she can easily wiggle out of it with another accusation of us – demons or philosophers or because she imagines we’re all rebelling against her because we’re too young to realize how wise she is at 54 years. Ha ha, that makes me laugh too. A woman that age should get her shit together and stop being so insecure and dishonest. Poor lady.

        • Kodie

          Was your cryptic remark “I’m (never ever) leaving now!”

          Everything else you said was plain and ridiculous.

        • adam

          //

        • Kodie

          If I recall the series of events properly, you were accused by know-nothing SJ of being a philosopher, from the depths of whose colon comes every lame excuse why nobody takes her seriously, and she doesn’t have to because she can’t respond to any criticism of her beliefs. It’s amazingly capacious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If there was ever a time when I really wanted a dough ball to piss off to Croydon, this is it.

        • Kodie

          The problem is you’ve taken on a project you can’t finish. You didn’t think it out, you made yourself come here, and you were outweighed intellectually by miles. I don’t blame you for leaving, I wish you would know that you really should. There’s nothing for you to do here, because all you do is repeat stuff only your idiotic crew of gullible morons would think was spot on.

        • adam

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing but a load of brain farts.

        • Kodie

          All you have is bluster. You don’t have knowledge, you don’t have reason, you have fake excuses for not defending what you’ve come here to say. If we say it’s wrong, you don’t bother to convince anyone, because you can’t. All you have is a long list of excuses you probably believe, rationalizing to yourself that everyone needs to hear this and rationalizing to yourself why they won’t. Would Jesus be proud of you for avoiding responsibility? Would Jesus be proud of you for standing up for him so dishonestly?

          All the times you think you don’t have to, you have to. The real answer you keep hiding from is you can’t.

        • Greg G.

          Otto: Apes don’t read philosophy.
          Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it.
          A Fish Called Wanda

        • SJ

          Almost everyone has a ” philosophy “….because almost everyone has a “worldview”…… Just because someone sits back and prefers watching and not playing doesn’t mean they don’t understand…. I used to refuse to memorize geometry proofs because it bored me but I always understood when the teacher put a proof up on the board and worked it out for the class…I just hated memorizing theorems, etc.

          But I don’t speak in your terms. Most philosophers have made a dominant operating system out of logic in philosophical discussion and that may be because that is their underlying brain type…..their mental operating system…..like a computer has a Windows based system.

          Other people like me are on an intuition dominated system which could be compared to a MAC system…..

          Since a Windos can’t process a MAC. why interface?

          Logic and intuition….two different dominant intelligences exist based on different brain types. God was aware of this fact because He made us and bridged the communication gap by giving the Law and scripture to guide people.

          This is just one of many observations I have that I am sharing as to one reason why I no longer debate….

          Not discussing….not debating….just clarifying……I have a lot of work to do today so I will be too busy to join in a discussion….Take care and God Bless.

          But I won’t return….I am off to more conservative parts….Studying the bible made me conservative….The human race likes its’ freedom but very few handle it well that is why God gave the Law….to set up interpersonal boundaries. Then later Christ came to build up personal boundaries inside people.

          Moses brought the external law.
          Christ brought the internal law.

          The Old Testament Law will be reestablished in the furture kingdom when Christ comes again……read Micah 2 and Ezekiel 40 thru 48 outlines a bit on this future kingdom’s details.

        • Dys

          How many “I’m definitely leaving and never coming back” statements does your egomania demand?

        • Greg G.

          Logic and intuition….two different dominant intelligences exist based on different brain types. God was aware of this fact because He made us and bridged the communication gap by giving the Law and scripture to guide people.

          Yes, people have different approaches to learning. If you want to reach intelligent, inquisitive people, you should not use a technique that only works on gullible people.

          Moses brought the external law.
          Christ brought the internal law.

          The Old Testament Law will be reestablished in the furture kingdom when Christ comes again……

          So there will be a third covenant.

          That reminds me of the guy who rubbed a lamp and a genie popped out. The genie asked, “And what is your third wish?”

          The man asked, “But what about my first two wishes?’

          The genie explained, “Your second wish was to have everything put back the way it was before your first wish.”

          The man decides to think very carefully. He said, “I would like you to make me incredibly attractive too women.”

          The genie said, “Granted!” then added, “It is interesting that your third wish was the same as yor first.”

        • SJ

          Believing is superior to skepticism…..You have to believe in yourself before you can do difficult taks….if youndoubt yourself you will quit without getting anything accomplished.

          Well we trust Jesus to accomplish, establish and maintain our spiritual birth to adulthood and into eternity…..

          Our belief is logical…..who can you trust more than an absolutely benevolent, absolutely powerful being?

          You have tricked yourself into applying skepticism beyond it’s normal boundaries….Because it works in science doesn’t mean it will work elsewhere….

          God has intelligence and He can withdraw when you tell lies about His nature.

          You could have just said you couldn’t make up your mind like an agnostic does but something prompted you to go down the wrong path too far.

          We Speak To Nations
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLpFmZsmpFei3hkmIt1JoaVBwTYcoooKvZ&params=OAFIAVgB&v=ie-UP0N31h8&mode=NORMAL

          Highly Exalted
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLpFmZsmpFei3hkmIt1JoaVBwTYcoooKvZ&params=OAFIAVgC&v=wL2JNedfgWc&mode=NORMAL

          – The Praise Troll

        • Greg G.

          Believing is superior to skepticism…..You have to believe in yourself before you can do difficult taks….if youndoubt yourself you will quit without getting anything accomplished.

          That is ridiculous. Believing is gullibility. When I was a kid, I thought wearing a cape would allow me to fly. Fortunately, I tested from the porch railing before trying it from the porch roof. Skepticism keeps us from doing irrational things. Just believing let’s you believe in anything, true or not.

          You have tricked yourself into applying skepticism beyond it’s normal boundaries….Because it works in science doesn’t mean it will work elsewhere….

          Believing works for Islam and Hinduism, too. They are incompatible with Christianity. Believing doesn’t work elsewhere. Believing only works if something is true. Believing is useless until you can establish legitimate reasons for the truth of a proposition.

          Ignorance is bliss. Take your bliss somewhere else like you keep promising to do.

        • adam

          ….

        • Dys

          Our belief is logical

          The premises are bunk. And it’s definitely not reasonable or rational.

          You’re pro-gullibility. Skepticism works just as well on religious claims as others. Ranting “Just believe!” umpteen million times as you’re doing, however, is silly and foolish.

          Didn’t you have some running away and never coming back to get to? Make sure to stamp your feet and clench your fists when you finally get around to it.

        • adam

          “Believing is superior to skepticism…..”

        • Kodie

          You couldn’t even stay away an hour.

        • Kodie

          You have tricked yourself into not applying skepticism to your ridiculous beliefs. There are very many Christians who have come here, and none so batshit detached from reality as you. Most are merely wrong.

        • Kodie

          You don’t have any intuition, and intuition is not reliable. I’m pretty sure computers don’t use what you use.

        • adam

          “Apologetics is almost always atheists trying to pretend they are professional philosophers when they are really irresponsible people. ”

          No apologetics is what YOU do, claim the bible does not say what it means and means what it says.

    • Dys

      So despite claiming to have read philosophy, it’s apparent that you didn’t bother trying to understand any of it very well.

    • MNb

      Yeah. At the other hand you are a spiritual masturbator – Jesus makes you horny in a spiritual way.
      Disclaimer: this is as much a metaphor as “mental Pharisee” is supposed to be.

    • adam

      “, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s
      shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their
      finger” (Matt 23:4) “

  • King Dave

    Question for you Bob Seidensticker:
    Do you believe the earliest gospel was made up at the time it was written (perhaps a complete fabrication), or the author(s) had something to base the story on, like oral tradition, were actual companions, or from early Christians at that time?

    I am an atheist by the way, but like Christopher Hitchens, I don’t believe the accounts are complete whole cloth fabrications. Probably a charismatic individual existed at that time an left a substantial impression that lingers today. One look at the Middle East and people are still actually being crucified today without the fanfare. I am uninterested in the miracle claims.
    Thanks

    • Greg G.

      I think the Gospel of Mark is an allegory.

      New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price provides most of the sources used by Mark. He doesn’t have much for chapter 4.

      Mark’s Use of the Gospel of Thomas (Part 1) by Stevan Davies does cover chapter 4.

      How a Fictional Jesus Gave Rise to Christianity, by R. G. Price (notice the middle initial is different that above) explains the allegory.

      Even the early Epistles never refer to Jesus as a recent figure. He is always described in terms of the Old Testament. Paul’s Sources about Jesus

      Dennis R. MacDonald, Yale University, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, (2000) explains a lot of how writers used literature to write back then. Review of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark by Richard Carrier covers it well.

      • King Dave

        Thank you Greg, especially for the links. There seems to be some circumstantial proof of the existence of many Christians in that area before and after AD 60, according to Tacitus. That would be before the gospels were written. I am not suggesting the gospels are accurate, proof or even that they are true but merely based on stories told and perhaps first hand accounts. I realize at best it is still hearsay. It has been more difficult to find hisotical evidence to contradict that the written biblical accounts of Jesus was the product of the first Christians who were there at the time, and not a complete fabrication for whatever reason. That seems to suggest that it’s based on someone rather than a complete hoax.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think there is a hoax involved. It is just a sequence of mistakes made while reading texts. There were Christians in the early first century but it appears that they thought Jesus was ancient history, a descendant of David but before or contemporary with Isaiah, as the Epistles and Gospels seem to rely on Isaiah a lot.

          Tacitus wrote about events that happened in Rome before the gospels were written but it is unlikely that his records described what Christian beliefs were at the time. He would have had that information from his own time, after the Gospel of Mark had been in circulation.

          There were many men named Jesus in Judea during Pilate’s governorship and he crucified hundreds so it would have been pointless for Tacitus to sort through 80 year old scrolls to verify that Pilate had crucified a Jesus.

          Every story in Mark can be found in the most popular Greek literature, Hebrew literature, and Christian literature of the day. The deeds were done by other people. Many of the sayings were said by other people. The only sayings attributed to Jesus that were attributed to Jesus in the source come from the Gospel of Thomas which seems to be a Gnostic writing that was not about a historical Jesus.

          Matthew, Luke, and John relied on Mark.

          Paul says that he got his information, not from human sources, but by revelation which seems to be from the Old Testament. A link I gave shows everything he said about Jesus, minus the adoration verses, and an OT source of the information. Yet, he thought he knew just as much as James, John, and Peter, which tell us he didn’t think they knew a live Jesus either.

          Even the disputed Pauline epistles and the other epistles speak of Jesus in OT terms, not as a recent figure.

          The epistles are more excited in the coming of the Messiah. They thought that their reading of the OT, finding “hidden mysteries” during their generation, was a sign that the Messiah would come during their generation. The idea that the Messiah would return to the current generation probably goes back to the propaganda of the Hasmonean Dynasty but it continues to this day.

          I think Mark was written as an allegorical fiction to an audience expected to recognize it as such. The other gospel writers thought it was historical about a generation later and took the allegorical references as prophecies and Matthew added more.

          The extra-biblical evidence for Jesus is too late to be useful. The Gospels are a comedy of errors. The Epistles were about the mythical Messiah built from OT allegories. When the New Testament is compared with the literature of the era, Jesus looks to have been made up.

        • King Dave

          Thanks again, you certainty have given the topic much research and more impressively a lot of thought. I do agree with you, but:

          I considered the fact that the first Christians were actually Jews, who would knowingly be persecuted for their beliefs as blasphemy and condemned as heretics suggests that they wouldn’t follow a new religion haphazardly or casually knowing what the punishment will be, not in the numbers so close to the actual narratives time frame. Plus the idea of martyrdom, especially Christian martyrdom, seems unlikely without some bases of an autual victim close to 30AD.

          It doesn’t seem probable to me that if most early Christians believed Jesus was a historical figure that the first gospel’s claims of definitive dates would fly with them. But I do agree that it is possible Jesus could be completely mythical and attempts at constructing a new messiah may have been very numerous.
          I am fascinated by this topic. And if you have more thoughts, please share them with me.
          Thanks

        • Pofarmer

          Jews weren’t shy about martrying themselves or being persecuted. There is a podcast with Candida Moss who talks about a near revolt when, I think it was Pilate, put up standards in the Temple, they basically came out and laid on the ground to be killed in protest. Also keep in mind, the Essenes priests Castrated themselves, and possibly many of the members. They believed the end was coming and to reproduce would be wrong. The Jews were religious fanatics, and that’s where these stories come from, religious fanatics. Also keep in mind, ancient people didn’t necesarily look at life and death like we do.

        • Greg G.

          There were several sects of Jews who occupied the Temple together, each with some separate beliefs and traditions. They all read the same scriptures but had different interpretations. Josephus tells us that the Pharisees were looking for the Messiah. The early Christians could have been a subsect of the Pharisees who were reading the Suffering Servant allegories of Isaiah as actually being “the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings” (Romans 16:25b-26a).

          The Christians that ended up with the gospels were not Jews from Judea. They would have been second and third generation Christians. The destructions of Jerusalem would have stirred up interest in the city’s religions and why their God didn’t protect them. Josephus blamed the murder of Jonathan, the high priest, at the temple to be why God withdrew from the place.

          Christianity and the gospels had an explanation for the destruction. See Mark 11:12-26 about the cursing of the fig tree, the temple tantrum, and the withered fig tree. Mark expected his readers to get the syllogism that Jesus got mad at the tree, Jesus got mad at the temple, the tree withered… The Parable of the Wicked Tenants at the beginning of Mark 12 also drives home the same point.

          It doesn’t seem probable to me that if most early Christians believed Jesus was a historical figure that the first gospel’s claims of definitive dates would fly with them. But I do agree that it is possible Jesus could be completely mythical and attempts at constructing a new messiah may have been very numerous.

          The early Christians did not believe in a first century Jesus. After the city was destroyed, the Gospel of Mark and Paul’s letters became the primary links to the religion for some. I expect that many of the early non-Pauline Christians got caught up in the destruction of Jerusalem. That may have been why Mark ended with the women being told to tell the apostles to go to Galilee but the women were afraid so the apostles did not go.

          There were many versions of Christianity in the second century. See Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities. I think that explanation explains the diversity of Christianity better than the standard model that I started with.

        • King Dave

          Can I assume your assertion that early Christians didn’t believe in a first century Jesus is based on Saul of Taurus not knowing the details that mysteriously appeared in the forthcoming gospels?

          I can acknowledge that no one knows for certain what these first Christians believed.

          But It is fairly certain that they were most likely lower class, illiterate, poor and living in extraordinary difficult conditions, where basic survival had to be top priority in a religiously, ethnically, racially and politically hostile environment.
          Why then add the incredible risk of heresy and blasphemy with no obvious advantage? Especially if the beliefs were based on nothing tangible but merely hearsay.
          What makes more sense is that there was at least one group of early Christians who actually believed at a great risk to their lives that their messiah had returned in their lifetime, and fulfilled the prophecy as is also suggested in the gospel. And that particular group became the Christian tradition we still see today.

          Again I am an atheist and don’t believe in the supernatural, I am merely suggesting that Jesus was more likely than not based on an actual person at that time and place and not simply a complete fabrication.

          Please respond to this opinion
          Thanks

        • Greg G.

          Can I assume your assertion that early Christians didn’t believe in a first century Jesus is because of Paul, Saul of Taurus not knowing the details in that mysteriously appear in the forthcoming gospels?

          I can acknowledge no one knows for certain what these first Christians believed.

          I agree. I looked at what Paul says about Jesus in the seven least disputed epistles. He refers to Jesus, Christ, Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus over 300 times in about 1500 verses. That doesn’t count pronouns or Lord verses. I gave you this link to “Paul’s Sources about Jesus“, a post I put up a while back that shows everything Paul says about Jesus without the adoration stuff about Jesus in heaven. It appears that everything Paul knew about Jesus came from scripture, not from humans. When I look at the other early gospels, it is more of the same. I think the Epistle of James is a response to Galatians. I once posted James as if it was a Disqus response to Galatians with Galatians passages in blockquotes as I am doing with your post. Apparently they had a difference of opinion about the need to follow the Law. They were like Pharisees with that.

          Galatians addresses some differences of opinion between Paul and the Jerusalem crew. Paul clearly says in Galatians 1 that he got his knowledge through revelation of Jesus Christ but he apparently means the revelation comes through scripture. For example, 1 Corinthians 14:21 is a “says the Lord” quote but it is obviously refering to Isaiah 28:11-12. There are other 1 Corinthians verses that refer to “the Lord said” but follow the Old Testament scripture.

          But Paul doesn’t think the knowledge of the other apostles is greater than his own:

          2 Corinthians 11:4-6 (NRSV)
          4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. 5 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.

          2 Corinthians 12:11 (NRSV)
          11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it. Indeed you should have been the ones commending me, for I am not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.

          But It is fairly certain that they were most likely lower class, illiterate, poor and living in extraordinary difficult conditions, where basic survival had to be top priority in a religiously, ethnically, racially and politically hostile environment.

          Paul and the other apostles used letters so there were some members of the community that could read.

          Why then add the incredible risk of heresy and blasphemy with no obvious advantage? Especially if the beliefs were based on nothing tangible but hearsay.

          The early Christians were more like Pharisees than Sadducees. Neither of them were risking heresy or blasphemy charges so the early Jerusalem Christians weren’t either. Paul’s followers may not have known what the distinctions were between other sects or that there were other sects in Jerusalem.

          What makes more sense is that there was at least one group of early Christians who actually believed at a great risk that their lives that their messiah had returned and fulfilled their prophecy. And that particular group became the Christian tradition we still see today.

          The early Christians were waiting on the Messiah to come. They expected to be alive when it happened. Instead of reading Isaiah 53 as prophecy pointed at the first century, just read it as history from seven or eight centuries earlier. It reads the same but the epistles’ complete disinterest in the teachings and deeds of Jesus make far more sense. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 makes more sense if Paul were waiting on the Messiah to come and the “we, the living” vs. “they who are asleep” makes more sense.

          Carrier and Doherty think that the early Christians and later one, too, thought of Jesus had been a heavenly being in the then ancient past. I don’t think Paul thought that and I don’t see a dispute about that between Paul and the other apostles about that. I do think they might be right about other groups, though, like the writer of Hebrews.

          I used to believe what you are saying, but there is no extra-biblical evidence that is not dependent on the gospels, the gospels are not about historical events about the main character, and the epistles seem to be about someone derived from five-plus centuries old scripture.

        • King Dave

          Great comment greg, I well appreciate it.
          I also appreciate the links too. I am anxious to read and analyze them in order to respond properly.
          I was like you, convinced Jesus was not based on an actual person, and for great reasons that you pointed out and certainly expanded upon.

          But maybe a few points of interest in the meanwhile:

          Paul’s knowledge of early Christian lifestyles may have been gained through torturing them. I question the legitimacy of any confessions or statements these Christians may have made under duress.

          If we are going to use the bible as insight into early Christian beliefs in regards to whether or not Jesus was real or spiritual, then the gospels seem the most relevant source, as they were supposedly written by early Christians.

          As for 1st century Christians not being concerned about the consequences of blasphemy, well Jesus may have begged to differ with you.

          But I understand, you are suggesting 1st century Christians didn’t believe in the future gospel narratives and their beliefs were more in line with those of Paul.
          Perhaps?

          Your post are amazing and very though provoking. Thanks again for your input.

        • Greg G.

          Paul’s knowledge of early Christian lifestyles may have been gained through torturing them. I question the legitimacy of any confessions or statements these Christians may have made under duress.

          Paul mentions that he persecuted the church of God in Galatians 1:13 and 1 Corinthians 15:9.

          Galatians 1:13-14
          13 You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

          Being advanced beyond people of the same age makes it sounds like he was a kid. It makes me suspicious. I don’t know Greek so I could be way off here but the concordance at blueletterbible.com shows that the first meaning of the word translated as “persecute” means “to chase off”. The “violently” is translated in the KJV as “beyond measure” but the Greek is “kata hyperbole”. Maybe Paul was using hyperbole when he said “beyond hyperbole”. So maybe Paul just bullied other children. You know how religious folk exaggerate how horrible they were before they got religion. 80)

          If we are going to use the bible as insight into early Christian beliefs in regards to whether or not Jesus was real or spiritual, then the gospels seem the most relevant source, as they were supposedly written by early Christians.

          Mark was probably written around 75-80 AD. Matthew used Josephus Antiquities of the Jews which puts it at 95 AD or later. Luke used Matthew and Josephus autobiography which puts it at the very end of the first century or later. There seems to be a connection between Matthew and John and I think John may have used Matthew. I think Luke used all three but mostly rejected much of John. But it looks like the authors were using sources that had no connection to Jesus for their stories about Jesus. John seems to have had some knowledge of Jerusalem and says Caiaphas was Ananus’ son-in-law, which is plausible according to Josephus though he does not say it.

          As for 1st century Christians not being concerned about the consequences of blasphemy, well Jesus may have begged to differ with you.

          But I understand, you are suggesting 1st century Christians didn’t believe in the future gospel narratives and their beliefs were more in line with those of Paul.
          Perhaps?

          It seems that the Jerusalem Christians were a sect of Jews. They insisted on following the Law and seemed skeptical about Gentiles. Paul argued that the message was for everyone, citing verses about “the nations”.

          Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was Hellenized. He brought a lot of Greek thought into Judaism and said that Plato and Aristotle got information from Moses. He took the Greek idea of Logos (which was not exactly a stable concept of the Greeks) and IIRC he called it the only begotten son of God. The Gospel of John uses that philosophy.

          Mark had Jesus adopted by God after he was baptized for the remission of sins. The later gospels have Jesus being Holy from before birth and are reluctant to have Jesus requiring baptism. Matthew has John the Baptist asking permission. Luke moves up a mention of JtB being arrested to the verse before it says Jesus was baptized with no mention of who did it. In John, JtB talks about it the baptism more as an observer than the person who did it.

        • MR

          Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was Hellenized. He brought a lot of Greek thought into Judaism and said that Plato and Aristotle got information from Moses.

          Ok, you inspired me to at least crack Philo open (Alexandria is on my itinerary). I’m reading about the life of Moses and about Moses being exposed by his parents and the general customs regarding such things:

          For people in general do not look upon one who has not lived long enough to partake of salutary food as a human being at all.

          Interesting comment for conversations currently happening elsewhere on this blog regarding abortions.

        • King Dave

          What I find most interesting is Paul confirms the existence of early Christians. This is profound because they were not under the influence of his visions, interpretations and future narratives of what they truly believed. In other words, we must take Paul’s word for it, a confessed persecuter of these Christians. Paul may have simply hijacked Christianity which sometimes is referred to as Pauline Christians.
          I do use a lot of assumptions, speculations and assertions but that’s all we can do in the absence of historical corroborating evidence. I am also not aware of Paul’s influence on 1st century Christians in Jerusalem prior to the first written gospel. My guess is that his knowledge of that obscure sect like many outsiders would have be very limited.

          I believe you said before that there were probably many sects of early Christians, I also believe this to be the case, not only because it a helps both are arguments but seems logical. It also seems likely that the idea of 1st Century Christians still waiting for this Christ would be not be Christians at all, but merely orthodox Jews? So another reason to conclude a least one sect believed they had a real candidate that met some of the criteria for Christ.

          Perhaps many atheists subconsciously lean towards Paul in order to conclude the hypotheses that Jesus was merely spiritual rather than real in the absence of historical evidence? And stick it to them Christians.

          I still have lots more reading ahead

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ever hear of General Ned Ludd and the Luddites?

          Ludd was never a single real person. The term referred to a leader, and could be assumed by anyone leading a group of frame breakers. Contemporaries often used fictitious names like this to ensure that they retained anonymity. So letters in the name of Ludd were circulated to indicate to recipients where they had come from without giving away any particular people.

          http://www.nottsheritagegateway.org.uk/people/luddites.htm

          Or John Fromm and the Cargo Cults of the Pacific?

          The Cargo Cult had a name for the diety in heaven. He was called John Fromm. It is not certain how this name arose but quite possibly it was from American soldiers identifying themselves by their place of origin: i.e., I am John from Indiana or I am John from Minneapolis. Some clever business began marketing products under the name John Fromm. For example, soap bars were labeled John Fromm Soap. When it was a choice between ordinary soap and God’s soap, it was no contest. It was clear which one would get you heavenly clean.

          http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cargocult.htm

          These things going on in the 19th and 20th centuries with all the means of modernity at hand, is it too much to think such a state of affairs 2000 years ago?

        • MR

          Right? Look how a charismatic leader can deceive and get people to do crazy shit even today. Jones, Koresh, the Taliban, ISIS, your local Amway dealer, Apple…, these people are just insidious, yet people believe and follow them in droves.

        • King Dave

          But using Ignorant Amos same logic, Jones and Koresh were merely mythical figures used by con men into suicide and murder.

        • MR

          Eh? I think you got confused. Amos and I are using similar but distinct examples. I’m not trying to make a logical connection between him and me. I’m pointing out your statement is unfounded. You said:

          This is profound because they were not under the influence of his [Paul’s] visions, interpretations and future narratives of what they truly believed.

          Piggybacking on Amos, my point is that even in modern times people can make other people believe crazy shit—just like Paul did. Your statement is far from “profound”—it happens all the time.

          I’d like to revisit a couple of my questions that you didn’t respond to earlier. You had stated:

          Even the host of this blog, Bob S if I am reading his response to my question correct, is leaning towards Jesus being loosely based on an actual madman.

          As near as I can tell, this was Bob’s response to you, and i don’t see anything remotely suggesting that. Can you explain why you made that statement?

          Also, I had asked:

          May I enquire as to why you are an atheist? Were you always? If not, what convinced you?

          I don’t believe you responded. Would you care to respond or did you intentionally avoid doing so?

        • King Dave

          Certainly not avoiding anyone, I missed your original questions. I work exclusively on a android, not a pc. Block quotes appear to be unavailable and navigation through the discuss email system is new to me, and a little challenging at this point.

          I have been an atheists for 25 yrs. I reached this conclusion on my own, not even knowing or reading about another’s point of view. This was right before the Internet, information was harder to come by.
          I was raised by Christians and was forced to attend Sunday school for years. I was an alter boy by my own choice, (never molested btw) I just liked lighting the candles and participating in service. I read scriptures to those in attendance at 13 years old. But I really started doubting this stuff at age 6 because I was convinced of science such as the Earth was not 6000 yrs old at age 6. These old pastors were creationists and I realized sadly they were simply ignorant from lack of education and an open mind.

          With that said, I don’t see where my atheism conflicts with the belief that Jesus was based on a person rather than completely fabricated. You’ll have to kindly explain why you do apparently?

          Historical evidence is unavailable on pre Paul 1st century Christianity, and as I have said, the concensus is on my side, with famous atheists like Christopher Hitchens for one. Surely you are not suggesting that Hitchens is actually not an atheists, as he also believes Jesus was based on an actual person and event, as I have linked his views in a previous post.
          I have laid out how I’ve personally came to this conclusion in numerous posts here, and I believe I have done this very well.
          I also did believe Jesus was completely fabricated, but I reopened this due to later inquiry based exchanges on atheist blogs, intrrnet searches such as it appears most historians believe otherwise. I now lean, I’ll repeat lean, towards believing Jesus was based on an actual person for reasons I have stated.

          As for Bob S, I read his response, and it appears he is open to the question. If I have misinterpreted Bob, I apologize sincerely to him. It doesn’t change my conclusion on the topic however.
          Bob answered my questions to my satisfaction, and I have no further inquiries at this point. If you do, perhaps you should take it up with him.

          If I missed something, let me know.
          I do a bit of editing before I am finished.

          Finally, It is fair for me to state conclusively:

          I don’t know for certain if Jesus was based on a real person or not, but I do know for certain, either does anyone else.

        • Greg G.

          Block quotes are unavailable to me and navigation through the discuss email system is new to me, and a little challenging at this point.

          We are all in the same boat with Disqus.

          The block quoting is just HTML. Just put a <blockquote> at the beginning of the quote and </blockquote> at the end of a copy and paste. Just be sure to spell it right, especially the one at the end. I’m reminded quite often. The Edit button allows you to fix it.

          You can use <b> for bold, <i> for italics, <u> for underlined, and a few others.

        • Greg G.

          With that said, I don’t see where my atheism conflicts with the belief that Jesus was based on a person rather than completely fabricated. You’ll have to kindly explain why you do apparently?

          Atheism doesn’t conflict with the idea of a historical Jesus.

          Whether Jesus existed or not is a purely intellectual question to me. I accepted that Jesus actually existed until a few years ago when I gave a hard look at the evidence. The evidence was much thinner than people let on. For example, the Q document is used as an independent source about Jesus but it is just an explanation for why Matthew and Luke have the same stories independent of Mark, as if Luke could not have used Matthew (the Farrar-Goulder Hypothesis, championed by Mark Goodacre). When I looked deeper at the evidence, it appeared that the gospels were made up fiction. We can identify the sources of the pericopes about Jesus and most of the sources are not about Jesus. The Epistles aren’t even interested in a recent Jesus or his teachings. There’s not more than a handful of epistle verses that can be used to support a historical Jesus and they have problems.

        • Kodie

          With that said, I don’t see where my atheism conflicts with the belief that Jesus was based on a person rather than completely fabricated.

          I don’t think it does. I recall Bob S goes with “legend,” as if liar, lunatic, and lord were our only options, there is that. Legends can be exaggerations or tales of real people who lived, like Johnny Appleseed or the Green Man or even some stories about George Washington, for example, or based on a type of person who lived but not on anyone exactly. Since it doesn’t impact my atheism either way, I don’t get too deeply into the argument. I like to use Jack Ryan as a total legend in modernity because obviously he is fictional (The Hunt for Red October et al). His character is based on a type of person who could exist in real places, with a real job that exists, and set in real historical periods and events. Due to him being a totally fictional character, he is apt to be found in extreme circumstances frequently and saving the day improbably. Those feats exceed normal human feats… no I have never read those books or seen any of the movies, but his name is easy to remember. People also don’t think of Jack Ryan as a real person, currently, but I also don’t know what would have to change to persuade future generations reading books to assume they are biographical and not fiction. Maybe we just keep better records now, but there are people who are confused and convinced what’s on the news is only what “they” want you to know, and believe goofy made-up conspiracies instead.

        • MR

          Quote marks work, too: “”. You don’t have to use “blockquote” 🙂

          I was raised by Christians and was forced to attend Sunday school for years.

          Sounds horrid. Forced and all.

          But I really started doubting this stuff at age 6 because I was convinced of science such as the Earth was not 6000 yrs old at age 6.

          At age 6? Remarkable.

          With that said, I don’t see where my atheism conflicts with the belief that Jesus was based on a person rather than completely fabricated. You’ll have to kindly explain why you do apparently?

          Where did I say I do?

          on my side

          Interesting.

          I have laid out how I’ve personally came to this conclusion in numerous posts here, and I believe I have done this very well.

          Oh?

          I lean, towards believing Jesus was based on an actual person for reasons I have stated.

          As for Bob S, I read his response, and it appears he is open to the question

          Oh? You explicitly stated that he leaned toward Jesus being “loosely based on an actual madman.” And yet, he said nothing of the sort. Why put those words in his mouth?

          I don’t know for certain if Jesus was based on a real person or not, but I do know for certain, either does anyone else.

          Yet you state, “on my side,” and have yet to provide any evidence for your stance of him being a madman.

        • King Dave

          “At age 6? Remarkable” – Mr

          Yes, the Priest in study class said dinosaurs didn’t exist to me, I was skeptical so I asked my 1st grade science teacher and he provided convincing proff they did.
          I am glad you have read my comments and seem genuinely curious about me, but unlike the others who were kind enough to exchange ideas in an enjoyable adult fashion, I really don’t find anything you’ve asked of me thought provoking or cleaver, just condescending irrelevant babble as opposed to any meaningful contributions to the topic at hand. I try to avoid that lowbrow unconstrutive discourse. I certainly have no questions of you, So if you don’t have anthing relievant to add or persuade me that Jesus was entirely fictional, I will gladly ignore anymore inquiries on your part.

        • MR

          Ah, well, that’s probably because you sense that I find your comments either poorly thought through or simply disingenuous. I’ve leaned toward the latter, but have given you opportunity to clarify if the former. If you choose not to continue discourse with me, fine. But that still leaves open the questions I’ve raised. Why did you put words into Bob’s mouth? Why do you believe Jesus was a madman?

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, Jones and Koresh are the Paul type figure in the stories. The proselytisers of the woo woo.

          Like Joseph Smith used the fictional Moroni, or Mohammed used the fictional Angel Gabriel…for examples.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but they are all about real folk. The issue here is fantasy folk being made real…like the founder of Rome for example.

          History has many fictional characters being historised as a means to an ends.

        • MR

          I was focused on Paul, presumably real, talking about fictional.

        • King Dave

          I have never heard of General Ned Ludd, but you have heard of Jesus.
          While I am aware that most of the bible is fictitious, most prominent atheists, scholars and religious historians agree that Jesus was more than likely based on an actual person at that particular time. The fact that Scientology is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have never heard of General Ned Ludd, but you have heard of Jesus.

          Again you miss the point. I’ve heard of Romulus and Remus, I’ve heard of Hercules and Dionysus, I’ve heard of Osiris and Isis…your point is?

          While I am aware that most of the bible is fictitious, most prominent atheists, scholars and religious historians agree that Jesus was more than likely based on an actual person at that particular time.

          Why do they think that way? That’s the question you should be asking and answering.

          Start with this peer reviewed book published by a reputable publishing house.

          http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=264

          The fact that Scientology is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

          Well it is and it isn’t. It is a fine example of a religious cult worth billions being made out of whole-cloth in just a few decades. Convincing some really smart people and parting the gullible with millions of dollars with some of the most blatant nonsense a pulp fiction sci-fi writer could come up with…all in an age of education and knowledge to know better. A con artist called L. Ron Hubbard has millions of ordinarily rational folk, with a modern education, convinced that an alien overlord called Xanu was/is real. Were the ignorant first century inhabitants of the Palestinian Levant expected to be any smarter?

        • Greg G.

          It also seems likely that the idea of 1st Century Christians still waiting for this Christ would be not be Christians at all, but merely orthodox Jews? So another reason to conclude a least one sect believed they had a real candidate for Christ.

          Paul tells us about Sadducees. The Gospels add Pharisees. Josephus add Essenes and Zealots. Other writes also refer to the Essenes, too. Other sects would have had their own names.

          “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”. I’m not sure when the term “Christian” was first used. Tacitus uses the term to refer to events around 65 AD but it seems to have been “Chestus”. So the term probably was for Greek-speaking Christians first.

          Calling the Jews in Jerusalem “Christians” is probably anachronistic but I use it to distinguish whatever sect led to modern Christianity from other Messianic Jews. Perhaps, “proto-Christians” would be better, lacking the term they used for themselves.

        • King Dave

          I am aware of these groups, but I need to study more to properly analyze them and respond properly.
          I can acknowledge there is many reasons to fabricate the entire story or just parts which in my opinion is more likely.
          I am also aware Christ, as I used the word properly, simply means Messiah. And in biblical terms one that fulfills the prophecies in the OldTestament.
          So naturally the word “Christians” implies a candidate was found, and they were his followers.
          That is how the whole story goes. Of course there were others who dismissed this as BS, and are still waiting to this day. Practically the entire state of Israel, but their reasons are entirely different than mine.

        • Greg G.

          I did a little checking. The earliest uses of “Christian” was in 1 Peter and Acts. Acts 11:26 says the name came from Antioch, but so much of Acts is stories obviously taken from Josephus and Euripides then modified to fit Peter or Paul that I don’t trust it as a reliable source.

          It seems that the proto-Christians may have been called Nazarenes.

          So naturally the word “Christians” implies a candidate was found, and they were his followers.

          What does the word “Trekkers” imply? I think they were just another group who were expecting the Messiah, but the only difference was that one group thought the scriptures told of a servant who suffered and got resurrected to be the Messiah. Probably every Messiah group thought the Messiah would come in their generation and read the scriptures to pick out prophecies to support it.

        • MR

          So many messiah stories, Arthur, Islam, the Portuguese…, who is right? How shall we know?

        • we must take Paul’s word for it, a confessed persecuter of these Christians

          Just because the epistles or Acts say it doesn’t mean that it’s history. It’s easy to imagine a believer like Paul wallowing in his badness—real or fabricated—from before he was a Christian.

          I do use a lot of assumptions, speculations and assertions but that’s all we can do in the absence of historical corroborating evidence.

          We can remember the weakness of the evidence and remind ourselves how unfounded any conclusion will be.

        • King Dave

          Because of the absence of historical corroborating evidence, we are forced into speculation otherwise we don’t have a conversation. We really can’t use the bible to prove or disprove itself.
          So I submit to assert unequivocally that Jesus was not based on an actual person is also highly speculative, unless I am missing something.
          I don’t believe we shouldn’t speculate or discuss the topic if practically nothing can be scientifically or historically proven at this point or ever. Like life beyond earth. Those who assume life exist beyond are own I would never consider foolhardy.

          I certainly believe Paul’s visions have no merit. But are you suggesting that Paul fabricated his vision of Jesus, then invented Christians or vice versa?

          Either way that assumes everyone in Jerusalem was so stupid to drop what they were doing, risk certain death to follow a new religion with no obvious advantage and absolutely no evidence. That he found only the fools in town Seems unreasonable and a recipe for failure. But that’s just me.

          I can’t say for certain if Jesus was based on an actual person or not, but I can say for certain, neither can anyone else.

        • Greg G.

          So I submit however it is also highly speculative to assert that the whole story is a complete fabrication, unless I am missing something.

          Not a complete fabrication. A whole bunch of complete fabrications, most from true believers that thought their ideas and readings were messages from God and/or Jesus.

          I certainly believe Paul’s visions have no merit. But are you suggesting that Paul fabricated his vision of Jesus, then invented Christians or vice versa?

          Paul implied that he had a vision of the third heaven but that may have been a vivid dream. Paul said he had revelations but he seems to mean they were from reading scripture. Acts says Paul says he had visions of Jesus.

          Either way that assumes everyone in Jerusalem was so stupid to drop what they were doing, risk certain death to follow a new religion with no obvious advantage and absolutely no evidence. That he found only the fools in town Seems unreasonable and a recipe for failure. But that’s just me.

          Paul didn’t evangelize in Jerusalem. The Jews were willing to die to keep their religion during the Maccabean era. But being a Nazarene would not have been a death sentence if they believed someone from centuries ago may have been resurrected and was coming as the Messiah any minute now.

          I can’t say for certain if Jesus was based on an actual person or not, but I can say for certain, neither can anyone else.

          I think if the best evidence for Jesus looks like it was made up, it’s a safer bet that he was made up.

        • King Dave

          The fact that Paul didn’t prosthelytize in Jerusalem is a great point….for me. This suggests that there was a sect of Christians in Jerusalem who were following an actual person unmolested by Paul, which lead to the writting of the gospels.
          Like the early presence of Christians, it may also be surmised that the oldest humanoid fossil indicate that they had been evolving from a significantly earlier time.

          I getting the feeling you and many others here believe Paul is exclusively responsible for creating the so called Jesus myth and Christianity? In other words no one believed at that time in Jerusalem the “Christ” made an appearance. That Paul’s vision was all the evidence anyone needed to start this truly fantastic religion. Despite that Paul’s assertions were rejected by most thinking and upper class Jews, Romans and gentiles. And yet that is not what happened, Christianity grew to become the offical religion of Rome.
          I am not suggesting that it is total unreasonable to believe that Paul is solely responsible for misleading the world based on a vision of his, but it seems unlikely to me. That there had to be something more than Paul’s vision to influence Jerusalem Christians in absentia at the time in question. To influence those in believing that an actual person who preached for several years, demonstrated miracles, was crucified, rose from the dead, all without a shread of evidence. People who were likely to be alive in that small town in the time of question and were still un aware of what was going on.
          That’s harder to believe in my opinion.

        • Greg G.

          Where does Paul speak about Jesus as a first century person?

          I responded to “The fact that Paul didn’t”. which apparently is where you accidentally hit the Post button.

          Yes, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that he was not the first. He also says it in Galatians 1. Those would have been the proto-Christians or Nazarenes I talked about.

          I just don’t think they believed what modern Christians think they believed.

          If Paul hadn’t written those letters, Mark would not have written his Gospel and the religion would probably have died out. At most, the gnostic version would have lingered.

          Paul didn’t have a vision. You are reading Luke’s drama back into Paul’s writings. Read the one in Acts 26. It has Jesus quoting Dionysus from the Bacchae, with the “kick against the goads”.

          Paul claims he knows as much as the “super-apostles”, that is the guys in Jerusalem. He never met Jesus. He doesn’t think they did either.

        • MR

          To influence those in believing that an actual person who preached for several years, demonstrated miracles, was crucified, rose from the dead, all without a shread of evidence.

          And yet people believe that even today based on 2,000 years of hearsay. Why not 40 years, 20 years or 6 or 1? Watch the Carbonaro Effect to see people duped into believing miracles on the spot.

        • Greg G.

          To influence those in believing that an actual person who preached for several years, demonstrated miracles, was crucified, rose from the dead, all without a shread of evidence. People who were likely to be alive in that small town in the time of question and were still un aware of what was going on.

          Where does Paul say anything about someone who preached for several years? Paul has no interest in any teaching or preaching by Jesus. Paul never talks about miracles by Jesus. The other epistles don’t either. That only comes in the gospels.

          Read Galatians 3:1-14 where Paul says “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified!” What was his evidence? He goes over it by quoting scripture. The NIV footnotes give the references:

          c.Galatians 3:6 Gen. 15:6
          d.Galatians 3:8 Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18
          e.Galatians 3:10 Deut. 27:26
          f.Galatians 3:11 Hab. 2:4
          g.Galatians 3:12 Lev. 18:5
          h.Galatians 3:13 Deut. 21:23

          Paul isn’t saying Jesus was crucified within the last thirty years, he is using scripture that was hundreds of years old when he wrote to say Jesus was crucified.

          That’s harder to believe in my opinion.

          I don’t believe what you believe that I believe. But even that shouldn’t be so hard to believe. Do you remember Sathya Sai Baba who died a few years ago?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Coincidentally, Carrier blogged on euhemerization and how misunderstood the concept is, just yesterday.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/8161

        • Pofarmer

          “Either way that assumes everyone in Jerusalem was so stupid to drop what they were doing, risk certain death to follow a new religion with no obvious advantage and absolutely no evidence. That he found only the fools in town Seems unreasonable and a recipe for failure. But that’s just me.”

          But, the thing is, that absolutely WAS NOT THE CASE. For Pete’s sake. Read some Ehrman, “Early Chriatianities.” Richard Carrier “Not the impossible Faith”. Read some Mathew Ferguson at Adversusapolagetica. This is just wrong. Completely wrong. Bad wrong. And it’s especially wrong considering Christianity grew fastest outside of Jerusalem and Palestine.

          “But are you suggesting that Paul fabricated his vision of Jesus, then invented Christians or vice versa?”

          Aren’t all visions fabricated? From Pauls writings it seems there was a small group in Jerusalem preaching a sacrificed messiah that was going to come back to Earth and kick some Roman ass, at least that’s what we are told Paul believes in Acts. There was a small Christian movement, Paul became at odds with them and basically went away. What we have is Pauline Christianity, we really don’t know exactly what the other guys were preaching because the Jerusalem group got destroyed.

        • Speculation is great. I’m simply asking that we keep the confidence level clearly in mind.

          So I submit to assert unequivocally that Jesus was not based on an actual person is also highly speculative, unless I am missing something.

          Fine. I don’t advocate the Christ Myth Theory.

          I don’t believe we shouldn’t speculate or discuss the topic if practically nothing can be scientifically or historically proven at this point or ever. Like life beyond earth. Those who assume life exist beyond are own I would never consider foolhardy.

          Arguing without evidence is useless from my standpoint. As an intellectual exercise, that’s fine, but evidence is necessary for me to become interested. And, of course, those who hypothesize about life elsewhere in the universe have plenty of evidence.

          are you suggesting that Paul fabricated his vision of Jesus, then invented Christians or vice versa?

          I’m saying that a 2000-yo “I was a terrible sinner, but I’m much better now that I’m cleansed with the blood of the lamb” is hard to take as history.

          Either way that assumes everyone in Jerusalem was so stupid to drop what they were doing, risk certain death to follow a new religion with no obvious advantage and absolutely no evidence.

          “Everyone in Jerusalem”? Consider how many people they had as they tried to find a disciple to replace Judas.

          “Risk certain death”? That “who would die for a lie?” thing doesn’t stand up.

        • King Dave

          “…those who hypothesize about life elsewhere in the universe have plenty of evidence.” – Bob

          No they don’t. There is absolutely no evidence of life on any celestial bodies that we have visited so far. They are actually completely sterile. If you know about evidence of extraterrestrial life as you are claiming, please share it. Forgive me please if I am wrong but it appears you have broken your own advice to me, and have turned mere but compelling speculation into scientific certainty and evidence? But I do agree that there is reason to speculate that life exists on other worlds.

          I also agree we should question everything, especially our own convictions.

          Your readers seems to believe you are a proponent of the Jesus Myth, I stated you were not as per your comment to me and was met by abuse.

          Finally to the topic, like Hitchens said, if Jesus was a complete myth, then why bother putting inconsistencies in the gospels, why not create it uniform? The writers were obviously very intelligent and had to be aware of them. If you or your readers have any comments about the bible inconsistencies from the Jesus myth standpoint I would love to hear them.

          Anyhow, I enjoy your blog and appreciate your personal feed-back. I think this subject matter is fascinating, and your arguments are always compelling, intelligent and very thought provoking.
          Thank you.
          And a thank you to greg for his excellent comments. Very thought provoking and informed without any hint of condescension.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your readers seems to believe you are a proponent of the Jesus Myth,…

          Do we? This one doesn’t. My take on Bob’s position is that it is of no consequence either way. The matter has not been conclusively resolved either way. I could be wrong about Bob though. I don’t assume he is a mythicist and give everyone the default position as a historicist until given reason to think otherwise. It matters not to the overall story either way if Jesus existed or not, what matters is that many do believe he did.

          It is said that the character of Sherlock Holmes is a composite of two, possibly three, individuals from his earlier life. Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Henry Littlejohn, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, also Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health in Edinburgh, and Francis “Tanky” Smith, a policeman and master of disguise who went on to become Leicester’s first private detective. Does knowing any of that make any difference to the stories?

          JM is more of an interest than anything else as far as I’m concerned. Whoever Jesus was, and opinions are wide and varied, he was not a miracle performing god, that’s for sure. Now if the subject is important to a believer, that’s a different matter.

        • MR

          Your readers seems to believe you are a proponent of the Jesus Myth, I stated you were not as per your comment to me and was met by abuse.

          Where have any of Bob’s readers claimed he is a proponent of the Jesus Myth? Certainly not me. Where did you state Bob was not a proponent of the Jesus Myth?

          It seems to me you’re mischaracterizing Bob’s, your own, and others’ statements; and then you wonder why you’re called out on it. You said Bob leaned toward believing that Jesus was based on an actual madman—not that he was not a proponent of JM. You have yet to clarify why you made that particular claim. The correct answer would be to either point us to where he did make the claim, or admit that you mischaracterized what Bob said. If the latter, an explanation of why you mischaracterized the claim would be helpful.

          If you’re getting hints of condescension from me, it’s because I see these kinds of misleading statements as disingenuous and suspicious. Now, if I’ve missed some post where someone has claimed Bob is a proponent of JM or that he leans toward Jesus being a madman, then please do correct me. I for one welcome being corrected.

          If you can clear that air, then I’m quite happy, without condescension, to listen and attempt to understand why you believe Jesus was a madman. You’ve made a claim and I’m interested in hearing why you believe what you believe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Finally to the topic, like Hitchens said, if Jesus was a complete myth, then why bother putting inconsistencies in the gospels, why not create it uniform?

          You are going at this all the wrong way.

          There are inconsistencies in the gospel’s, but they are not intentionally “put” there. Inconsistencies are exactly what one would expect from hearsay accounts. The more inconsistencies, the more hearsay they are. Even eyewitness accounts of an incident will have inconsistencies, that is why it is so unreliable. If the gospels had been written by four guys at the same time, in the same room, then uniform they might be, it is easy when there is the other persons work to draw from. The gospels were written at different times, in different places, for different audiences. I doubt the authors could have known there work would be in a position in the future to be compared against another version, nor do I think they’d have given a stuff. One shouldn’t be looking at this with all the hindsight of the subsequent two millennia. I’ll use Sherlock Holmes again as analogy because it is apt. How many variations on those stories are there? A fictional character for sure. Only 130 years ago conceived, yet numerous takes on the same theme. A fictional character complete with biography and real life legacy.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes

          The writers were obviously very intelligent and had to be aware of them.

          You are aware that there were many gospels doing the rounds, the for in the NT were just the ones that made the cut. If you want inconsistencies try comparing some of those books that are all about the same person. Known as the New Testament Apocrypha…read some of that woo woo to see what early Christians were getting their heads filled with. The infancy gospel’s or the “talking cross” in the Gospel of Peter.

          “9. And in the night in which the Lord’s day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven; and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend with a great light and approach the tomb. And the stone that was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part; and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in.

          10. When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders, for they too were close by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they saw three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament_apocrypha

          If you or your readers have any comments about the bible inconsistencies from the Jesus myth standpoint I would love to hear them.

          Look at those inconsistencies and ask the question as to why they are there?

        • Greg G.

          If you or your readers have any comments about the bible inconsistencies from the Jesus myth standpoint I would love to hear them.

          We see that there were different denominations of Christians in Paul’s writings. See Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities about how diverse Christianity was by the second century. If there really was a specific figure who lived not so long ago at the time, how did it diverge so quickly? It seems that the gospels borrowed from the Gospel of Thomas, which was Gnostic. How could a religion that didn’t believe in an earthly Jesus develop within a few decades of his life?

          Mark wrote an allegorical story putting a fictional Jesus in the recent past, not unlike John Goodman’s character in O, Brother! Where Art Thou?

          Mark’s Jesus was adopted by God at his baptism, like the 1,000,000th customer at a store, with a booming voice over the PA and a dove descending from the ceiling. He also did spit miracles and there was often a time delay.

          The other gospels had Jesus being divine from before birth or from the beginning of time. The baptism in Mark was for the remission of sins. That made no sense in the other gospels so Matthew has John asking permission and Jesus said it was just for show while it is not clear that John baptized Jesus in the other gospels. Matthew eliminated the spit and made the miracles instantaneous.

          Matthew’s genealogy has some serious issues so it is no wonder Luke made a new one. Luke probably didn’t like the idea that God would allow all those babies to be slaughtered while Jesus escaped so Luke rewrote the Nativity. John certainly seems to have borrowed from Mark for many scenes but I think Luke rejected the Lazarus story by moving elements into pericopes in Mark and refuting it with the story of the rich man in Hades who talked to Abraham and Lazarus. John 18:13 tells us that Ananus (Annus) was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1 tells us Ananus had five sons who were also high priests (other passages give the names and information about when they served). The rich man in Hades was apparently Caiaphas and he wanted Lazarus to go back and give a message to his father’s house. The passage ends with Abraham saying, “…[N]either will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke was rejecting John’s account of Lazarus’ resurrection.

          Very few who think Jesus was a myth agree with Atwill that the story was invented as a hoax. Many people reject the Jesus Myth Theory based on that assumption.

          Paul was probably active from about 40 to 60 AD. Mark was written about a two decades later. Matthew and John came about two decades after that, near the end of the first century or later. Luke was written after those. Each was written in different parts of the Mediterranean with different interests.

          The authors had no knowledge of Jesus but what was written in the OT and some of Paul’s interpretations of what was written in the OT that he attributed to Jesus. They borrowed other writings to fill in a story about Jesus.

          And a thank you to greg for his excellent comments. Very thought provoking and informed without any hint of condescension.

          You’re welcome. Maybe I work out my condescension on the other Greg.

        • MR

          I just realized that I’ve already purchased a half interest in Ehrman’s “Lost Christianities.” I’d gone in on three of the Great Courses lecture series with a friend, and that was one of the three. My friend currently has LC. I just now thought to look to see who the professor was: Bart Ehrman! I’m in the middle of one of the philosophy courses right now, so I’ll trade her for LC for my next one. The last course is Western History, I think.

        • There is absolutely no evidence of life on any celestial bodies that we have visited so far.

          We’ve found no direct evidence of life, and yet the point remains: those who speculate about life elsewhere have evidence—the existence of other sun-like stars and earth-like planets, amino acids in comets, and so on.

          They are actually completely sterile.

          You know this? You should write a paper.

          Your readers seems to believe you are a proponent of the Jesus Myth

          Some might. I’ve stated many times that I have no use for it. It might indeed be true, but it’s a diversion for my purposes.

          Finally to the topic, like Hitchens said, if Jesus was a complete myth, then why bother putting inconsistencies in the gospels, why not create it uniform?

          Huh? Who says that the gospels were written by people who thought that the whole thing was a hoax? I’ve never heard that.

        • Rudy R

          if Jesus was a complete myth, then why bother putting inconsistencies in the gospels, why not create it uniform

          So your contention, then, is that the Gospels would be considered myth if the books did not have any inconsistencies? I think historical scholars would have plenty to object to there, as well as scientists. Sort of flips the scientific method on it’s head.

        • Pofarmer

          “If we are going to use the bible as insight into early Christian beliefs in regards to whether or not Jesus was real or spiritual, then the gospels seem the most relevant source, as they were supposedly written by early Christians.”

          That’s like using the Harry Potter books to determine if Harry Potter were real, it’s completely circular. Also, it’s not like Greeks didn’t know how to make up stories about fictional Gods, and the Gospels are GREEK compositions. They are Greek thought with Greek forms.

        • MR

          Again I am an atheist and don’t believe in the supernatural

          May I enquire as to why you are an atheist? Were you always? If not, what convinced you?

        • Pofarmer

          “Why then add the incredible risk of heresy and blasphemy with no obvious advantage? ”

          Shit man, why do religious nuts do anything?

          “What makes more sense is that there was at least one group of early Christians who actually believed at a great risk to their lives that their messiah had returned in their lifetime”

          It makes just as much sense, that in a time when there was political unrest and social upheaval a group of religious Jews thought that their Messiah was going to come any day. This wouldn’t have been particularly radical or dangerous.

        • Pofarmer

          “Plus the idea of martyrdom, especially Christian martyrdom, seems unlikely without some bases of an autual victim close to 30AD.”

          Meh, Jews got themselves martyred all the time.

        • MR

          And people today. Has everyone past and present martyred themselves based on true stories? So many conflicts!

          (Edit: Martyrdom for a cause doesn’t require an actual cause, just a belief in one.)

        • Pofarmer

          “It has been more difficult to find hisotical evidence to contradict that the written biblical accounts of Jesus was the product of the first Christians who were there at the time, and not a complete fabrication for whatever reason. ”

          Why would there be any? Seriously? What we do have, though, is many competing versions of Chrostianity early on. Check out Bart Ehrman’s “early Christianities.” In addition, we have works like “against Heresies” which contain some of the arguments of those who argued against Christianity, although those complete works haven’t been preserved. Christianity has far from a Uniform start. And if you think a religion couldn’t just ne started from scratch, look at Islam, Mormonism, Scientology. Hell, look at the religious like cult around the leaders of countries like North Korea.

      • King Dave

        Here is what Christopher Hitchens said about this topic, and I am also aware there is no historical evidence of Jesus’ existence….

        “I actually do think there must have been such a person, but it’s only by a process of induction that is not flattering to the myth. In other words, the fabrication of the story of Bethlehem is designed to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and because that’s where it’s supposed to happen and all this, so that an invention has to be made of a tax by Caesar Augustus and a census and all this, and that explains why the Holy Family is in that place instead. Well, if the thing had been invented out of whole cloth, then they would just have had Him born there, and have done with it.But the fact that all this fabrication has to be made to make it come right suggests that there was someone born in that, roughly that area at around that time who was a preacher of some sort. But there isn’t a trustworthy word…I’m probably, if I’m not trespassing on the territory of my partner here, there isn’t a trustworthy word, as you know from reading Bart Ehrman and others, in any of the Gospels that you could remotely say was historical evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/christopher-hitchens-our-three-hour-debate/

        I would like to here your opinion on his opinion as well as everyone who was kind enough to respond to my posts.
        Thanks in advance

        • Greg G.

          Matthew came up with a genealogy for Jesus. David’s name in Hebrew numerology works out to 4 + 6 + 4 = 14, From that he made a big deal out 14 generations. The Old Testament supports the genealogy from Abraham to David being fourteen generations but the David to the Exile drops four generations from the OT to get fourteen. Then Matthew seems to be counting the Exile as a generation as there are only thirteen names to Jesus. Jehoiakim may have been deleted by a scribe who read Jeremiah 36:29-31 that says his offspring would not prosper.

          Matthew came up with a Nativity story. His source for the pregnant wife and a dream was apparently Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 2.9.3 and Isaiah 7:14; 8:8-10. The Slaughter of the Innocents seems to be based on Josephus’ account of Moses’ birth in AJ 2.92. The wise men and foreknowledge may have come from AJ 17.2.4 and the King and the star probably came from Jeremiah 23:5 and Numbers 24:17 with the birth in Bethlehem from Micah 5:2. Hosea 11:1 meant Matthew had to work a trip to Egypt into the story. AJ 17.2.4, Exodus 1:22, and possibly Wisdom of Solomon 11:7 would be the sources for the provocation of Herod to mass murder by fear. Jeremiah 31:15 is quoted about Rachel weeping for her children, the slaughtered innocents. Then Matthew goes back to the AJ passage about the dream, AJ 17.11.4 about Herod being replaced, and Judges 13:7 (about Samson being a Nazirite) to get Jesus to Nazareth.

          Luke rejected all of that, the genealogy because it was sloppy and the idea that God would allow so many innocent children to be killed. Luke just went to the first story in AJ 18 about the tax census and incorporated that to have Jesus grow up in Nazareth after being born in Bethlehem. Luke made good use of Josephus throughout the gospel. The genealogy uses the Septuagint to go back to God as Generation 1 and Jesus as Generation 77 with some of Matthew’s key points being multiples of 7. The last few generations has a lot of names that are similar to Josephus’ genealogy. Luke 2:42-47 is a copy of Life of Josephus 2:

          Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law.

          I don’t think any of the first two chapters of Matthew or Luke comes from actual history about Jesus. They used sources about other people and made them about Jesus. It’s the same story throughout the Synoptics and much of John, too.

          PS: After that, both start copying from Mark.

        • lorasinger

          Neither genealogy is of any value. A Jewish child can get his genealogy only from his/her natural father and Jesus had none. In any case, Joseph’s line was disinherited because of the sins of Jocaniah. Mary, being the mother, could only give him her Jewishness but not her lineage.
          ..
          Paul, on the other hand, says that Jesus was “born of woman, under the law” – indicating nothing unusual about the birth and seems to point to Joseph being the father, in which case he still didn’t have a claim on the throne of David.

    • I don’t think the gospels are made up, like a hoax or joke. But, as Greg G. notes, there is little to argue that the events in the gospel story are historical. Could be–I don’t bother arguing for the Christ Myth Theory–but it’s hardly enough to argue that the supernatural claims are accurate.

      • King Dave

        Thank you Bob, alway enjoy reading your posts. And it seems to be the case that Josephus’ account of Jesus was a later addition and fabrication. Worthless in othere words as some kind of proof.

    • MNb

      I think the methods used by historians, which have shown to be reliable, conclude a historical Jesus. That doesn’t mean that all the stories told about him are historical, not even the natural ones. I also think the question who he was far less relevant than the question how his early followers saw him.

      • King Dave

        Agreed. I even thought that this Jesus person may have been so charismatic, he could actually convince people he walked on water. Taking advantage of his followers.

        • adam

          Magicians were popular at the time.

          “The idea that Jesus was a magician is so old it goes back to his own lifetime—it is found in the gospels! The miracles of the gospels were considered as magical, and so there was no clear distinction between Jesus and other magicians. Celsus saw all the novel cults growing at the time as being the work of magicians, and put Christianity among them. Origen thought magic had spread to other races than the Magi, to the destruction and ruin of those who used it. He differentiated the magi with their demonic formulae from the Christians with their use of divine power. When Celsus claimed Jesus performed miracles as magic stunts and tricks, Origen countered that Jesus did his miracles, not to show his own powers, but “to call the spectators to moral reformation”. Origen was not denying Christians were magicians, but that they were better magicians because of the power on which they called. ”
          http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0618Magic.php

    • Ignorant Amos

      Probably a charismatic individual existed at that time an left a substantial impression that lingers today.

      That may very well be the case, but there just isn’t enough evidence to conclusively assert such a proposition.

      • King Dave

        Absolutely, but that is why I used the word “probably.” Also there is not much if anything about Jesus we can concluded conclusively, so it is fine to speculate. However it does appear to be conclusive that Christians predated the written gospels. That said, it is much more difficult to contradict the gospels are based on an actual person. It sounds to me like many atheists believe a few authors made up the gospel stories and texts first, and then that started Christianity. There seem to be no evidence to assert that proposition, to my knowledge.

        • Pofarmer

          According to the Epistles if Paul, there was a small Jesus cult in Jerusalem which predated him, and Paul predated the Gospels. But there is absolutely no indication of what these early Christians would have believed, except through the writings of Paul. The Gospels are later additions, “fleshing out” the story.

        • King Dave

          Sure, but that small cult grew substantially without the benefit of an authorized account such as the gospel, enough so that the Roman historian Tacitus mentioned their presence. The people were not as dumb as perhaps many think keeping in mind the achievements in Egypt 2500 years prior and those of the roman empire to name a few. I understand the eagerness to dismiss all Christian claims, but it seem to me more likely than not, that the gospel and early Christianity is based on an actual person rather than a complete fabrication, and the one and only Christopher Hitchens also believes this as well. I will post his better expressed opinion in another post.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, I’ve read and listened to a lot of Hitchens. He and I disagree on this point. If you read Richard Carriers “Not the Impossible Faith” you will find out that early Christianity grew at about the same rate as modern religions like Mormonism. Which gives us a good metric. The thing is, the one who really spread the message was Paul, not Jesus, just like the one who spread Mormonism was Joseph Smith, not the Angel Moroni. Does the explanation for Mormonism require a real Angel? As has already been pointed out. Paul knows nothing about a physical walking around Jesus. James and Cephas don’t seem to know much more, or, if they do, they certainly don’t show it. For that matter, Christianity spread faster OUTSIDE of Jerusalem in the Pagan areas. why would this be if there were a literal walking around miracle working Jesus? Nothing about the formation or spread of Christianity requires a real Jesus.

        • King Dave

          I agree with you and am aware of most of the arguments supporting your thesis. However: If there was no one resembling Jesus at the time, the early Christian claims would have been more easily dismissed.
          Paul, by his own admission persecuted early Christians and gives the impression there were quite a few of them. Now Paul is where the claim originates that Jesus was more historical than actual but doesn’t reveal what these early Christians believed. No one knows, so the assertion that Jesus was historical is harder to make.
          Even the host of this blog, Bob S if I am reading his response to my question correct, is leaning towards Jesus being loosely based on an actual madman. Same goes for me.

        • Pofarmer

          “. However: If there was no one resembling Jesus at the time, the early Christian claims would have been more easily dismissed.”

          How? Most people in that day and age didn’t get more than 5 miles from where they were born. So, a preacher comes through with a spectacular story. Either you buy it or you don’t. There is no way to check it out. If you get to Jerusalem, who would you ask? How would you ever find them? Most people were illiterate, it’s not like you could even send a letter to Aunt Nellie asking her. So, I don’t find this claim reasonable. For the vast number of people who would have converted, checking out the claims simply wasn’t an issue. And, for that matter, if the claims were true, why are there still Jews? The Pharisees and Saducees and the Essenes and all the rest were right there, and yet they continued on. The religious leaders, supposedly the ones who condemned Jesus, never noticed him walking around Jerusalem? This line simply isn’t credible, whether you include the miracle stories or not. Once again, read Richard Carrier “Not the Impossible Faith.”

        • King Dave

           Once again, read Richard Carrier “Not the Impossible Faith.”

          I will, thanks.
          A lot of your argument assumes many of the early Christians were very ignorant. Surely they were poor, perhaps illiterate, and superstitious, but the pyramids were constructed 2500 years prior to that which also suggests not everyone was a cavemen.
          I simply find it much harder to believe that an unknown number of Christians under these harsh living conditions would willingly add further risk of a certain death, with no obvious advantage, by jumping on the Christian band wagon without there being a shread of proof that a man like Jesus actually and recently existed. It’s a lot to swallow, don’t agree?

        • adam

          ” It’s a lot to swallow, don’t agree?”

          No, there are suckers born every minute:

          Jim Jones

          Heavens Gate

          And more

          http://brainz.org/10-most-notorious-suicide-cults-history/

        • Greg G.

          There was no early first century Jesus to debunk and by the time he was invented, there was nobody to debunk him. Jerusalem was in shambles and survivors were refugees with better things to do than correct the false beliefs around the world. All the second generation Christians had to go on was written words.

          Even in modern times, we have Mormons, Scientologists, Sai Baba followers. It is pretty much impossible to debunk a religious believer’s pet theory.

        • MNb

          “There was no early first century Jesus to debunk and by the time he was invented, there was nobody to debunk him.”
          Well, if Pope Gregorius G preaches JM dogma the choir only humbly can bow heads.

          Cheap atheist soundbites are not any better than their creationist counterparts.

        • Pofarmer

          But isn’t it quite true that the majority of converts would have had no way to check one way or the other?

        • MNb

          Wrong question and irrelevant to the point I made.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think it is irrelevant at all. In the places Paul was supposedly preaching, most people couldn’t have debunked it while he were still alive, let alone after the fall of Jerusalem.

        • MNb

          I wrote “irrelevant to the point I made”. Must I assume that your reading comprehension decreases to the level of a creationist as soon as the subject becomes JM? My point was (I quote myself)

          “Cheap atheist soundbites are not any better than their creationist counterparts”
          and if you think that Paul’s preaching has anything to do with this you’re invited to explain.

        • Greg G.

          I simply find it much harder to believe that an unknown number of Christians under these harsh living conditions would willingly add further risk of certain death by jumping on the Christian band wagon without there being a shread of proof that a man like Jesus actually and recently existed. It’s a lot to swallow, don’t agree?

          But what evidence did they have? Paul says in Galatians 3:1-2:

          You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?

          Paul then goes on to reiterate the public demonstration by quoting the OT verses that point to crucifixion.

          Galatians 3:6 : Genesis 15:6
          Galatians 3:8 : Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18
          Galatians 3:10 : Deuteronomy 27:26
          Galatians 3:11 : Habakkuk 2:4
          Galatians 3:12 : Leviticus 18:5
          Galatians 3:13 : Deuteronomy 21:23

          He is using the Septuagint as the Hebrew word in Deuteronomy 21:23 is “tree” but the Greek word can mean “tree”, “wood”, or “cross”.

          The early Christians were using Jewish scripture in from the Septuagint. The later Christians had letters and Mark. That is all the evidence they could possibly have. Today’s Christians have a few more letters and gospels but most of them don’t read them yet they still believe.

        • MR

          Today’s Christians… don’t read them yet they still believe.

          ^1

        • Greg G.

          The Bible was the first User Agreement. Everyone just scrolls to the bottom and clicks “I Agree”.

        • lorasinger

          The early “Christians” were all Jews and as such, would have studied Torah in Hebrew/Aramaic – not Greek. That was quite often the only thing they could read and boys were started early in their youth to learn Torah. The Septuagint in Greek was used by the diaspora primarily – Jews who could no longer speak their own language – not as likely within Israel itself. Paul claimed to be a trained Pharisee but the fact that he chose the Septuagint rather than the original Torah that a trained Pharisee would do, make it questionable whether he was what he claimed to be. This has been noted by other biblical scholars and makes one wonder whether the Ebionites were correct in saying that he was a Greek convert to Judaism.

        • MR

          Even the host of this blog, Bob S if I am reading his response to my question correct, is leaning towards Jesus being loosely based on an actual madman.

          I’m sorry, where did you get that? I don’t see that in Bob’s response at all.

        • Greg G.

          Nowhere does Paul talk about Jesus being a recent figure. Some read Galatians 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 9:5 to be about living brothers of Jesus but Paul seems to be in sarcasm mode. See Gal 5:12 where he wishes the circumcision faction would castrate themselves, Galatians 2:6,9 about the disdain he has for the position of the “pillars”, how James is the leader of the circumcision faction who intimidated Cephas in Galatians 2:11-12 and how James sends people on missions. See Galatians 1:1 about how Paul feels about humans sending people on missions the way he himself is sent by Jesus. So when he calls James the brother of Christ he is being sarcastic.

          In 1 Corinthians 9, it appears that someone questioned the financial support given to Paul and he is defending himself and uses the same sarcasm toward those other “brothers” of Christ.

          In 1 Corinthians 15, the “appeared to” phrases use the same Greek as for Paul, and Paul got his “appeared to” through the scriptures. That is what the “according to the scriptures” phrases mean.

          Other than that, one has to read the gospels into the epistles to think they are about a first century person.

        • lorasinger

          Read “Christ’s Ventriloquists: (E. Zuesse) and it all becomes clear.

        • lorasinger

          The “cult” would have been the so-called Jerusalem Christians headed up by James after Jesus death. They were considered to be a sub-sect of Judaism – practicing Jews but with the belief that Jesus was the fully human messiah of prophecy. All the messianic candidates had their own followers. After Paul’s split with the James and the Jerusalem Christians and later, these same people were called Ebionites and Nazarenes. Most of their writings were destroyed by Pauline Christianity but evidence of their beliefs remains in the Criticisms of the early church fathers. The “fleshing out” of the story, based on its pagan qualities, would have occurred in Rome after Paul’s split with James and the apostles at Antioch.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There seem to be no evidence to assert that proposition, to my knowledge.

          The evidence is ropey all round. There are a plethora of hypotheses, some far more fanciful that others. Some involve the historical Jesus and some the mythical Jesus. Anything is possible, but what is most probable given the data?

          There are plenty of books on the subject, from the sublime to the ridiculous. You have to judge what makes more sense. Until a few decades/centuries ago, the question of the historical Exodus, Moses, Abraham, Adam and Eve, authorship of the gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the authenticity of the epistles, yadda, yadda, yadda, were taken as is by just about everyone. This is not the case any more.