Jesus Magic? Not Impressive Compared to What Technology Gives Us.

Jesus Magic? Not Impressive Compared to What Technology Gives Us. February 29, 2016

In the New Testament, Jesus does lots of impressive miracles.

More precisely, they were impressive for the time. Today we surpass them with technology so regularly that we often don’t notice. Let’s compare the miracles of Jesus with what modern technology can do.

Jesus walked on water. We can’t walk on water, but we can travel on the water in a vast array of boats, both large and small, powered and wind driven. For example, an aircraft carrier can carry 5000 people, sail at 30+ knots, and operate for 20 years without refueling. We can travel under the water with submarines. We can fly above the water with airplanes. We have even gone to the moon.

Feeding of the 5000. We can’t feed people with magic, but we can still feed lots of people. Norman Borlaug has saved perhaps one billion lives from starvation because of improved strains of wheat, for which he won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. The Haber process, which turns nitrogen into ammonia, produces fertilizer that is estimated “to be responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth’s population.”

Cursing the fig tree. Jesus was hungry, but it wasn’t the season for figs. Nevertheless, Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it withered. While we can’t destroy trees with magic, we’ve got the destruction thing figured out. We have herbicide that kills plants. We have chain saws and bulldozers. We have dynamite and hydrogen bombs.

Water to wine. If the point here is wine as a safe drink (ground water can be polluted, and the alcohol in wine reduces the chance of bacterial contamination), modern societies provide safe water and sewers for waste.

Miraculous catch of fish. We can’t catch fish with magic, but modern fishing trawlers do a good job at catching lots of fish. They do perhaps too good a job, and aquaculture now produces as much tonnage as wild capture to reduce humanity’s footprint.

Calming the storm. We can’t stop storms, but we have gotten pretty good at prediction. We’re able to minimize the loss of life from disasters like the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Technology can also warn of tornadoes and tsunamis.

Prophecies. Jesus predicted his death and his second coming, but pause for a moment to consider this quote from Shakespeare:

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

Jesus made prophecies, and so can any man, but do they actually come true? His predictions of a second coming within the lifetimes of some witnesses didn’t come to pass. His prediction of his death is part of a story that we have little reason to see as history.

Healing miracles. Jesus did many of these (I explored the healing miracles here). For example, he healed lepers. We don’t heal lepers with magic but with antibiotics. Leprosy is no longer much of a problem, as is the case for smallpox, bubonic plague, and polio.

Jesus cast out demons. We don’t, because we know they don’t cause disease. We can’t cure all illnesses, but we do a better job now that we’re focused on the actual causes.

Jesus restored sight and hearing. Here again, we can’t prevent all such cases or cure all that occur, but medicine has made remarkable improvements in health.

Jesus raised the dead. We don’t use magic, but modern medicine has returned thousands from conditions that just a century ago would be considered “dead.”

What Jesus didn’t do. Jesus didn’t do any miracles against which we can parallel civil engineering such as roads, bridges, and buildings. Or communication—telephones and the internet. Or the textile industry or the energy industry or the chemical industry or the transportation industry.

What Jesus did was party stunts. From helping God create the universe, he was reduced to doing magic for small audiences and today just appears in toast. Many of his tricks weren’t even all that new. For example, Greek mythology had the Oenotropae who could change water into wine. If Jesus were the real thing, unlike the claims of other religions, he could’ve created a supernova or terraformed Israel to replace deserts with farmland. Or maybe something that would’ve left a record that we could see today.

Some Christians will agree and say that Jesus didn’t come to improve the lot of people on earth but simply to spread his message.

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. (John 10:37–8)

Okay, we can’t duplicate what Jesus did by magic. But everything that has been improved for humanity has been improved by humanity. Even granting for the sake of argument that they happened, technology puts the claimed miracles of Jesus in perspective.

Religion may not be dying just yet, 
but it’s sure getting feeble in this age of reason.
— comment at WWJTD blog

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 3/25/13.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia


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  • Michael Neville

    What Jesus did was the sort of magic tricks that any competent stage magician of that time could do.

  • wtfwjtd

    Compared to the achievements of mankind and his use of science, Jesus definitely comes off looking like a parlor-trick magician. And, whatever happened to being able to move mountains just by having faith the size of a grain of mustard seed? I don’t know of any Christian that can move even a pebble, much less anything resembling a mountain. More empty talk and hot air, all from the guy who didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. Now that’s a part of the Jesus message I can actually believe, since it’s so well demonstrated by the way his modern followers act.

    • epicurus

      Funny how many of the strong claims the Bible makes about what believers can do get pooh poohed if you bring them up, like you are some kind of rube for expecting them to actually be able to do the things Jesus says they should be able to do.

  • busterggi

    The greatest trick Jesus ever did was to convine billions of people that he wasn’t a fictional character.

  • MNb

    Jesus walked on water?
    Bah.
    Jamie Hyneman rode a motorbike on water.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYB7DYWI4G8

    • These guys are walking on water, except that they’re under water, upside down, walking on the ice.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIs00QjiJZQ

    • Michael Neville

      I knew a guy who tried to do that with a snowmobile. He got maybe 30 or 40 feet before it sank. It cost over $300 to get the thing repaired and that was in the 1970s.

      • Greg G.

        They know what causes that nowadays. Testosterone poisoning.

        • tsig

          Enhanced by alcohol, that well know IQ improver.

    • Greg G.

      That was cool. It should be in a James Bond movie where Bond is being pursued on a motorcycle by villains in cars and leaves them sinking in his wake.

  • Greg G.

    Hermes walked on water quite fabulously wearing sandals of gold in the Iliad. I’ve seen a woman water ski with dolphins.

    • All of House Lata has walked across the surface of the Mississippi.

      In January, in Minnesota.

  • epicurus

    The move “Agora” has a good scene near the beginning that shows how a half arsed event gets hyped up into a miracle later in the movie. Briefly, Christian challenges priest to walk across hot coals, Christian walks very quickly across, quick enough that nothing happens. Pagan priest doesn’t want to, they push him around until he falls down onto the coals, his cloak predictably catches fire, he gets up and runs away, taunted by Christians. Later in the movie, the quickly walking Christian is talking to someone who asks “are you the one who performed the miracle”? The story got embellished with important information about priests falling on hot coals being left out. Over a short period, it becomes a miracle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agora_%28film%29

    • Pofarmer

      We have a great example from here locally just a couple of years ago.
      One Sunday morning a woman was driving an older S Class Mercedes. Very heavy, very safe car. A drunk driver crossed the center line and hit her head on. She wound up upside down. Local volunteer firefighters show up and try to cut her out with their Jaws of LIfe by cutting the frame. It’s not designed to cut that heavy of metal, and they wind up ruining the jaws. They call another local department for a second set. Meanwhile, a Priest traveling to a local Parish for Mass shows up and prays with the woman and annoints here with oil. The locals decide they need to flip the car. Second department shows up with fresh tools and they cut the body of the car to extricate the woman, which is what the tools are designed to do. She winds up with moderate injuries but O.K. for such a crash.
      None of this sounds all that remarkable, right? Except that this became the Missouri Angel. The woman should have been killed. The Priest appeared out of nowhere. The tools miraculously worked after he appeared. The firefighters heard voices and felt an unnatural calm, etc, etc. The Priest finally came forward after the thing hit the National news and was getting a little too ramped up.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/07/angel-crash-missouri/2630227/

      http://abcnews.go.com/US/mystery-priest-missouri-car-accident-identified/story?id=19943412

      • Fascinating story, thanks.

      • epicurus

        That’s a great story! Shows how much people overlook the obvious if they really want to believe.

        • Greg G.

          If there were real miracles, they wouldn’t have to claim that a Bible surviving a car crash, or a lone human survivor of any event with multiple deaths, was a miracle. If there were real miracles, Jesus using toast for a selfie wouldn’t be a claimed miracle.

        • epicurus

          Ya, the bar is set pretty low, in the words of Sam Harris, prepare to be underwhelmed.

  • SparklingMoon

    Jesus walked on water.
    ———————————
    A study of the New Testament shows that it is not free from the element of superstition. In Matthew it states: ”And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit ; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer ; it is I ; be not afraid.Matthew (14:25-27)

    This is rank superstition. What man can ever walk on water ? Can any rational being be persuaded to believe these accounts ? If people could walk on water, why not today? If it is said that this was the special prerogative of Jesus, our reply is that this is not true because Jesus himself said that if his followers had faith as small as a grain of mustard seed, they would be able to show Signs greater than those shown by him.We have in John:

    ”Verily,verily,I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also ; and greater works than these shall he do ; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

    The question is, can Christians today walk on water?

    There are many passages in the New Testament that have superstitious descriptions. Anybody who is convinced of the greatness and rationality of Jesus cannot attribute these things to him or to his disciples. He will have to conclude that such passages have been added to the New Testament account by later writers.

    • This is rank superstition. What man can ever walk on water ?

      Huh? You can do that? You can just apply logic and common sense to reject stupid supernatural claims? But why apply it to just some claims and not them all?

      • SparklingMoon

        Jesus was just a human being like other prophets of God. He was born and used to eat and drink.:

        (5:76-78):The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; many Messengers have passed away before him. His mother was a paragon of truth and they both were in need of and ate food. Observe how We explain the signs for their benefit, then observe how they are led away. Ask them: Do you worship beside God that which has no power to do you harm or good? It is God Who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Admonish them: People of the Book, exceed not the bounds in the matte r of your religion unjustly, nor follow the vain desires of a people who themselves went astray before and caused many others to go astray, and who strayed away from the right path. (Quran 5:76-78)

        This verse of the Quran delivers a number of arguments against the alleged divinity of Jesus. Firstly it points out that Jesus was no better than other Messengers of God in any way. He enjoyed no higher status. He showed no miracles the like of which were not shown by other Prophets. In fact, the greatest miracle ascribed to him by his followers is that of the alleged raising of the dead. But the Bible ascribes similar miracles to other Prophets also. For example in the verses 2 King; (4:16, 17, 34,35)(13: 21) etc. as people waked up from their comma.

        The second argument mentioned by the verse against his alleged divnity is that he was born of a woman.Being born of a human being,he could not be divine. Moreover,a child is known to inherit some of the prominent traits of the physical and moral make-up of its parent.Jesus,being born of a woman, must have inherited her nature and her qualities and so he could not be God.

        Again, being human, he was, like other human beings, subject to the natural laws of hunger and of satisfying it by taking food and he was subject also to the natural phenomena that ensue,

        By describing the mother of Jesus in this verse as ‘a truthful woman’ the reveltion of the Quran has incidentally refuted the Jewish allegations concerning the birth of Jesus

        • Greg G.

          Mark 6:3 mentions Mary as being the mother of Jesus, the only place in that gospel where she is named.

          John 2:3-5 and John 19:25-27 mention the mother of Jesus but does not mention the name of “Mary”, while the second mention notes that the mother of Jesus has a sister named Mary, as if he is hinting that the mother of Jesus was not named Jesus. John has three women named Mary but does not call the mother of Jesus by that name.

          The epistles only say in Galatians 4:4 that Jesus was born of a woman, probably from Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1 and/or Isaiah 49:5, the most quoted and alluded to Old Testament book in the New Testament.

        • the Quran has incidentally refuted the Jewish allegations concerning the birth of Jesus

          Do you not understand how arguments work? You can’t just assume you’re right. You can’t just assume the Quran is correct and that any place it differs from some other religion, that religious must be wrong. You need to start with the assumption that it’s just an ancient book and go from there.

    • Greg G.

      There are many passages in the New Testament that have superstitious descriptions. Anybody who is convinced of the greatness and rationality of Jesus cannot attribute these things to him or to his disciples. He will have to conclude that such passages have been added to the New Testament account by later writers.

      Yes, but Christians believe it as strongly as you believe the revelations of the Quran, while the Christians see the Quran as superstitious nonsense. A person outside of a religion can objectively see the faults of that religion from a clearer perspective than someone who is only looking at the religion subjectively.

      If you applied the same level of skepticism to the Quran as you do to the Bible, you would be an atheist like us.

      • SparklingMoon

        There are no superstitious descriptions in the Quran and I also believe the same about the revelations of other prophets who appeared before Islam. The Quran has cleared Jesus(as) from calumnies that have been connoted to him by misguiding people:

        [Quran 4:172] O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and a fulfillment of His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not ‘They are three.’ Desist, it will be better for you. Verily, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian. [4:173] Surely, the Messiah will never disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor will the angels near unto God; and whoso disdains to worship Him and feels proud, He will gather them all to Himself.

        (Quran 5:117-119)Keep in mind, When God wil l ask Jesus, son of Mary: Didst thou say to the people: Take me and my mother for two Gods besides Allah? And he will answer: Holy art Thou. It behoves me not to have said that to which I have no right. Had I said it, Thou wouldst surely have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is only Thou who possessest full knowledge of all that is hidden. I said naught to them except that which Thou didst command me, that is: Worship God, my Lord and your Lord. I watched over them as long as I was present among them, but since Thou caused me to die, Thou hast been the One to watch over them. Indeed Thou dost watch over all things, if Thou decide to punish them they are Thy servants; and If Thou forgive them, then surely Tho u art the Mighty, Wise.

        • Greg G.

          If the Quran claims that Jesus was only a messenger, then it disputes the very evidence of Jesus, which is shaky to begin with. The gospels are based on the literature of the day from Greek, Jewish, and Christian sources but the claims in the gospels are not supported by those sources. The epistles talk about Jesus a lot, but only in terms of the Old Testament, not about anything he did in the first century. Mary is only a character in the fictional story of the gospels.

          What you are trying to quote as irrefutable proof is more fables.

        • MNb

          “There are no superstitious descriptions in the Quran”
          No.

          2:54-56 “And when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Ye have wronged yourselves by your choosing of the calf (for worship) so turn in penitence to your Creator, and kill (the guilty) yourselves. That will be best for you with your Creator and He will relent toward you. Lo! He is the Relenting, the Merciful. And when ye said: O Moses! We will not believe in thee till we see Allah plainly; and even while ye gazed the lightning seized you. Then We revived you after your extinction, that ye might give thanks.”
          Moses tells his people to commit suicide, gets killed by allah and then revived again.

          2:234 “Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they (the wives) shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days. And when they reach the term (prescribed for them) then there is no sin for you in aught that they may do with themselves in decency. Allah is informed of what ye do.”

          Allah is severely displeased when a widow has sex four months and two days after her husband died.

          91:1-2 “By the sun and his brightness, And the moon when she followeth him.”
          According to the Quran the Moon follows the Sun. Thanks to science we know better.

        • SparklingMoon

          Moses tells his people to commit suicide, gets killed by allah and then revived again.
          ———————————–

          Ir states in the Quran: [2:55] ”And remember the time when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, you have indeed wronged yourselves by taking the calf for worship; turn you therefore to your Maker, and kill your evil desires; that is the best for you with your Maker.’ Then He turned towards you with compassion. Surely, He is Oft-Returning with compassion, and is Merciful.” (The translation can be checked here http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?submitCh=Read+from+verse%3A&ch=2&verse=53

          The Arabic word in the verse ” Faktaloo” does not mean killing of physical body. The meaning of this word is also to finish or destroy totally. It is described in the verse ” to kill your own selves” and here it means to destroy inner evil desires of nature. Here is this verse the people of Israel are advised to turn to their God Almighty for worship and repent before Him for their mistake of worshiping the gold calf. They were advised by their prophet Moses that they should turned to their God Almighty to reform this weakness of their natures and they should totally destroy their inner desire to worship other objects.

          This incident states in the Bible says: “Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Muses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men ” (Exod.32:27,28).

          This description of the Bible is totally against ten commandments Mosaic Law as it was ordered:( Exodus 20:13) “You shall not murder”. and the revelation of the Quran also has testified this law of Mosaic Law: [5:33] ..We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder (by making a war) in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.

          This incident of worship of calf of people of Israel exist both scriptures but difference is about the translation of the word ”killing” Translation of those verses that have metaphoric language must be translated according to the clear verses of that scripture. These words in the Bible are translation of Hebrew words(the language of the people of Israel) that might had changed the original meanings of the description (used by the people of Israel) Secondly, these words are not revelation but descriptions mentioned by latter coming people from heard stories.

        • SparklingMoon

          Allah is severely displeased when a widow has sex four months and two days after her husband died.
          ———————————————

          Actually this time ” four months and two days” for a woman after the death of husband, is to safe the rights of unborn child . This waiting time is to know either she is pregnant or not . According to the law of the Quran father is responsible for all expenditure of a child and his child would be heir of his property

        • Ignorant Amos

          And that doesn’t seem at all ridiculous to you?

          Seriously?

        • SparklingMoon

          I think there is nothing ridiculous. These are simple principles that have been suggested to safe the rights of both parties; mother and child. For example what would be the life and future of a child if has no financial security after his birth.

        • SparklingMoon

          According to the Quran the Moon follows the Sun. Thanks to science we know better.
          —————————————–
          It states in the Quran [91:2] By the sun and its growing brightness,[91:3] And by the moon when it follows it (the sun),http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=91

          Firstly, Our Moon orbits the Earth and that the Earth orbits the Sun. It is a fact that Sun of our solar system is moving in a particular direction of the universe and its all planets with their moons have been following it.

          Secondly, the word ”the sun” in the verse metaphorically used for prophet of Islam. He is called many times in the Quran ”the sun of the spiritual world”.

          The verses of this surah (91) had been revealed in the very early Meccan period. Some scholars regard it as having been revealed in the first year of the Call; others assign it to the second or third year.

          God Almighty had promised in this verse: ”By the sun and its growing brightness”(91:2) that as the light of sun spreads progressively on earth as the light of the message of prophet of Islam(sa) would spread to enlighten it .

          The word ” the moon” in the verse: [91:3] ”And by the moon when it follows it (the sun)” is used for those followers who will take light from the teachings of prophet of Islam (spiritual sun) and will enlighten the world in dark times to find right path. This word ” the moon” is specially used for Promised Messiah in the Quran.

    • Are you aware that many people find serial plagiarism grossly unethical?

      This habit actually does theism a genuine disservice by reinforcing the impression that apologists tend to be some combination of lazy, unoriginal, and dishonest. Something to consider if you value credibility.

    • RichardSRussell

      What man can ever walk on water?

      https://youtu.be/dycpIPTFJ04
      https://youtu.be/pkLZk2NDeU4
      https://youtu.be/5GWhOLorDtw

      but these guys were faking it:
      https://youtu.be/WYRNBZOKp_M
      subsequently revealed to be a hoax (as Jesus’s comparable feats were not).

      BTW, I’m reminded of the joke about the disciples being out on the Sea of Galilee a few days after Jesus was crucified, and they spot him on the shore, getting set to walk out to them. Partway out he starts to sink, but they row over and pull him up into the boat, sopping wet. “What happened, Lord?”, they ask, “You always used to be able to do this.” Sadly, Jesus points to his feet. “Didn’t have these holes then.”

  • Max Doubt

    Having been a pro/semipro magician for the past 40+ years, I can say I’m not swayed in the least by any description of anything Jesus supposedly did. I’ve met people in social situations who relate a memory of a magician they saw at a bar, restaurant, or party maybe 20 or 30 years ago. They describe a particular trick they remember, sometimes in great detail. By their description, time frame, event, etc., I can tell the magician was me. The way they remember the trick? Damn. It’s a miracle, I tell ya! I wish I could do such a thing.

  • L.Long

    Considering this is suppose to be gawd! The buyBull is full of useless crap!
    My favorite question to xtians or any religion…..Compared to science, name any one thing any religion has done for the betterment of humanity as a whole. Example… One of the #1 things that made life easier is just the simple thing of brushing your teeth! It took science and medicine to get this into general practice and saving many lives. Now name one thing religion has done to do the same.
    Xtian back arguments…
    Well the buyBull is not a science book (like NO SCHITE!).
    It is to prepare you for after death to meet gawd! (who gives a schite as you cannot even show gawd or heaven are an actuality!!)
    It makes me feel good and makes life bearable. (So does being drunk! So drink more).
    And despite what some ignorant religions people think (if they do) NO ONE has flown airplanes into a building screaming …Glory to ???? nothing????.

  • RichardSRussell

    A salient point in this comparison is that the miracles of Jesus all required the “active ingredient” to be Jesus, who turns out never to be around when you really need him. OTOH, you and I can regularly do something that Jesus never even dreamed of: communicating virtually instantly with a person (or maybe a whole lot of people all at once) halfway around the planet. And ANY of us can do it, provided we have access to those widely available, human-created inventions, electricity, computers, and the Internet. No Jesus needed.

  • Scooter

    Bob, By suggesting that Jesus performed magic tricks you are inadvertently and ironically placing yourself among the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. You and a whole posse of scribes and pharisees had heard that Jesus was performing miracles (Mark 3:22-26) and they traveled from Jerusalem to check it out. When they examined Christ’s ministry (as you have done) they issued a startling accusation (as you have done) that Jesus was exorcising demons in the name of Beelzebub. In other words he was doing magic tricks since magic refers to the supernatural action of the dark side. You can read for yourself how Jesus responded and shut them up. But there’s one miracle that Jesus performed that modern medicine can’t imitate. He raised Lazarus after 4 days. You’ll maybe recall that Jesus decided to wait an extra day or 2 before he went to the grave site. By this time Lazarus was decomposing and Jesus raised him from the dead. You see there were skeptics in those days as well and Jesus wanted there to be no doubt that this was a miracle.

    • You and a whole posse of scribes and pharisees had heard that Jesus was performing miracles (Mark 3:22-26)

      Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it history.

      When they examined Christ’s ministry (as you have done) they issued a startling accusation (as you have done) that Jesus was exorcising demons in the name of Beelzebub.

      When I examined the Bible, I issue a starting claim that the story of Jesus is legendary. (Oh, wait—that’s not startling at all. In fact, that’s exactly how you do it. Except for Jesus.)

      In other words he was doing magic tricks since magic refers to the supernatural action of the dark side.

      To me, “magic” is the same as “using the supernatural.” No light/dark is implied.

      But there’s one miracle that Jesus performed that modern medicine can’t imitate. He raised Lazarus after 4 days.

      Today, medical interns in a week dispense more medical good than Jesus did in his entire ministry.

      You’ll maybe recall that Jesu s decided to wait an extra day or 2 before he went to the grave site. By this time Lazarus was decomposing and Jesus raised him from the dead. You see there were skeptics in those days as well and Jesus wanted there to be no doubt that this was a miracle.

      You do know that it’s just a story, right? If you want to argue that it’s actually history, go ahead, but you’ve got a big hill to climb.

      • tsig

        Hes’ got a big hill to move.

    • epicurus

      Why won’t God heal amputees?

      • I think because they were bad. Every last one of them.

      • Scooter

        Actually He will. We read in 2 Corinthians 5 that Christians will be given a new body that is incorruptible. So there will be no more missing limbs, teeth, disease, etc. The problem for finite human minds is that we live in a brief period of time and we expect everything to happen right now before our eyes before we will believe. But I think what lies behind your question is-if I pray for a healing and God doesn’t answer then He must not exist. Right? But that is a logical fallacy called a non sequitur in that the conclusion that God doesn’t exist because he doesn’t heal a missing limb doesn’t follow. God’s existence is independent of what He does or doesn’t do. Even if He did grow back a limb would that make everyone believe? I think not for even when Jesus was performing miracles in the plain sight of people they still didn’t believe He was the promised messiah.
        Also one of Jesus’ disciples was Dr. Luke. Today we have Dr.’s and medicine that will attend to those who have missing limbs and they do marvelous work. It seems that God has chosen to the medical community to develop those qualities of service to the needs of individuals. If God zapped every problem with an immediate fix, where would these qualities develop and how would compassion, love and care grow and be experienced?

        One last thought, if God fixed every missing limb why wouldn’t He look after every accident or disease that took that limb? And then what about every bad decision made on our highways couldn’t and shouldn’t God prevent every disaster? Do you see where this is heading? What freedom would we have to do anything without big brother overlooking every detail of our lives?

        • if I pray for a healing and God doesn’t answer then He must not exist. Right?

          Pretty much, since that’s what the Bible promises.

          It seems that God has chosen to the medical community to develop those qualities of service to the needs of individuals.

          Is that what it seems like? Seems to me that when Christians are forced to explain away God’s apathy with weak arguments like “Well, God must’ve empowered doctors to heal people,” that is almost proof that this god doesn’t exist.

        • Philmonomer

          One last thought, if God fixed every missing limb why wouldn’t He look after every accident or disease that took that limb? And then what about every bad decision made on our highways couldn’t and shouldn’t God prevent every disaster? Do you see where this is heading? What freedom would we have to do anything without big brother overlooking every detail of our lives?

          Is there freedom in heaven?

        • Scooter

          One will have the total freedom to be what he/she was always intended to be.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not total freedom unless one can be what one wants to be. It’s not freedom, either. It’s more like being a slave. I guess if one is gullible enough, that person could be a slave and believe it when told it is heaven.

          Religion warps a brain so that the victim cannot even use simple words in a comprehensible sentence.

        • MNb

          So it’s possible to do evil in Heaven. Then what’s the difference with Earth and why should I care about going there after I die?

        • Philmonomer

          So it is possible to have total freedom, but no harms.

        • tsig

          So god won’t heal amputees so that the medical community can develop virtues?

        • buttle

          “I think what lies behind your question is-if I pray for a healing and God doesn’t answer then He must not exist. Right? But that is a logical fallacy”

          1 Kings 18:20-40
          Particularly verse 27: “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

          Did Elijah commit a logical fallacy? Do you think Baal could be a god? Do you think Elijah slaugthered 450 people?

        • Michael Neville

          We read in 2 Corinthians 5 that Christians will be given a new body that is incorruptible. So there will be no more missing limbs, teeth, disease, etc.

          Does etc. include foreskins for those men who underwent circumcision? Also as a child I underwent orthodontic treatment to correct an overbite, which included removing two teeth. Will these teeth be put back, giving me an overbite again? Similar questions occur concerning conditions like hare lips and other congenital malformations. For that matter, what ages will these bodies be? Will children who died young be adults in Heaven or will they remain children?

          You need to give more thought to what you’re saying will happen to bodies in Heaven.

        • And what about people who died of Huntington’s or some other debilitating genetic gift from God? Will they get an incorruptible version of their old, crappy body?

          Gee, thanks God.

        • Greg G.

          There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in hell. If someone lost their teeth or their ability to wail, those will be provided. If people in hell get restored, obviously people in heaven could expect the same. QED.

        • Greg G.

          But I think what lies behind your question is-if I pray for a healing and God doesn’t answer then He must not exist. Right?

          Of course not. There could still be a malevolent god who never answers prayers but it does rule out the god of the New Testament.

        • Scooter

          Not only could be but in fact does exist and known by a number of names in scripture-serpent, Lucifer, Satan, Abaddon, Accuser, Devil, Beast, Belial, Apollyon, Dragon, Evil One, Father of lies, god of this age, King of the bottomless pit, King of Tyre, Enemy, Liar, Prince of the power of the air, etc., etc. Yes and a whole lot more which point to a malevolent god.

        • Michael Neville

          If you want a malevolent god then look no further than Yahweh. According to the propaganda he’s a sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. He kills people just because he can. The term “innocent bystander” means nothing to your thug of a god.

        • Scooter

          propaganda-that’s all it is.

        • Greg G.

          By “propaganda”, he meant the Bible. Is that what you are agreeing to?

        • Michael Neville

          I was referring to your Bible.

        • Scooter

          Well then, that’s plain ridiculous and I won’t dignify your comment by responding to it.

        • Michael Neville

          You already do, idiot.

          As for evidence, let’s consider Exodus. Pharaoh won’t listen to a political lobbyist so what does your god do? He kills the “first born of Egypt.” That’s right, lots of kids get to die because the political ruler, who has been set up by Yahweh to fail (Ex 9:12), does what Yahweh wanted him to do. Please explain how a bunch of children dying shows your god to be anything but a murderous thug?

        • Susan

          that’s plain ridiculous and I won’t dignify your comment by responding to it.

          Have you read your Bible?

        • adam

          “propaganda-that’s all it is.”

          That is why the appeal to ‘god’ is emotional and not rational.

        • Are you deliberately not getting it? The guy in charge could be a malicious god. In that case, of course, the Christian concept of the supernatural is overthrown.

        • Greg G.

          You left out “the anger of the Lord”.

          2 Samuel 24:1 (NRSV)1 Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

          1 Chronicles 21:1 (NRSV)1 Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel.

        • Greg G.

          BTW, you are trying to prove Satan exists after I showed the god of the New Testament does not exist.

          On the other hand, we could just live in an indifferent universe and people use confirmation bias without realizing it to believe what they wish to be true. That would explain why believers resign themselves to excuses like the existence of Satan and “mysterious ways”.

        • MNb

          Aha. You’re a polytheist. Do you realize that your evil god has killed a lot less people than your good god?

          http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/who-has-killed-more-satan-or-god.html

          Apparently you think “killing 10 = evil” and “killing over 2 million = good”. If that’s what christianity has done with you I rather remain an unbeliever.

        • Max Doubt

          “Not only could be but in fact does exist and known by a number of names in scripture…”

          It is dishonest for you to claim the existence of supernatural beings to be a fact if you can’t objectively demonstrate that they do exist. And as far as we know, both you and I, and everyone else in this conversation, as far as we all know there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods are something other than figments of individuals’ imaginations. You’d be lying to say a god of any sort “in fact does exist”.

        • epicurus

          Well, I think you missed my point, or I didn’t explain it properly: God is either unwilling or unable, here and now, not in some future world that never arrives (even Jesus got it wrong, thinking that world would be within a generation) to perform miracles that are verifiable and do not happen in the natural world. Many people of all religions claim that God is doing miracles, but none of those supposed miracles are things that can be shown to be miraculous, they are often either exaggerated or things that happen to various people, including non believers who don’t pray – back pain ending or Cancer in remission.
          But limbs do not grow back in humans. Lost eye balls do not reappear no matter how much a person prays. If someone prayed and their lost leg reappeared, that would be much more impressive and more likely to be a miracle. That’s what the question “Why won’t God heal amputees” is referring to.

        • Scooter

          Thanks for clarifying. The idea that Jesus was wrong about all those things that were to happen in that same generation is routinely tossed about. ( Mat.24:34 “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”) The key to understanding much of the Bible is context. If we read the verses around this one verse particularly the section just before this verse we understand that Jesus is referring to that future generation when those events will take place. If you think about it we talk in the same way at times. For example: A basketball coach explaining to the media and his present team how he’s putting together a dream team for the future Olympics and he says “this team” will see olympic gold.

          As far as why won’t God heal amputees, I think one needs to ask whether their assumptions behind the question are sound. For example, Why does God have to heal amputees? Does His benevolence require him to do what one asks for? We live in a cursed world because of Adam’s sin and so we live with disease, accidents and death. So if God is required to grant our every wish we should theoretically avoid death. However this isn’t the plan apparently. Once Christ returns at the end of this age and sin is dealt with these problems will disappear.

          Here’s a quote that illustrates the other side of healing.

          ” The testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada provides a modern example of what God can do through physical tragedy. As a teenager, Joni suffered a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. In her book Joni, she relates how she visited faith healers many times and prayed desperately for the healing which never came. Finally, she accepted her condition as God’s will, and she writes, “The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that God doesn’t want everyone well. He uses our problems for His glory and our good.” Joni also wrote, “Man’s dealing with God in our day and culture is based on His Word rather than ‘signs and wonders. His grace is sufficient, and His Word is sure.”

          Another assumption is that God doesn’t treat amputees fairly. Yet, Scripture is clear that God is perfectly just and in His sovereignty answers to no one. A believer has faith in God’s goodness, even when circumstances make it difficult and reason seems to falter.

          I basically see your question as a trick question, comparable to “Can God make a rock too big for Him to lift?” and is designed not to seek for truth but to discredit faith.

        • The key to understanding much of the Bible is context. If we read the verses around this one verse particularly the section just before this verse we understand that Jesus is referring to that future generation when those events will take place.

          So Jesus is saying, “Truly, I say to you, this generation (that is, the generation in which all these things take place) will not pass away until all these things take place”? You’d think the Son of God could communicate better.

          As far as why won’t God heal amputees, I think one needs to ask whether their assumptions behind the question are sound. For example, Why does God have to heal amputees?

          Because people ask, and Jesus promised, “Ask and ye shall receive.” You gonna call Jesus a liar?

          Does His benevolence require him to do what one asks for?

          Yes, but more to the point, his promise does.

          “The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that God doesn’t want everyone well. He uses our problems for His glory and our good.”

          Wow, what an asshole this guy is! He could solve our problems, but no, we need to suffer for the greater good of a god? Isn’t he already at perfect? We’ve got to sacrifice for his benefit? That’s pretty messed up.

          Another assumption is that God doesn’t treat amputees fairly. Yet, Scripture is clear that God is perfectly just and in His sovereignty answers to no one.

          Right. Scripture claims that God is just, we see that he’s not, therefore Scripture is wrong. Not a hard computation, is it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Right. Scripture claims that God is just, we see that he’s not, therefore Scripture is wrong. Not a hard computation, is it?

          Now either the pretzel-mania apologetic’s will commence…orrrrr…it’ll be a rapid retreat and off ta Croydon to press the restart button.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit dude. You know that the world looks exactly like one without your God if you have to go to that much twisted “logic” to rationalize beleif in it.

        • adam

          “Actually He will. We read in 2 Corinthians 5 that Christians will be given a new body that is incorruptible.”

          Yes, he will throw in a Brooklyn Bridge if you buy now…..

        • busterggi

          And the undercoating, never forget the undercoating.

    • tsig

      Raised any dead people lately, moved any mountains? No, then you are ot True™ Christian.

    • Michael Neville

      In other words he was doing magic tricks since magic refers to the supernatural action of the dark side.

      But Gandalf is good. I’m not so sure about Penn Jillette though.

  • Yonah

    My children’s sermons are not designed to be impressive, but to get the job done. The miracle stories are not designed to impress, but to function as part of a narrative designed to teach a moral lesson.

    • Michael Neville

      What moral story is told by walking on water?

      • Greg G.

        You must live as cleanly as Ivory soap.

        • sandy

          or Marilyn Chambers

        • Greg G.

          I see what you did there.

      • Yonah

        To keep the faith.

        • Michael Neville

          That’s not a moral story. Keeping the faith is also known as wishful thinking, hoping that despite all evidence something is true. How moral is pretending something is true?

        • Yonah

          In the historical context, early Christianity (Jewish Christianity) was anti-war movement/anti-Rome movement. It was illegal…for good reason. The “Lord” of the Church was proclaimed “Lord” in opposition to Caesar who proclaimed himself “Lord”. Early Christianity was a political rebellion against an evil system. Keeping the faith meant not giving into Rome…an act which carried a high probability of martyrdom. Keeping the faith meant taking that risk….for the sake of the Gospel.

        • MNb

          Eeehhh …. could you show the Roman law that made jewish christianity illegal?
          I mean, before 70 CE the Romans didn’t even have a serious idea what jewish christianity was. Afterwards christianity gradually became less and less jewish due to the competition with rabbinical judaism (the successors of the pharisees).
          Afterwards christians (unlike jews) didn’t have to maintain the Law nor had to pay the Fiscus Judaicus. Sometimes they were prosecuted for not worshipping other gods then their jealous one. But illegal?
          I smell a tasty persecution complex here.

          “Early Christianity was a political rebellion against an evil system.”
          Early christianity was nothing but a jewish sect – one that actually refused to participate in the first big jewish rebellion against that very same evil Roman system. Neither did christians join when jews rebelled later. Christianity was as rebellious against Roman authority as Chrustiov against Stalin.
          And it still doesn’t look good for Jesus that he thought it appropriate to insult noble animals like the Sus Scrofa Domesticus with evil Romans.

        • Yonah

          I would improve my statement with the qualification that it was illegal to the extent that its agenda was known or manifest. True, the Romans would generally be intermittent with their pogroms in relation to their understanding or fear of what was brewing up from “the Jews.”

          I concur with Robert Eisenman that was both the NT and the Pauline church did was obfuscate the level to which Jewish Christianity was on the same page with the Qumran community and other Jewish nationalists. His exhaustive exposition of James shows that James and his group remained in the Jewish nationalist camp. The fact that events changed dramatically and quickly is just that. The Pauline/Lukan camp took the Hillary strategy of evolutionary subversion of the system. The James camp took the Bernie Sanders revolutionary strategy…and lost.

          I’m holding out for Bernie, and will vote for Hillary if I have to. I will probably have to.

        • Max Doubt

          “Keeping the faith meant not giving into Rome…an act which carried a high probability of martyrdom. Keeping the faith meant taking that risk….for the sake of the Gospel.”

          Like Robert dear, one of the most dedicated committed Christians alive today.

        • Yonah

          That was an irrational statement.

        • Max Doubt

          “That was an irrational statement.”

          I typo’ed Robert Dear’s last name, left the “d” as lower case. I fixed it. Now it is perfectly rational and germane to the conversation. Sorry ’bout that.

          You do know who Robert Dear is, don’t you? He’s one of today’s most dedicated Christians, standing stronger for his principles than most all the other Christians we know of, at least in the US he is.

        • adam

          “Early Christianity was a political rebellion against an evil system. ”

          Which then rapidly evolved into the evil system itself…

        • Yonah

          In regard to how the Church turned on Judaism, yes, the Church was drawn into evil. In the modern era, the sex abuse scandals have revealed how the Church has used corporate butt covering methodology to protect its bottom line. This also has been a mixing with evil.

        • adam

          “This also has been a mixing with evil.”

          A fundamental problem with concentration of power, especially when claiming your power comes from magic.

        • adam

          “To keep the faith.”

          To BELIEVE in MAGIC….

    • You need to go back to the Good Book, my friend. You’re forgetting that Jesus said, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

      The miracles are indeed intended to impress (not in their grandeur, necessarily, but that they’re supernatural).

      • Yonah

        ALL of that is a narrative designed to teach a theological point of the relationship of Jesus to the Father.

        • Jesus makes clear that the miracles are no throwaway part of the story; they’re essential.

        • Yonah

          Jesus didn’t write the story. This is why Borg et al founded The Jesus Seminar.

        • I realize Jesus didn’t write the story, but who cares who wrote it? Are you saying that the story isn’t accurate?

        • Yonah

          It matters who wrote it because authors of literature have an agenda. A New Testament miracle story is not the genre of literature you claim it to be. It’s midrash, a new type of midrash for its day…that is, it was both political and sociological over against the Roman political/military machine and Greco-Roman culture. It’s a Jewish thing…a Jewish counter-cultural war-time thing.

        • How do we support belief in the gospels then? If it’s just protest writing, you seem to have lost historicity and the reason to believe the Jesus story.

        • Yonah

          The gospels of the NT are representations of the Gospel. A gospel is its own literary genre which is not an attempt to narrate history but to present The Faith theologically, politically, and sociologically.

          Your critique is upsetting to fundamentalists, but not to serious students of the Bible. And, this has been the case for a very long time. Your desire for historicity is the whole business of the Historical Critical tradition of biblical scholarship from Bultmann to the Jesus Seminar. This is standard mainline seminary fare.

        • This is standard mainline seminary fare.

          (1) So what is the Bible to you then? Just a faith statement? Why accept it if there are no facts behind it?

          Your faith is like smoke. You’re delighted that any bullets I fire go right through you … but what does that say about this faith of yours? You make it impervious to an evidence-based critique, and you’ve squeezed out any reason to accept it.

          (2) You understand that the Bible isn’t history? Then why waste time around here when you could go knock some sense into your Fundamentalist brethren? They’re doing their best to use their nutty views to change society; seems like it’s best for both of us if they’d learn how religion fits into a secular society.

        • Yonah

          My personal analogy of what the Bible is…is our faith’s family scrapbook. The scrapbook has snapshots and snippets of various family stuff…some of it might be poetry from 3rd grade. Other stuff is pictures of family members who aren’t my favorite…but, they’re still my family.

          Again, I see faith as a moral category which primarily has impact in terms of action. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was faithful. He tried to kill Hitler.

          Because the Bible is polyphonic (to use Brueggemann’s word), or perhaps a work of art, it should not be categorized as one dimensional (i.e. history). No. The Bible is historical and it contains some historicity, but it also contains political, cultural, and theological agenda. It is an anthology of disparate voices over a lengthy time. Study of individual texts doesn’t primary gain historicity data, but an insight to what people were thinking and dealing with at a certain time…and then one can choose to ask the question of how or if any of that relates to one’s life now.

          As for the Fundamentalists. They are not brethren in the faith. They are not Christian…no matter what they have to say about it…or anyone else. They are not Christian.

        • You’re making no sense. You’re trying to have it both ways. I’ll point out how the Bible is in error (the Exodus, for example, or Jesus saying that the End will be in the lifetime of his hearers), and you’ll say that it’s not a history book. Then I’ll wonder how you can put groundless claims in the foundation of your worldview, and you’ll say the Bible is historical.

          Is this yet another unfalsifiable worldview? If so, you’ve got much more in common with Fundamentalists than you want to admit.

        • Yonah

          The Bible is historical in the sense that it was written in the past…in various times of the past, and it contains some elements of historicity…some of which are obvious, and others which must be gleaned through historical critical scholarship. That scholarship also strives to discern how certain historical political/cultural/theological agendas have shaped the text…sometimes in opposing ways. In the OT, the Yahwist, priestly, Elohist and Deuteronomic parties had differing agendas…it’s why you have several creation accounts…an editor scrapbooked the differing traditions even though they differed with each other. But, the Bible is not written as a history textbook. It is a historical resource/artifact that historians examine in order to make historical theories/judgments. Again, our family scrapbook has history in it, but it is not a history book.

        • MNb

          “It is a historical resource/artifact that historians examine in order to make historical theories/judgments.”
          I don’t have any problem with that one.
          What I do have a problem with – and many historians with me – is the jump you make to “that resource/artifact bears relevance for us humans today.”
          I wouldn’t know why.
          To get back at my favourite issue: I don’t have any problem with a human Jesus who felt contempt for pigs. As every single other human he was just the product of his time and place. I do have serious problems – and this story illustrates why – with accepting (without any critical reasoning, like you do) what that specific character said as relevant for us in the 21st Century.
          And indeed I sincerely hope that humans in the 41st Century will think my ethical views as irrelevant as I think the ones reflected in the Gospels. Here we have a serious problem though. Way too many people think that those Gospels are worth paying special attention to. ‘Cuz Jesus. And that’s where the pigs come in, plus several other issues (the Sermon on the Mount is not exactly a moral zenith either).

        • Yonah

          For me, the matter of relevance is an issue of choice. I can choose Jesus’ way or not.

          I have to wonder if you are paying more attention to the characters in Mark 5 than what should be the obvious political cartooning the author is drawing in the narrative. You have Demons….Legion…Pigs. The author is calling the Romans “pigs”…and so, death to them. (I’m pretty sure real pigs fared better.)

        • buttle

          The romans are the the guy on the mount, living among the tombs, and he is doing just fine. The jews are still scared of him even after he is freed of the evil spirits. The real pigs with evil spirits are the ones drawned in the lake, which were NOT romans.

        • Yonah

          “Legion” = Roman military. They are demons and swine.

        • MNb

          As they represented an evil empire (your words) the moral lesson to be learned is: feel contempt for those noble animals.
          And you refuse to do so.

        • Yonah

          I don’t understand your sentence.

        • buttle

          They are seen as pigs by someone (in a very literal way, we are talking about the lestai in the temple and the unlucky population of Jerusalem) but not by Mark (who ironically pictured the rebels as their nemesis: pigs…).
          Listen, the tale is quite confusing as it is, but you can’t read into this the attitude of a completely different author, like the crazy jewish christian who wrote Revelation. This tale was coined by a gentile christian who had no trouble at all with roman rule over Judea, including the casus belli: taxation, and who instead despised the jewish rebels. This is not a jewish polemic against roman occupation during the time of Tiberius, this is an allegory of the first jewish war from the point of view of a peaceful roman christian. The war is bad, this goes without saying. Rebels are bad because they started the war. Romans didn’t start the war, they are not the real problem, there is no reason to kill them. Jesus is the solution, faith in him could turn even the most scary legion into peaceful people, and remove any need for rebellion, and save the city, with no fighting involved. But jewish rebels are too stupid to understand this, they can only think of a military victory (and a military messiah), they rejected Jesus and are well deservedly killed and their city and temple destroyed. Every other pericope of this gospel mocks the stubborn jews and praises the accepting gentiles (and the few accepting jews), why should Mark 5 be any different? Why would someone who interprets the destruction of the temple as a fullfilled prophecy want to see the fullfillers dead? They were the way god chose to rightly punish the jews. I don’t think i can put it in a clearer way, so this is likely my last attempt.

        • Yonah

          Oh. So, you are an anti-semite.

          I’m a Jew.

          And, that’s the divide here. Simple.

        • buttle

          What part of “from the point of view of a peaceful roman” are you failing to understand? I don’t believe a bit of that shit (well, the rebels were morons indeed), it’s the gospel of Mark that is anti-jewish, and everybody with half a brain knows it, have you ever read it? What a waste of time…

        • TheNuszAbides

          not as anti-Jewish as gJohn, or so it’s been said.

        • Greg G.

          I think that the story is based on the Cyclops from The Odyssey whose name was Polyphemus, which is made of parts of “polygon” and “blasphemy” to mean “famous” , or literally, “many speak of”. In his self-introduction, he uses “polys” in the “for we are many” phrase. Also, Mark put “lego” for said immediately before “Legio”, for, roughly “many soldiers” and “said” together.

          The story is dressed up with a verse from Isaiah and a Psalm that refer to chains and swine.

          Mark used a bilingual pun to let his readers recognize Polyphemus in the story.

        • Bones

          The emblem of the occupying Roman legion was a pig.

        • buttle

          I know, and this is part of the tale, but not in the trivial way it is commonly read.

        • Greg G.

          I have been able to find one legion that used the boar as an emblem that was ever in Judea but it came to the region in 74 AD. It used several emblems in its history. I haven’t found anything that says that legion used the boar emblem in first century Judea/Palestine.

        • Pofarmer

          Which simply argues for later dating…….

        • Greg G.

          If anything, it would date Mark more likely to the mid to late 70s, as it would be less likely for people to know that there was a Legion in Judea with the symbol of a boar if it had been there fifty years ago. Something like that doesn’t seem like it would last long in the public memory for a war against such a minor force.

          My source seems to be the same one IA quoted from and it says that Legio X Fretentsis had a few emblems including the boar, the bull, and the dolphin but by the 3rd century, the emblem was the bull only. I am wondering when it used the boar as an emblem. Was that a first century BC emblem only? I would like to see where the information is found in the ancient texts before drawing any conclusions from it.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          Thanks. That answers my questions with hard evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m considering getting my hands on a copy of…

          “Caesar’s Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar’s Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome”

          http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/68546.Caesar_s_Legion

        • Greg G.

          Please read it loud enough for me to hear.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s freaky because a just got the audio book.

        • Pofarmer

          What about during Bar Kochba revolt?

        • Greg G.

          That was 60 years after Legio X Fretensis was deployed. That legion had coins with boars and Titus on them, according to the link IA gave me. That would be unlikely at the time of the Bar Kohkba. Is there any evidence linking pigs and that legion to the second century?

          Mark doesn’t seem to have been all that familiar with the geography but seems to get his information from texts.

        • Pofarmer

          Check out

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

          at any rate, I think you can make plenty of arguments that the pigs were a literary device. The use of 2000 is an interesting device, since the normal number of a Roman Legion was 5000.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were three Legio X at different times and places.

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

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

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

          The one after Fretensis is the one that might fit the Bar Kohbha rebellion better. But their symbol was a bull apparently.

          Vexillationes of the X Gemina fought against the rebellion of Simon bar Kokhba in 132-135, in Iudaea, others participated in the Parthian campaign of Lucius Verus in 162. Another major campaign was the one fought against the Quadi, Marcomanni and the Lombards, in Moravia, (Dyje-Svratka Vale) under the command of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (168-180). A garrisson of Legio X GPF was found in the Czech Republic in Roman fortress in Moravia (Mušov)

        • Greg G.

          I have been investigating the number 2000 the past few days but haven’t found any connections. The Feeding of the 5000 and the Feeding of the 4000 seem to be about the two feast Telemauchus, Odysseus’ son, attended where one is said to have men seated in nine groups of 500, so one is rounded up and one rounded down.

          Mark usually takes a piece of literature and seasons it with an OT scripture or two. I think the Legion exorcism is based on the Cyclops story in The Odyssey dressed with Isaiah 65:4, which is about sitting in tombs and eating pork and Psalm 107:10 about sitting in darkness and being a prisoner in irons which are mentioned in Mark 5:4. The swine in Isaiah ties in the Circe episode with Odysseus’ men being turned in to pigs.

          The name of the Cyclops was “Polyphemus” which means “famous” through its literal meaning of “many speak about”, as seen is the common roots of “polygon” and “blasphemy”. The text of introduction of Legion has the Greek word “lego” for “said” and the Latin word “Legio” which might imply “many soldiers” and the juxtaposition of one immediately following the other would make a person who knew Greek and Latin connect the two words by a bilingual pun.

          So I think the passage is pretty well explained from sources that Mark uses a lot without resorting to anything else. It is just the approximate number 2000 that I continue to ponder.

          But the boar emblem on coins from the Titus era points to the destruction of Jerusalem rather than eliminates it. The Bar Kohkba Revolt was more about everywhere but Jerusalem.

        • In a slight tangent from numerology, does anyone know where the Hebrews picked up their base-10 notation? The Babylonians had base 60, which Wikipedia says was the first use of positional notation. You see fossils of base 20 in French numbers. But I don’t know where base 10 came from.

        • Greg G.
        • Thanks

        • So you’re saying that “Pig!” as a derogatory slur to the police didn’t originate in the 60s?

        • epicurus
        • Greg G.

          The look like Arkansas Razorbacks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          https://dempseysresolutionfitness.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/your-metabolism-and-the-angry-german-boar-hog/

          Domestic pig’s are something quite different.

          It makes no sense to equate pig to Roman soldiers because boar symbol.

          Like you say, uncharacteristic of Mark too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not a pig among them. Anyone not knowing the difference between a domestic pig and a boar has not had the same luxury as I in having come face to face with the later while training in the forrest’s of Germany.

          That book is authored by the same book that I purchased a earlier today. A might look that one up too if the one a got is any good.

        • Bones

          Mark wasn’t giving geography lessons. He was uniting atrocities which occurred by Vespasian and the Roman 10th Legion in Gerasa and the surrounding areas with the Exodus.

          Pigs were unclean to Jews and the emblem of the brutal occupying army.

          The Palestinian audience would see the irony in that.

        • Greg G.

          Livius.org – Articles on ancient history – Judaea says “After 70, Judaea was occupied by the legion X Fretensis, which was commanded by the procurator.” I have seen other articles saying they came in 73 or later. So they were not involved in the atrocities of the war. The Jewish forces were so defeated, the occupiers didn’t need to garrison themselves for protection.

          There are coins for X Fretensis that show images of Titus but not Vespasian.

        • Bones

          Josephus describes Vespasian’s campaign in the Jewish countryside and dates it at 67-69 CE. Including atrocities by the Roman Army at Gerasa.
          http://www.josephus.org/FlJosephus2/warChronology5Pg3.htm

          As many as 15000 Jewish rebels were forced into the Dead Sea and people who couldn’t swim had their hands bound and thrown into the Dead Sea to see if they floated. As well as villages slaughtered.

          It’s becoming even more plain what Mark’s Story was about and the similarities between what actually occurred and Mark’s Story. Mark turns the tables and has the legion charging into the sea.

          This was no story about demons and pigs but a flat out repudiation of Imperial Roman brutality, the legion.

          A Palestinian audience would know exactly what that story was about.

        • Bones

          Sure…………

          http://www.livius.org/articles/legion/legio-x-fretensis/

          From 67 onward, X Fretensis fought in the war against the Jews. It was commanded by Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, the father of the future emperor. The supreme commander of the Roman forces in Judaea was general Vespasian, who was to become emperor during the civil war that broke out after the suicide of Nero in 68.

          Building inscription of the Canal of Titus in Seleucia
          After the first year of war, X Fretensis and V Macedonica had their winter camp at Caesarea (67/68), and after the capture of Gamala, the Tenth moved to Scythopolis (modern Beth-Shean). In the summer of 68, X Fretensis was active in the valley of the river Jordan and destroyed the monastery of Qumran, where the Dead See-scrolls have been found. Its winter camp was at Jericho. After mid-69, its commander may have been Terentius Rufus, who is mentioned as “commander of the troops” by Flavius Josephus.

          In 70, X Fretensis took part in the siege of Jerusalem (more). After the capture, prisoners of war were sent to Seleucia, where the legionaries forced them to cut the Canal of Titus. Although this was hard labor, these people were lucky that they were not sent to Rome to build the Colosseum.

          Tiles of X Fretensis, showing a pig

          After the fall of Jerusalem, Judaea remained unquiet. To show the world that Rome was, in spite of the length of the Jewish War and the civil war of 69, still a superpower, governor Flavius Silva started to besiege the citadel at Masada (more). Although this was, from a military point of view, a rather pointless operation (a small garrison in the neighborhood would be sufficient to deprive the people on the rock from support), it served Roman public relations. No mountain was too high for the Roman army. To the Tenth, it meant a rehabilitation after the disgraceful loss of its eagle.

          X Fretensis was to stay in Judaea for more than a century and a half. Jerusalem became its new base, and several unremarkable archaeological finds in the holy city – bricks and tiles with the name of emblem of the legion – prove its presence. Unfortunately, we do not know the precise location of its fortress. The emblem of the legion, a boar or pig, was visible on several places and must have been intended to humiliate the Jewish population.

          The legion no longer had a commander of its own, but was led by the provincial governor, who had the rank of procurator.

          Like the other legions in the Levant, X Fretensis served during Trajan’s ill-fated campaign against the Parthian empire (115-117). Several officers were decorated.

          Game. Set. Match.

        • Bones

          You need to look harder – the Tenth Legion

        • Greg G.

          IA provided a link that shows they had their own coins with the boar emblem and Titus which would put them in line with Mark being written in the 70s AD.

        • Bones

          Mark was definitely written very close to or after 70 CE.

        • Greg G.

          It is my opinion that Mark was written while the destruction of Jerusalem was fresh in the public memory.

          One reason is that I think the story of the Cursing of the Fig Tree wrapped around the Temple Tantrum would evoke that memory. Jesus gets mad at the tree, Jesus gets mad at the temple, the tree is found to have withered, the readers would then think of the temple destruction. That would only work for a few years, I would think. Most Americans over 45 remember the Challenger explosion clearly. 30 year old’s have no memory of it.

        • Bones

          You are correct in that the fig tree represents Temple Judaism. I would put it much, much closer to 70 CE as Mark 13 is a warning to not get involved in the Jewish Revolt. (No, it has absolutely nothing with Jesus returning)

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe it was written much later to give those with no memory kind of an allegorical meaning. It’s not very graphic to have been written immediately after.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mark was definitely written very close to or after 70 CE.

          How long after? The word definitely displays that fundamentalist approach. I agree with the dating btw, but I’d worry about being so stalwart on the issue.

        • Bones

          A fundamentalist approach!

          2+2 is definitely 4 last I heard. Maybe that’s being a fundamentalist.

          Maybe this strawman thing you have going in is an American thing.

          How long after? A couple of years? Months? Weeks?

          Who knows?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So ya definitely don’t know…how useful?

          First this…

          Maybe that’s being a fundamentalist.

          Then this…

          How long after? A couple of years? Months? Weeks?

          Who knows?

          You definitely need to brush up on your terms.

          Btw….

          2+2 is definitely 4 last I heard.

          ….just like herd, ya heard wrong.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/2–2-doesnt-always-equal-4-2014-6?IR=T

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe this strawman thing you have going in is an American thing.

          A wouldn’t know about it being an American thing particularly. I know it’s a universal thing. I also know you’ve failed on it a number of times already.

        • Pofarmer

          Once you allow that Mark was written after 70, then it becomes possible for it to be written pretty much any time after, up into the mid 2nd century.

        • Bones

          Nope. What the heck would people know of the destruction of the Temple in the mid 2nd century? And why would it be relevant?

          That is the defining event of the gospel along with brutal Roman oppression of the Jewish rebels which happened around Gerasa in 68CE.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope. What the heck would people know of the destruction of the Temple in the mid 2nd century? And why would it be relevant?

          Yeah, because by the second century the destruction of the Temple had been completely forgot about, especially around Jerusalem and Palestine, right? Behave yourself.

          That is the defining event of the gospel along with brutal Roman oppression of the Jewish rebels which happened around Gerasa in 68CE.

          There’s me thinking the defining moment of the gospels is the Resurrection. Tell me again why the destruction of the Temple would be the defining moment in a story set more than a generation before the event? As for your infatuation with what the Romans did at Gerasa in 68 CE, I doubt there are but more than a handful of Christians that have even hear about it, let alone it being one of their cults defining moments. You have completely lost the plot. Have you been reading Joseph Atwill by any chance?

        • Bones

          “As for your infatuation with what the Romans did at Gerasa in 68 CE, I doubt there are but more than a handful of Christians that have even hear about it, let alone it being one of their cults defining moments. ”

          Lol.

          What would people know about atrocities committed in their own country?

          Iraqis probably don’t know what you did to their country either.

          Gee yanks are dumb.

        • Greg G.

          Gee yanks are dumb.

          You have no idea what you are talking about. IA is European.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Stupid is, as stupid does.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Boy are you one retarded fucker.

          I’m talking about Christian’s today ya moron. You hve the reading comprehension of an infant.

          As for your infatuation with what the Romans did at Gerasa in 68 CE, I doubt there are but more than a handful of Christians that have even hear[d] about it, let alone it being one of their cults defining moments.

          I know a hell of a lot of Christian’s, but none so far that have ever heard of Gerasa, the X legion, any massacre…ffs, few of them even know about the parable of the pigs, let alone the various interpretations.

          Gee yanks are dumb.

          I can’t speak for the yanks, but for myself, I can say you are thick as pig’s shite.

        • Aram

          Why would you assume someone on a comment page would be American? I’m not. Ignorant Amos isn’t. Many others aren’t. It seems safe to conclude that you are one dense motherfucker.

        • Pofarmer

          “Nope. What the heck would people know of the destruction of the Temple in the mid 2nd century?”

          They would know that it happened. They would have, for instance, the works of Josephus and other contemporary authors that were talking about it.

          “And why would it be relevant?”

          If you need a story to ground a dying/rising savior God, pushed by a guy named Paul and worshipped in various churches and places, it makes a very handy backdrop.

          “That is the defining event of the gospel along with brutal Roman
          oppression of the Jewish rebels which happened around Gerasa in 68CE.”

          We talking Mark? I think that many would argue the defining moments are when God adopts him at his Baptism and then leaves him at the crucifixion, followed by the resurrection-that nobody reported.

        • Bones

          The defining moment of Mark is the destruction of the Temple which is represented by the death of the fig tree.

          With the destruction of the Temple, the priesthood and with it Jewish exclusivist practices are annulled and the fig tree now blooms.

          The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were traumatic events for Christians and Jews and Mark places the events in Mark 13 as being recent. He also is telling his community to not join the rebellion.

          They weren’t just ‘interesting stories,’

        • Pofarmer

          Sorry, not buying it.

        • adam

          Doesnt even follow what Jesus ‘said’:

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Some have said that the Troubles that Jesus is responding to is not the First Jewish-Roman War (c. 70CE) but the third–the Bar Kochba revolt in the mid-130s.

        • Pofarmer

          I believe that is Robert M. Prices position, and I don’t think he is alone.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And the one from about 80 BCE or so….don’t forget him.

        • Pofarmer

          You really think someone would remember a king getting martyred and make up myths about that?! Really? Cmon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          }8O)~

        • Jewish-Roman War #2 was the Kitos War (115–117 CE). Not what you’re thinking of?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nah…the one from the time of King Alexander Jannaeus from about a century BCE…

          The Talmud contains a number of passages that refer to a certain Jeshu (or Joshua) ben Pandera, who lived around 100 BCE [1]. Jeshu is said to have been the disciple of Joshua ben Perachiah, who was certainly a historical figure, being one of the most prominent rabbis of the time. During the persecution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus, which began around 94 BCE, Joshua ben Perachiah fled with Jeshu to Alexandria in Egypt, where Jeshu is said to have learned magic. Described as a learned man, Jeshu was expelled for heretical tendencies from the school over which Joshua presided. He became a religious teacher, had several disciples, and preached to ordinary people. He was accused of practising sorcery, deceiving Israel and estranging people from God. After being tried and convicted, he was stoned to death and his body was then hung up as a warning to others.

          http://www.davidpratt.info/jesus.htm

        • MNb

          Yeah, that’s the fun of random methodology – anything goes. We already have had the Roman conspiracy lately. To this party I’m happy to add: Jesus Christ was actually Julius Caesar (come on, face it, they have the same initials).

          http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,31732.0.html

          And of course Paulus is a myth as well.

          http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/paul.htm

          Shall we bet? Who will have settled their disagreements first, Ol’ Hambo vs. the Idiots from Seattle or the various JM’s?

        • I’d never heard the claim that Paul was a myth.

          Going from historical to myth has lots of precedents–Moses, for example. Creationism can’t point to anything like this.

        • MNb

          So what?
          There still are more variations of JM than of creationism and still JMs are not any better at reaching consensus (something you claim to be important to you in science) than creationists.

          “I’d never heard the claim that Paul was a myth.”
          If you have clicked that link you now have. It’s there with big letters: “Could it all be a fabrication?”
          As you always claim to follow the evidence – what does this tell you about JM methodology?

        • Ignorant Amos

          There still are more variations of JM than of creationism …

          There are at least as many variations of historical Jesus as there are JM and creationism, which one do you favour and why?

          …and still JMs are not any better at reaching consensus (something you claim to be important to you in science) than creationists.

          And when you get right down into it, the consensus on ant one of the historical Jesuses isn’t what one might expect.

          I’m curious as to what Jesus ahistoricist – Jesus agnostic works you’ve read vis a vis the best cases out there for the historical Jesus? Which arguments are you comparing?

          As you always claim to follow the evidence – what does this tell you about JM methodology?

          Well at least some of Paul in the NT is myth, if not the man whose name is attributed to some of the epistles, seven iirc, and that is not contested by scholars. The Acts is made up fiction, roughly half the epistles are forged.

          But regardless of that and regards methodology, a decent assessment of the question can be read here…

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7643

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like everything else, Paul’s veracity is being questioned.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7643

        • Pofarmer

          I read a 32 page peer reviewed paper the other day talking about the sythesis of the letters of Paul. Once again, if there was an historical Paul, we have no way to recover him. And, once again, you have a figure with no contemporary attestation. Paul may have been more of sn ideal “type” employed by the authors of those letters.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can ya cite/link to that paper, or is it behind a pay-wall?

          I think Carrier makes a decent argument for why those half a dozen, or so, epistles attributed to a single author at the dawn of the cult’s of Christianity, why not call him Paul, the author does, do pre-date the canonical gospels. It certainly makes better sense to me anyway.

        • Pofarmer

          There is a pretty good argument to be made, I think, that both, the Pauline Epistles, and the Gospels were made up around the time of Marcion to give the nascent movement some history, at least try to explain it’s origins and theology. It would help explain why none of the movements supposed early figures are independently attested.

        • Pofarmer
        • Ignorant Amos

          Cheers….Disqus is a feckin’ ballix.

        • Two interesting articles, thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe, maybe not…the 10th Legion where in Syria at the time the tall pig tale is alleged. From 6 AD – 66 AD Syria, 66 AD – 73 AD Jewish War. They were not garrisoned in Jerusalem until circa 73 CE…about the time the earliest gospel was being written. Being pedantic, their emblem was a boar…

          The emblems of this legion were the bull (the common symbol of any legion created by Julius Caesar), a warship, a dolphin, the god Neptune, and a boar.

        • Bones

          That is pedantic.

          Of course the original readers would know exactly what that meant.

        • Greg G.

          I have another option that explains the whole Legion story without the pig reference being the Roman military:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/jesus-magic-not-impressive-compared-to-what-technology-gives-us/#comment-2558534366

          Mark appears to have been writing to a Roman audience so it would be less likely that he would be mocking the Roman army. Mark usually explains Aramaic words and Semitic things but never explains the Latin words or Gentile things. Mark even relates the value of a Palestinian coin in terms of a Roman coin. Mark gets many Jewish things wrong, including geography, which indicates his knowledge comes second hand from literature.

          I find the connection intriguing but I need some other confirmation of the idea before I accept it.

        • Bones

          I doubt very much that Mark was writing to a Roman audience. For starters, in Mark 4 he employs Palestinian dry farming techniques which were unknown to Romans.

          Also Mark uses military language to describe the pigs. The word agele ‘herd’ often was used to refer to a band of military recruits. Not pigs, who don’t travel in herds. Jesus also dismissed them and the pigs charge into the sea. Both militaristic gestures which echo the Exodus. During the final battles of the Jewish Revolt, At the final battle of the Gadarenes, the Romans killed fifteen thousand, ‘while the number of those who were unwillingly forced to leap into the Jordan was prodigious.’ The remaining two-thousand two hundred were taken prisoners, That sounds familiar…….

          According to Josephus, Gerasa was also the scene of atrocities committed by Vespasian and the Tenth Legion

          “Vespasian . . . sent Lucius Ann ius to Gerasa with a cavalry and a considerable number of foot soldiers. After taking the town by assault, he killed a thousand of the young men who had not escaped, took their families captive, and allowed his soldiers to plunder the property. Finally, he set fire to the houses and marched against the surrounding villages. Those who were able-bodied fled, the weak perished, and all that was left went up in flames. So did the war spread throughout the mountain and plain country [ War, I V, ix, I ] .”

          To a Palestinian audience, this story has far more significance and calls to mind the brutal Roman occupation of Palestine. Once again to a Roman audience, Gerasa would mean diddly squat. But not to Palestinians — It recalls the horror of occupation..

          There has been a quite a lot of recent study on Mark especially by Ched Meyers which sees Mark as a socio-political manifesto and I think he’s right. In Mark, Jesus subverts the exclusive religious practices of Temple Judaism and the militaristic oppression of the Roman powers and which culminates in the showdown in Jerusalem.

          Mark attacks the exclusive table fellowship practices of the Pharisees in Mark 7 which I doubt would be widely known in Rome but ritual cleansing. It wasn’t just about washing their hands and hygiene.

          In the healing stories where Jesus heals a bleeding woman, cleanses a leper, his interactions with the Syro-Phoenician woman and bringing a girl back to life, Mark attacks the Jewish social stigma of shame and honour. Jesus is portrayed in a way of social interaction that breaks the rules and expectations of the conduct that obtained in Palestinian honor culture, shocking those who heard the story and undermining their sense of social order and propriety. In the process of his symbolic construction of the new social order of the kingdom, Mark’s Jesus was subverting the status quo in order to create new possibilities of human community.

          Also Mark’s discourse in Mark 13 is a specific warning to Markan Christians to not get involved in the Jewish uprising against Rome because neither party are better than the other. Once again, Mark 13 has so much more significance to a Palestinian audience to a foreign Roman one who wouldn’t know the importance of the Temple in Judaism or really give a rats about what was happening in in 70CE..

          The Gospel of Mark is the most important and accurate Gospel as the following writers reinterpreted him. He was writing to a community involved in non-violent resistance to oppressive religious and secular regimes.

          Unfortunately not many have understood him (let the reader understand)

        • busterggi

          Of course this leaves the question – why tell all this to the residents of Palestine/Judea if this all happened during the lifetime of many of them and there were supposedly thousands of eye witnesses still around? Did none of them think to mention these amazing miracles? Had they all forgotten the most incredible things they’d ever seen? Or just maybe…

        • Ignorant Amos

          I doubt very much that Mark was writing to a Roman audience.

          Theopedia reckons differently.

          Internal Evidence

          The explanation of Jewish customs (e.g., 7:3; 14:12; 15:42) and the translation of Aramaic expressions into Greek (e.g., 3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 9:43; 10:46; 14:36; 15:22, 34) indicate that they probably were not Aramaic-speaking Jews (Wallace, 1998). Referring to four watches of the night (6:48; 13:35), Mark also employs a Roman system of time instead of the traditional Jewish three ^ [4]^. The inclusion of transliterated Latin terms in reference to the military (e.g. legion in 5:9; praetorium in 15:16; centurion in 15:39), the courts (e.g. speculator in 6:27; flagellare in 15:15), and commerce (e.g. denarius in 12:15; quadrans in 12:42) implies a Roman destination, as Latin speakers would have been found most readily there ^[5]^. Additionally, it is likely that the identification of Alexander and Rufus as the sons of Simon the Cyrene (15:21) is because these men were known to Mark’s intended recipients — Roman Christians (Romans 16:13).

          External Evidence

          There is also substantial external, direct evidence to suggest that the intended readers were Roman Christians. Peter and Mark are believed to have been together in Rome (2 Timothy 4:11, 1 Peter 5:13) where Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus locate the writing of the gospel ^[6]^. Eusebius also claims that Papias wrote that Mark composed his gospel for Peter’s hearers in Rome ^ [7]^. Though it is impossible to be sure about the composition date, evidence points to the latter part of the seventh decade, likely after Peter’s martyrdom in AD 64, but probably before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 ^[8]^. If he wrote in Rome, either while there with Peter, or perhaps shortly after Peter’s death, then Mark probably was writing for the Roman Christians, and possibly to address the crisis in the church around the intense persecution that was beginning to be directed at them during this time.

          For starters, in Mark 4 he employs Palestinian dry farming techniques which were unknown to Romans.

          Seriously? That’s it? Roman’s, whose empire extended across the most arid regions of the world had no knowledge of dry farming techniques?

          Kearney quotes Tunis as an example of the possible extent of dry-farming in early historical days. Tunis is under an average rainfall of about nine inches, and there are no evidences of irrigation having been practiced there, yet at El Djem are the ruins of an amphitheater large enough to accommodate sixty thousand persons, and in an area of one hundred square miles there were fifteen towns and forty-five villages. The country, therefore, must have been densely populated.In the seventh century, according to the Roman records, there were two million five hundred thousand acres of olive trees growing in Tunis and cultivated without irrigation.That these stupendous groves yielded well is indicated by the statement that, under the Caesar’s Tunis was taxed three hundred thousand gallons of olive oil annually.The production of oil was so great that from one town it was piped to the nearest shipping port. This historical fact is borne out by the present revival of olive culture in Tunis, mentioned in Chapter XII.

          http://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/01aglibrary/010102/01010217.html

          I think we can safely say that given the diversity of the population of Rome whenever the author of Mark was doing his evangelising, a fair amount of folk could relate to The Parable of the Sower…anyone with a garden can equate to the story for goodness sake.

        • Bones

          Myers sums up the current thoughts on the location of Mark

          “A major (though no longer dominant) school of thought believes that Mark was written in Rome by a Jewish author for a predominantly gentile audience.

          Those who assume this provenance interpret the presence of Latinisms in the text as confirming evidence-Mark would naturally use local idiom in writing to a Roman audience. If I concurred with this, my task would be to situate the production of the Gospel within the socio-economic context of a major Hellenistic city; the political context of the imperial capital under Nero (54-68 c . E . ), the year of the four emperors (68-69), or Vespasian (69-79); and the ideological context of the second-third generation church in its interface with Roman society.

          However, for reasons that will become clear in the course of my reading, I side with the growing number of scholars who place the production of Mark in or near northern Palestine; I refer the reader to H . Kee’s discussion of this thesis for further reading ( 1977: 1 76ff. ). I therefore interpret the significance of the Latinisms differently; they indicate rather the expected linguistic penetration in the socio-economic and administrative spheres of the colonized culture of Palestine. My socio-political description obviously must focus upon conditions in agrarian Palestine-which, needless to say, were very different from urban Hellenism.”

          And you don’t know much about sewing seeds.

          That is a particular Palestinian form of sewing.

          “In Palestine sowing precedes ploughing. Hence, in the parable the sower is depicted striding over the unploughed stubble . . . . He sows intentionally on the path which the villagers have trodden over the stubble, since he intends to plough the seed in when he ploughs up the path. He sows intentionally among the thorns standing withered in the fallow because they, too, will be ploughed up. Nor need it surprise us that some grains should fall upon rocky ground; the underlying limestone, thinly covered with soil, barely shows above the surface until the ploughshare jars against it [ Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus,1972: 11 f. ] .”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Myers sums up the current thoughts on the location of Mark

          I don’t care. Meyers’ interpretation is exactly that, his interpretation…it is in no way definitive, a concept you are hard pressed to accept.

          And you don’t know much about sewing seeds.

          Too funny…so farming ettiqutte is important to this parable, but swine-herding isn’t to the other parable?

          Joachim Jeremias, eh? Tell me again why I should pay attention to what he writes, or what you think he writes, again?

          Mark is reasonably clear…

          2 And xhe was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! yBehold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And zwhen the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, ait withered away. 7 Other seed fell among bthorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and ca hundredfold.” 9 And he said, d“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

          Especially when the parable is explained later in the texts..

          13 lAnd he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 mThe sower sows nthe word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it owith joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but pendure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately qthey fall away.1 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but rthe cares of sthe world and tthe deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and ubear fruit, vthirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

          So yer citing good auld Joachim and his Palestinian sowing techniques neither adds nor takes away from what I said with regards the parable and any folk, Roman or otherwise, ability to understand it’s meaning or not. Which was your point for citing the parable in the first place. Sowing seed’s is similar all over regardless of prior ground preparation and the consequences to the seeds in where they land is unaffected.

          But it is interesting that you dig out detailed minutiae in Palestinian dry farming in defence of your argument, yet myself and others here have a pig fetish for doing similar…given they are both parables.

        • Bones

          Well the detailed minutiae which you want to ignore is evidence of local Palestinian customs. They are written by a Palestinian for a Palestinian audience. That you can’t accept the evidence says more about you. You also wish to ignore the atrocities of the Roman X Legion around Gadarenes to focus on a ‘herd’ of make believe pigs.

          It’s amusing in that you are no different to fundamentalists who are locked into their own way of thinking. Of course you don’t care what anyone else says.

          And somehow you think that makes you clever.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well the detailed minutiae which you want to ignore is evidence of local Palestinian customs.

          So much for the universal message, eh?

          I don’t want to ignore it as evidence, because it isn’t evidence. It is a non sequitur. Sowing seed’s as per the the parable, is the same world wide. I do it with my lawn and there is nowhere in the world as lush as Ireland. Cast a handful of seed’s and they will fly. Some will land in different places. Those that land on the good land will do well, those that don’t, not so much. There is no geography specific knowledge required to understand what is going on. But even if there was, why do you think folk in Rome would be ignorant of it? The Roman’s had an empire that included the whole Mediterranean basin for generations.

          They are written by a Palestinian for a Palestinian audience.

          So you keep insisting, but not everyone is in agreement and for some very good reasons too. There’s that fundamental mentality again.

          That you can’t accept the evidence says more about you.

          Spooooiiiing!

          Even if applicable, and it’s not necessary here, assertions of interpretation are not evidence, why can’t you get this simple point?

          No one knows by who, where, when and why the Gospel according to Mark was written. There is the possible, the plausible and the probable, but there is no definitive. To assert more is overstepping your remit.

          You also wish to ignore the atrocities of the Roman X Legion around Gadarenes to focus on a ‘herd’ of make believe pigs.

          You just don’t get it yet do you? The majority of folk here don’t believe there was an actual herd of pigs infected with a host of demons…we get it. There are a number of interpretations on the origin of the story, your man Myers is a popular one, but it is not the only one, others have merit too.

          The argument we are having is not about a real herd of pigs/swine/boars, but your assertion that pigs are not herded. Yes, they do not life in the wild in herds roaming the pastures, but they are kept in herds domestically, looked after by a swineherd…as in the parable.

          You are happy enough to cite a holy rollers article on Palestinian dry farming in irrelevant support of an assertion that Roman’s wouldn’t understand a “make believe” farmer sowing seeds. But are getting all bent out of shape when some of use are disputing a point ya want to use to defend a particular detail in defence of the pig yarn.

          Now here’s the rub. Those of us that are taking the piss out of the pig parable know it is a yarn, we know the likes of you and Yonah believe it is a yarn, but there are those that visit here that believe it is a real bona fide event in history. Sometimes they comment, mostly they lurk…as a see Greg the resident Catholic is doing. Ripping a made up story apart to show it’s ridiculousness is one of the things we do. Your interpretation is doing the same thing btw, whether ya know it or not.

          It’s amusing in that you are no different to fundamentalists who are locked into their own way of thinking.Of course you don’t care what anyone else says.

          Holy fuck…there goes another bag of irony meters. It is you that refuse to see an alternative explanation ya doofus.

          And somehow you think that makes you clever.

          Nope…not me…projection much?

          The regulars here will testify that I’m the first to admit I’m not clever by any stretch, hence my moniker…difference is I know it. What’s your excuse?

        • Bones

          “So much for the universal message, eh?”

          Well yeah I’d consider not treating women and the sick as second class citizens as a universal message s well as non-violent resistance of brutal occupying powers.

          You obviously have a different take on that…..which wouldn’t surprise me.

          Not only are you ignoring but you don’t even know how people sow seeds. They don’t sow seed on a path or willy nilly over any type of ground unless you happen to be in Palestine which is where that type of sowing is demonstrated.

          But ignore that and go find a Richard Carrier article to make you feel better.

          “So you keep insisting, but not everyone is in agreement and for some very good reasons too. There’s that fundamental mentality again.”

          You’re right. You do have fundamental tendencies…..

          “No one knows by who, where, when and why the Gospel according to Mark was written. There is the possible, the plausible and the probable, but there is no definitive. To assert more is overstepping your remit.”

          ergo I don’t like your evidence and I’m putting my fingers over my ears….

          “assertions of interpretation are not evidence,”

          You obviously haven’t sown seeds…….
          That’s not an interpretation…..

          “Ripping a made up story apart to show it’s ridiculousness is one of the things we do. Your interpretation is doing the same thing btw, whether ya know it or not.”

          Ya see it’s even more powerful than some trumped up pig demon festival, but ya don’t get that do ya whether ya know it or not?

          “Holy fuck…there goes another bag of irony meters. It is you that refuse to see an alternative explanation ya doofus.”

          lol.

          “The regulars here will testify that I’m the first to admit I’m not clever by any stretch, hence my moniker…difference is I know it. What’s your excuse?”

          Well you got that right….

          Listening to you people crap on about the Bible is like listening to friggin young earth creationists crap on about evolution……

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Listening to you people crap on about the Bible is like listening to friggin young earth creationists crap on about evolution

          What a blessing that we finally have you here to set us straight.

        • MNb

          That doesn’t make the contempt for pigs as shown in the story any better. Indeed you are the one who’s locked in your own way of thinking – you are not capable of realizing that comparing Romans with pigs means degrading pigs – or the story doesn’t make sense. Pigs don’t deserve to be used as a negative comparison with humans. The story tells us what Palestinians thought of pigs – nothing good. And if you claim that the story contains a universal message that’s part of it as well.
          Hard to understand for a prejudiced christian like you, I know.

        • Bones

          Wtf is your obsession with pigs.

          I eat them. Most people do.

          The frigging prejudice on here is as bad as any religious fundy.

        • Susan

          Wtf is your obsession with pigs.

          I eat them. Most people do.

          That’s fine if you’re just talking about a particular strand of human history. We could be having the same discussion about Navajo traditions.

          But it’s a serious moral question here in the 21st century. One that didn’t occur to anyone in that entire frickin’ narrative.

          The frigging prejudice on here is as bad as any religious fundy.

          So far, all I can tell by what you mean by the word “fundamentalist” is that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a suspected or accused “fundamentalist”.

          I asked you where you draw your line.

          How would we know a fundamentalist to see one?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unfortunately not many have understood him (let the reader understand)

          Maybe that was what Mark’s gospel was all about.

          One of the peculiar features of Mark’s gospel in its presentation of Jesus is that, when Jesus teaches he often actually conceals the significance of his own words from the the popular audiences, and directs it only to his own disciples. Everyone will recognize that Jesus teaches in parables. But, in Mark’s gospel, when Jesus teaches in parables, it says explicitly that he does so in order to keep people from understanding his messages. He teaches in these metaphors and in these word pictures so that people will not understand. It’s a very different understanding of Jesus than what we might have assumed, traditionally, I think….

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/mark.html

          If early Christianity was a mystery cult, as many believe it was, then hiding the message in yarns that only the select few at the top understood, is a reasonable assertion.

        • Bones

          Nonsense. This is Jesus slagging military Rome.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good luck proving that bollocks.

        • Bones

          Luck’s got nothing to do with it. Education does. Try reading Ched Myers, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.

          It’s a seminal commentary on the Gospel of Mark…..

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is, that your favoured interpretation is just one interpretation of many. Your favourite perhaps, but it is not a conclusive interpretation of GMark. So merely citing a favourite tome is in no way evidence veridical to your pet thesis.

          Here’s another I copy & pasted earlier…other interpretations may also apply.

          The Gerasene Demoniac (5:1-20)

          Again, Mark has mixed together materials from scripture and from the Odyssey. Clearly, as MacDonald shows (pp. 65, 73, 173), the core of the story derives from Odyssey 9:101-565. Odysseus and his men come to shore in the land of the hulking Cyclopes, just as Jesus and his disciples arrive by boat in the land of the Gerasenes (or Gergesenes, supposedly the remnant of the ancient Girgashites, hence possibly associated with the mythical Anakim/Rephaim, Derrett, p. 102, who were giants). Goats graze in one landscape, pigs in the other. Leaving their boats, each group immediately encounters a savage man-monster who dwells in a cave. The demoniac is naked, and Polyphemus was usually depicted naked, too. The Cyclops asks Odysseus if he has come with intent to harm him, just as the Gerasene demoniac begs Jesus not to torment him. Polyphemus asks Odysseus his name, and the latter replies “Noman,” while Jesus asks the demoniac his name, “Legion,” a name reminiscent of the fact that Odysseus’ men were soldiers. Jesus expels the legion of demons, sending them into the grazing swine, recalling Circe’s earlier transformation of Odysseus’ troops into swine. Odysseus contrives to blind the Cyclops, escaping his cave. The heroes depart, and the gloating Odysseus bids Polyphemus to tell others how he has blinded him, just as Jesus tells the cured demoniac to tell how he has exorcised him. As Odysseus’ boat retreats, Polyphemus cries out for him to return, but he refuses. As Jesus is about to depart, the man he cured asks to accompany him, but he refuses. As MacDonald notes, sheer copying from the source is about the only way to explain why Jesus should be shown refusing a would-be disciple.

          Psalm 107, whence details of the stilling of the storm were borrowed, has also made minor contributions to this story as well. The detail of the demoniac having been chained up seem to come from Psalm 107’s description of “prisoners in irons” (v. 10), who “wandered in desert wastes” (v. 4) and “cried to the LORD in their trouble” (v. 6), who “broke their chains asunder” (v. 14). It is also possible that Mark had in mind the Exodus sequence, and that he has placed the story here to correspond to the drowning of the Egyptian hosts in the Sea.

          http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_midrash1.htm

          So the military reference to herd may not have anything to do with recruits in the tenth legion.

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-0JVScga2oYC&pg=PA304&lpg=PA304&dq=agele+ancient+greek&source=bl&ots=BEEdQwq5Dk&sig=d4r2Xk7yEoWFS4m0WqBqWBOk34Q&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=agele%20ancient%20greek&f=false

          Some people are playing fast and loose with such terms as agele, and it is being repeated without citation all over the place. How the author of Mark would be aware that the term applied to Roman army recruits, and am not convinced he did, is another question that requires answering.

          BTW, pigs ARE kept in herds, sorry if that causes problems. There were no pigs at Gadarene. Pig is an Old English word. What is in GMark are swine. χοίρους , ου, ὁ, choiros. No boars.

          Swineherds herd swine. Herding is what swineherds do with their herds of swine.

          Herders often specialize in a particular type of livestock. Shepherds, for instance, herd and tend to flocks of sheep. Goatherds tend to goats, and swineherds to pigs and hogs.

          http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/herding/

          Repeating a thing over and over, won’t make it so.

        • Bones

          Like I said it’s about education.

          Of course there were no pigs at Gadarene, that’s hardly relevant as is the fact it’s km from the lake. The story integrates the atrocities at Gadarene, with the Tenth Legion, the pigs (unholy for Jews and the symbol for tenth legion) and the Exodus rushing them into the sea.

          Of course there is no Greek word, “pig”.

          And no, pigs do not form herds, they form family groups. Neither do they stampede, they scatter. In fact the pigs in the story act utterly unpiglike.

          The story was about the legion, not the pigs.

          Why would a Roman audience be interested in Jewish ritual codes or even in the destruction of the Temple?

          But hey you keep beating on your straw man and those pigs.

          Wtf is the infatuation with pigs which didn’t exist when the Roman Military were brutalising the Palestinian countryside.

          And when Robert Price can write a commentary on the whole Gospel of Mark and not just made up tomes, not unlike a Ken Ham presentation, let us know.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like I said it’s about education.

          No, just your idea of education.

          Of course there were no pigs at Gadarene, that’s hardly relevant as is the fact it’s km from the lake. The story integrates the atrocities at Gadarene, with the Tenth Legion, the pigs (unholy for Jews and the symbol for tenth legion) and the Exodus rushing them into the sea.

          You are entitled to one interpretation of the text’s, but it isn’t necessarily thee interpretation of the texts. You’d do well to take your own advice and get educated on that point at least.

          Conclusion

          This study set out to review postcolonial criticism in contemporary biblical studies and ultimately ask “Is it worth it?” The methodology, though relatively new, has its roots in biblical and cultural studies form the 1980s, 70s and 60s in the work of scholars such as Mary Ann Tolbert, Ched Myers, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, EdwardSaid and Jacques Derrida. Postcolonial theory branches out to historical studies, deconstruction, social studies as well as a number of literary criticisms. It is fluid and cross-disciplinary, accessible to the historian, biblical critic and literary theorist alike. Postcolonial criticism is diverse; it can take a number of different, sometimes contradictory forms. This does not speak towards ineffectiveness but towards malleability. The form it will take is shaped by the interpretation of the reader, as is any methodology. Postcolonial criticism can be self-critical and self-correcting, guided by the reader as much (if not more so) by the reader. Postcolonial criticism does serve best a reader wishing to exploit in a text how power is negotiated by hierarchical societies. There is never truly a one-way flow of power and domination; it is a transaction through the liminal interstitial space created outof necessity by the people on either side of the permeable membrane that separates thosewho have power and those who do not. In this ideological domain of in-betweenness there are social and political struggles that take place in literary and cultural texts produced by both sides. Scholars using postcolonial theory strive to pull this struggle to the fore, all the while (un)intentionally laying their own layer of bias over it. As shown above, postcolonial criticism does not hold a monopoly on this space but contributes a different interpretive tool to contemporary biblical studies

          http://www.academia.edu/576281/Postcolonialism_and_the_Gospel_of_Mark_An_Assessment

          And no, pigs do not form herds, they form family groups. Neither do they stampede, they scatter. In fact the pigs in the story act utterly unpiglike.

          You are one obtuse individual and love a straw man to take down. Pigs don’t “form” herds because they are domesticated animals. They are kept in herds.

          Domestic animal herds are assembled by humans for practicality in raising them and controlling them. Their behaviour may be quite different from that of wild herds of the same or related species, since both their composition (in terms of the distribution of age and sex within the herd) and their history (in terms of when and how the individuals joined the herd) are likely to be very different.

          The story was about the legion, not the pigs.

          Why would a Roman audience be interested in Jewish ritual codes or even in the destruction of the Temple?

          But hey you keep beating on your straw man and those pigs.

          You are completely missing the point. I’m happy enough with your Ched Meyers thesis, it supports euhemerization of the myth far better than almost all other interpretations, but it is not the only interpretation and you are selling it as such.

          Wtf is the infatuation with pigs which didn’t exist when the Roman Military were brutalising the Palestinian countryside.

          What? Pigs didn’t exist in the first century? Where would Mark invent such a concept? In Rome maybe?

          And when Robert Price can write a commentary on the whole Gospel of Mark and not just made up tomes,…not unlike a Ken Ham presentation, let us know.

          The old ad hom attack…not much of an argument.

        • Greg G.

          But I have read that Legio X Fretensis arrived in about 73 AD, and you are placing the writing of Mark three years earlier.

          Pigs don’t herd but in the Odyssey they were goats and sheep. Mark changed them to swine to give it an Isaiah 65:4 touch. It’s not a historical tale.

          Why would a Roman audience be interested in Jewish ritual codes or even in the destruction of the Temple?

          Pagans worshiped all gods, so they would know something about other religions. Their gripes about the Jews were that they refused to honor other people’s gods.

        • Bones

          “and you are placing the writing of Mark three years earlier.””

          Not particularly. It was around the time of destruction of the Temple.

          You better tell your mate that pigs don’t herd.

          And no one is saying it is a historical tale. And even if it is developed from Odyssey, it doesn’t refute what the ‘legion’ represents.

          “Pagans worshiped all gods, so they would know something about other religions. ”

          Ummm, no. These are particular Jewish rituals which Mark saw as exclusivist eg the attitudes towards the unclean, women as well as ritualistic cleansing and local table manners.

        • Greg G.

          Review of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark by Richard Carrier is a detailed review of the book and highlights many details of the book by Dennis MacDonald.

          You better tell your mate that pigs don’t herd.

          I think IA makes a good point about the difference between boars and pigs. Boars don’t herd like cattle but domesticated pigs are kept. But that hardly matters because Mark says the swine were in a herd in Mark 5:11. The Odyssey has goats in a herd.

          And no one is saying it is a historical tale. And even if it is developed from Odyssey, it doesn’t refute what the ‘legion’ represents.

          The name of the Cyclops is Polyphemus, which is made from the roots of “polygon” and “blasphemy” which makes the meaning of the name be “famous” but literally it’s “many speak of.” The Latin word “Legio” would imply “many soldiers” and since the preceding word is the Greek word “lego”, there is a visual connection between the two words “lego Legio”. It is a bilingual pun with the Koine word “lego” for “spoke” and the Latin word “Legio”, implying “many speak of” and if the reader doesn’t get it, Mark added the phrase “for we are many”. The word for “many” is “polys”. It is like Mark is winking at the reader and saying, “See what I did there?”

          Ummm, no. These are particular Jewish rituals which Mark saw as exclusivist eg the attitudes towards the unclean, women as well as ritualistic cleansing and local table manners.

          They would not have to know about the finer points of some rituals if Mark tells them about them. There were different sects of Judaism at the temple. The rituals Mark gave may not have even been real. When the Pharisees popped up in the grainfield in Mark 2:23-28, nobody knows what the disciples were doing wrong. There is nothing wrong with eating the grain in a field as long as they aren’t collecting it, there is nothing wrong with eating on the Sabbath, and farmers were required to leave the edges of the field for passersby to eat.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bones doesn’t do alternatives…he has the only right answer, but it is the rest of us with the fundie attitude.

          Batten down your meters…I can feel the rumbling already.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You better tell your mate that pigs don’t herd.

          Oh dear. It was a straw man fallacy the first time ya did it, but after having your error pointed out, it is just being a lying toe-rag.

          I’ll explain it again, just because sometimes people are too simple or just can’t read very well.

          Pigs don’t herd, but domestic pigs are kept in herds.

          Get over it ffs.

          The pig industry here this side of the pond call them herds.

          http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/search/?q=herd

          The pig industry the other side of the pond call them herds.

          http://www.thepigsite.com/swinenews/40518/cme-us-pig-herd-sets-record-size/

          More….

          Pigs: Drove, Herd, Sounder, (Piglets) Farrow, Litter

          http://www.vigay.com/nouns/mammals.html

          There are even tools to assist with herding ones pigs.

          http://www.fearing.co.uk/pigs/handling-restraining/pig-herding-boards

          Now stop this nonsense about pigs not being kept in herds…every fucker knows it but “fundamentalist” you, including the author of GMark, who wrote it into the parable, and the numerous translators throughout the ages who translated it, many of them believing the yarn as gospel, pun intended.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ummm, no. These are particular Jewish rituals which Mark saw as exclusivist eg the attitudes towards the unclean, women as well as ritualistic cleansing and local table manners.

          How do you know this?

          Particular Jewish ritual’s that only Mark’s author and his particular Palestinian audience could understand? Seriously? Except Matthew and Luke’s author’s included it too…presumably their audiences understood the meaning also?

          Because there was no Jews outside Palestine that would know about such rituals, right?

          The diaspora hadn’t quite made it to Rome, right?

          But wait a wee minute here, what’s this?…

          Jews have lived in Rome for over 2,000 years, longer than in any other European city. They originally went there from Alexandria, drawn by the lively commercial intercourse between those two cities. They may even have established a community there as early as the second pre-Christian century, for in the year 139 B.C. the pretor Hispanus issued a decree expelling all Jews who were not Italian citizens.

          The Jews identified themselves with Roman politics and exerted at times some influence at public meetings (Cicero, “Pro Flacco,” ch. lxvi.). They maintained constant commercial relations with Palestine and paid the Temple tax in Jerusalem; for this reason they were greatly interested in the proceedings of Flaccus (see Diaspora; Fiscus Judaicus). Cæsar, on account of the assistance which the Jews had rendered him in his war with Pompey, showed his gratitude toward the Roman Jews by permitting them to hold public devotional exercises, otherwise not allowed in the city. Synagogues existed in Rome as early as the time of Augustus, as is evidenced by an enactment declaring their inviolability. The Jews were further favored in connection with the distribution of grain, for when the apportionment occurred on the Sabbath their share was reserved for them until the day following.

          http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12816-rome#1005

        • Bones

          Uhuh.

          From 67 onward, X Fretensis fought in the war against the Jews. It was commanded by Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, the father of the future emperor. The supreme commander of the Roman forces in Judaea was general Vespasian, who was to become emperor during the civil war that broke out after the suicide of Nero in 68.

          Building inscription of the Canal of Titus in Seleucia

          After the first year of war, X Fretensis and V Macedonica had their winter camp at Caesarea (67/68), and after the capture of Gamala, the Tenth moved to Scythopolis (modern Beth-Shean). In the summer of 68, X Fretensis was active in the valley of the river Jordan and destroyed the monastery of Qumran, where the Dead See-scrolls have been found. Its winter camp was at Jericho. After mid-69, its commander may have been Terentius Rufus, who is mentioned as “commander of the troops” by Flavius Josephus.

          In 70, X Fretensis took part in the siege of Jerusalem (more). After the capture, prisoners of war were sent to Seleucia, where the legionaries forced them to cut the Canal of Titus. Although this was hard labor, these people were lucky that they were not sent to Rome to build the Colosseum.

          Tiles of X Fretensis, showing a pig

          After the fall of Jerusalem, Judaea remained unquiet. To show the world that Rome was, in spite of the length of the Jewish War and the civil war of 69, still a superpower, governor Flavius Silva started to besiege the citadel at Masada (more). Although this was, from a military point of view, a rather pointless operation (a small garrison in the neighborhood would be sufficient to deprive the people on the rock from support), it served Roman public relations. No mountain was too high for the Roman army. To the Tenth, it meant a rehabilitation after the disgraceful loss of its eagle.

          X Fretensis was to stay in Judaea for more than a century and a half. Jerusalem became its new base, and several unremarkable archaeological finds in the holy city – bricks and tiles with the name of emblem of the legion – prove its presence. Unfortunately, we do not know the precise location of its fortress. The emblem of the legion, a boar or pig, was visible on several places and must have been intended to humiliate the Jewish population.

          The legion no longer had a commander of its own, but was led by the provincial governor, who had the rank of procurator.

          Like the other legions in the Levant, X Fretensis served during Trajan’s ill-fated campaign against the Parthian empire (115-117). Several officers were decorated.

          http://www.livius.org/articles/legion/legio-x-fretensis/

          Pigs = legion…….

        • buttle

          You keep quoting from that stuff as if it is the gold standard interpretation of Mark, so i went and read it… 500 hundred pages, it is quite extensive, deep, and at times brilliant, he dispatches with pretty much all presumed historical underpinning of the healings and much else (something i would hope modern scholars would take for granted, and yet…). But it is also seriously flawed. In fact comically flawed in places… Myers is so obsessed with finding in the story a galilean antilegalistic christian community opposed to roman rule (whose existence is poorly argued and not really supported by the text) that he turns even the most glaring contrary evidence upside down: give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s? No, Jesus is not in favour of paying secular taxes, he is against it, because taxes were a real pain for the poors, everybody arguing otherwise is a burguoise! The centurion as the first recognizing the son of god? No, you are an imperialist if you think that! The dispute with sadducee on the afterlife? No, that’s abolishing the patriarcate, and he goes quoting from some odd feminist commentary on Mark. The little apocalypse and tribulation? No it is just a metaphore, the world it not going to end! Of course with an attitude like that he, like so many other commentators, manages to find exactly what he was looking for: in his case the story of an hippie galilean revolutionary fighting against imperialism. One might as well call it the gospel according to Marx.

        • Bones

          Nope. The whole story of the Gerasene Demoniac in Mark is an allegory aimed at the occupying powers. It’s bizarre that you seem more concerned about what Jesus might have done to some pigs than the brutal Roman occupation of Palestine which is what Mark was against.

        • Right–historians see the Bible as a terrific source of insight into an old culture, but that’s it. It’s no more a source of accurate information about the supernatural than any other book of the time.

          A person like me might find your worldview comforting in some way, but you can see how difficult it would be for me to accept the supernatural claims.

        • Yonah

          It depends on the historian. One of my OT professors described the Historical Critical method as a “scientific” analysis of “what the text says”…and “let the chips fall where they may”. The fallen chips part denotes that I have experienced scholars like that not as black and white thinkers on the Bible, but mosaic…the chips fall in different places. This was the whole reason behind the Jesus Seminar.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your replies are getting incrementally more bizarre Yonah.

          The Bible is historical in the sense that it was written in the past…in various times of the past, and it contains some elements of historicity…some of which are obvious, and others which must be gleaned through historical critical scholarship.

          Everything is written in the past, that’s what written means, past participle of write. What is historical within the bible, or more accurately the books it comprises of, is what is important. Made up stories with historical political/cultural/theological agendas of their time should have no more importance today than any other ancient text. A fairy story with a moral message is just that, a fairy story. The fairy stories in the bible are not the sort of fairy stories whose morals modern humans should be aspiring to…the rest of the pigswill that’s gathered between the front and back covers notwithstanding.

          Again, our family scrapbook has history in it, but it is not a history book.

          Nope, that is exactly what a family scrapbook is…history.

          Scrapbooking is a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of a scrapbook. Typical memorabilia include photographs, printed media, and artwork. Scrapbook albums are often decorated and frequently contain extensive journaling. Scrapbooking is a hobby commonly practiced in many parts of world.

        • Yonah

          My assertion is that the authors of the gospels, in their intent, did not write/edit those books as history books, but as theological statements.

          “Gone With the Wind” was written as a novel, not a history book.

        • adam

          “My assertion is that the authors of the gospels, in their intent, did
          not write/edit those books as history books, but as theological
          statements.”

          And my assertion is that the ‘authors’ were simply retelling PLAYS and STORIES as was common at the time.

        • Max Doubt

          “You’re making no sense. You’re trying to have it both ways.”

          Yep. It makes me wonder if being dishonest is a trait that increases one’s likelihood of believing the sort of nonsense it takes to be a Christian, or if being a Christian is the starting place and the dishonesty comes from there.

        • adam

          “It makes me wonder if being dishonest is a trait that increases one’s likelihood of believing the sort of nonsense it takes to be a Christian,”

          Its seem that FIRST one has to deceive oneself in believing this sort of nonsense.

          In the old days FEAR was the motivator, but now willful ignorance is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the old days FEAR was the motivator, but now willful ignorance is.

          There’s no excuse really, is there?

        • adam

          The best excuse is the poorest one, people WISHFUL HOPE that it is true, in spite of the evidence.

        • Bones

          Ah yes. A Sam Harris meme…..

        • adam

          Perhaps you prefer one from the christian ‘god’?

          A TRUE genocidal fascist maniac…..

        • Bones

          No, he’s correct.

          Even if the Exodus didn’t happen (and it didn’t), it represents for a whole group of different people the motif of freedom from oppression.

          It has been used by the American War of Independence, slaves, the Jews throughout their history, Martin Luther King and the black civil rights movement to represent the struggle against oppression and delivery to the Promised Land – Freedom. Good luck arguing with them about their “unfalsifiable worldview.”

          This is the real message of the scriptures. Who are ‘we’ in the stories?

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, he’s correct.

          Nope, he really isn’t.

          Even if the Exodus didn’t happen (and it didn’t), it represents for a whole group of different people the motif of freedom from oppression.

          Yer right, it didn’t, but it represents a whole lot more than just a whole group of different people the motif of freedom from oppression though. That is what you want to cherry-pick.

          It has been used by the American War of Independence, slaves, the Jews throughout their history, Martin Luther King and the black civil rights movement to represent the struggle against oppression and delivery to the Promised Land – Freedom. Good luck arguing with them about their “unfalsifiable worldview.”

          And what about all the nefarious shenanigans that the texts were used to justify throughout the ages? You’ll just want to airbrush that shite out of your chery-picked history a suppose. Including those passages used to justify the slave trades in the first place.

          This is the real message of the scriptures.

          FFS, will ya listen to yerself?

          Who are ‘we’ in the stories?

          Yeah, who do you think “we” are in the stories?

          Progressive Christianity = make it mean whatever I want it to mean and conveniently leave out the multitudes of unsavoury bits.

        • I see the value in metaphors. I might refer to a temptation as “an apple” to allude to the Garden of Eden. And a long civil rights process could be an “Exodus,” as you suggest.

          If that’s what you’re saying, then we’re in agreement. But did the Exodus really happen? How much metaphoring can we do? Is it paint (or rust) all the way down, or is there something substantial underneath?

          African Americans really were oppressed, and they really did make a journey. Were the Israelites really made slaves? If everything in the Bible is a metaphor, then that changes our view of it.

        • adam

          “Who are ‘we’ in the stories?”

          The victims, the suckers, the gullilble to those who use it’s stories for political power and evil.

        • MNb

          “Dietrich Bonhoeffer was faithful. He tried to kill Hitler.”
          Hitler was also faithful. He actually killed Bonhöffer.
          So much for faith being a moral category.

        • Yonah

          Why? There is good faith and bad faith.

        • davewarnock

          and you decide which is which

        • Yonah

          An existentialist is always deciding.

        • davewarnock

          troll elsewhere

        • adam

          “There is good faith and bad faith.”

          No there is ONLY faith, which the bible defines as wishful thinking..

        • sandy

          Faith is belief without evidence. Can’t be good or bad…just intellectually dishonest. Not a virtue but a weakness in critical thinking.

        • Susan

          They are not Christian…no matter what they have to say about it…or anyone else. They are not Christian.

          They would say the same about you.

          Which is why I prefer to skip past terms so vulnerable to equivocation and ask specific questions like:

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Yonah

          I am claiming that a fundamentalist is not a Christian. The support is: While a fundamentalist’s agenda is to divide humanity (heaven and hell), the authentic agenda of Jesus (and his authentic followers) is to bring humanity and all creation back to a unity of peace (Kingdom of God). This claim and support was behind Pope Francis’s recent comment on Donald Trump.

        • Max Doubt

          “I am claiming that a fundamentalist is not a Christian.”

          When you get those all those other Christians to accept your criteria as an acceptable way to differentiate between real Christians and not-real Christians, and when they disavow their Christianity because, you know, you’re right and they’re wrong, you just come back here and let us know, ‘kay? Until then, your consideration for their belief is exactly as valid as theirs for yours. You’re all arguing the equivalent of whether Captain Kirk is badder-ass than Captain Picard. It’s a cute conversation if you’re a Trekkie. Out here in the real world, you’re all talking out your asses.

        • Susan

          You’re all arguing the equivalent of whether Captain Kirk is badder-ass than Captain Picard.

          Captain Kirk is in no way badder-ass than Captain Picard.

          We were all born with a sensus picardis.

          I didn’t even take Star Trek seriously until Picard came along.

          Disprove it.

        • adam

          “While a fundamentalist’s agenda is to divide humanity (heaven and hell), the authentic agenda of Jesus (and his authentic followers) is to bring humanity and all creation back to a unity of peace (Kingdom of God). ”

          Contradicted by Jesus’s Hell.

        • Susan

          the authentic agenda of Jesus (and his authentic followers) is to bring humanity and all creation back to a unity of peace

          You haven’t supported this.

        • Yonah

          Support of the Kingdom of God is deed. This was more understood of Christianity when it had its Jewish roots intact. I am re-Judaizing the Christian faith in my locale. Although if enough get wind of what I’m doing, I’ll get my ass kicked. But, that was always part and parcel of the Gospel from day 1.

        • Susan

          Support of the Kingdom of God is deed.

          What is the Kingdom of God?

          Does it require a God?

          If not, why call it the Kingdom of God?

          If so, what is God?

        • Yonah

          The “Kingdom of God” is the term used by Jesus in the NT to refer to the Jewish messianic era.

        • Susan

          The “Kingdom of God” is the term used by Jesus in the NT to refer to the Jewish messianic era.

          And?

          Does it require a God?

          Is so, what is God?

          Why does what they say Jesus said matter especially?

        • Yonah

          The topic of the thread is miracles. You appear to desire to expand it the most macro of theist-atheist disagreement: The Existence of God. Kind of boring….it’s been done so much. Who can add to the script?

          Actually, my own theological attitude is much informed by Eastern Orthodoxy which has never been interested in that script. I found a nice post which I admire that I think represents the Orthodox and my own attitude toward that script:

          http://deathtotheworld.com/articles/arguing-about-gods-existence/

        • Susan

          The Existence of God. Kind of boring….it’s been done so much.

          You used the phrase “Kingdom of God”.

          What should we make of it?

          Your boredom appears to be evasion.

        • Yonah

          That’s fine. The Orthodox post I provided you is the better exemplar of a complete comfort with such evasion. It appears to me that your brand of atheism often devolves or begins (I don’t know which) with a Greco-Roman fascism that asserts that another MUST be channeled. Troll, that I am, I am happy and proud that “Word” is often received as but poetry at best, and gibberish most of the time.

          I would point out that Bob’s topic was that the NT Jesus miracles were not so impressive. And I, merely, asserted the miracle stories were not written to impress. The rest has generally been the atheist default of everything draining down to your existence of God script…which hardly needed Bob’s non-impressive miracle topic. Once could dispense with such decorations if all you want to do everyday is the same thing. Such atheist writing strikes me as analogous to Taco Bell which always uses the same 3 or 4 ingredients but just monthly mushes them into a new shape and calls them something else with a new made-up name that ends in lupa or lito. But, it’s still just beans and synthetic meat and cheese.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And I, merely, asserted the miracle stories were not written to impress.

          Asserted being the operative word.

          The earliest accounts of Jesus make no mention of miracles. It is with the gospels that the miracles begin, and to impress the audience is exactly what the purpose is…

          In the case of the miracles of Jesus, it is a fraught device because a man who can do miracles proves himself not to be a human being. Human beings cannot do miracles, only gods can. So when Jesus does his miracles he proves that he cannot be what he is presented as by Christian theologians—simply a man. A man who can do miracles or can call upon them willy-nilly, does not have to suffer on a cross, yet the Christian has to believe that he did to experience the misfortunes of mankind.

          But then logic has never been a strong point of Chistians. From the earliest times, Christians have dishonestly used it with success to persuade others to believe, but their critics have always pointed out that they themselves simply believe. In short, they cannot be persuaded by reason not to believe. Miracles are one of the impressive acts of Jesus and others in the bible that they cite to persuade people to step into the lobster pot—fishers of men!

          http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0320Miracles.php

          Miracles, by their very nature, are intended to impress. To say otherwise is disingenuous and ridiculous.

          Edit to add…or perhaps that should be supernature?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Such atheist writing strikes me as analogous to Taco Bell which always uses the same 3 or 4 ingredients but just monthly mushes them into a new shape and calls them something else with a new made-up name that ends in lupa or lito. But, it’s still just beans and synthetic meat and cheese.

          I adore the irony in your comments, too funny.

        • Greg G.

          But, it’s still just beans and synthetic meat and cheese.

          That is quite true. But then everything we eat is hydrocarbons, minerals, and water.

        • Yonah

          Yeah, but now I weigh 165 lb compared to over 300 lb when I was on the American Greco-Roman diet.

        • Susan

          The Orthodox post I provided you is the better exemplar of a complete comfort with such evasion.

          The Orthodox post you provided repeatedly claims that there are airtight arguments for the existence of “God” that don’t convince atheists.

          It appears to me that your brand of atheism often devolves or begins (I don’t know which) with a Greco-Roman fascism that asserts that another MUST be channeled.

          You use a phrase like “The Kingdom of God”, I ask you what it means and whether it requires a “God” and I have devolved into Greco-Roman fascism?

          That article assumes the existence of “God” without justification.

          The rest has generally been the atheist default of everything draining down to your existence of God script…

          People who claim the existence of “God” wrote the script. I am asking sincere questions about it and you are demeaning the questions and the people who ask them rather than providing an answer.

          I, merely, asserted the miracle stories were not written to impress.

          People who call themselves christians use these stories as evidence of “God”. Bob responded.

          I followed you down your Eastern Orthodox rabbit hole and found nothing there except claims of air tight arguments and atheists who aren’t convinced by them.

          I’ve seen the arguments. They are not airtight.

          How gauche of me to ask you about the existence of “God”. That it is central to every theist claim is no excuse for my lack of sophistication, I suppose.

        • MNb

          Well, a post that writes something as silly as

          “New Atheism”, distinguishable from what I suppose is the “old” atheism by its focus on polemics and outrage rather than intellectual rigour”

          is not very interested in intellectual rigour itself. Sartre and Schopenhauer (not to mention various other unbelievers from long before internet) didn’t focus on polemics? The author should read a few biographies.
          But if you’re not interested in arguments, then what you’re doing here? Maybe you haven’t read the motto of BobS’ blog yet?
          You know – as soon as you write something like “Kingdom of God” you can expect to be attacked on these pages. We’re not going to accept that phrase just because you feel it gives rise to some nice story – a story that means zilch to most of us anyway.
          So if you refuse to answer Susan’s questions and don’t explain what you mean with “Support of the Kingdom of God is deed” we’re going to conclude that you produce nothing but baked air.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The topic of the thread is miracles.

          It is…but it seems that going off topic is fine and dandy when it suits you apparently. A mean, what you being a vegan has to do with anything talked about is anybodies business.

          Actually, my own theological attitude is much informed by Eastern Orthodoxy which has never been interested in that script.

          Your own theological attitude is as mongrel as any I’ve seen. A Heinz 57 different varieties in one pot…cherry-picked the scripture to your particular recipe and a desire to deny others claims to have a dish as equally tasty. Every bit as bonkers as any other when the minutiae is examined.

        • Yonah

          “Mongrel” is a racist term that Ted Nugent uses a lot.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I really don’t give a shite about Ted Nugent, whoever to fuck he even is?

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and give you a bit of credence. You previously boasted about your intellectual credentials, so I am assuming that you have a reasonable ability in reading comprehension. Given the context of the comment, what do you think I meant by…

          Your own theological attitude is as mongrel as any I’ve seen.

          …given a choice from the following?

          1. An animal or plant resulting from various interbreedings, especially a dog of mixed or undetermined breed.

          2. Offensive A person of mixed background or descent.

          3. Something that is a mixture or combination of elements.

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mongrel

          I’ll give you a clue…it isn’t 1 or 2 above.

          Furthermore…

          1. noun. mongrel – derogatory term for a variation that is not genuine; something irregular or inferior or of dubious origin; “the architecture was a kind of bastard suggesting Gothic but not true Gothic”

        • Yonah

          “Interbreeding” is another word often used by racists like Ted Nugent. He does not put an e on the end of the poopy word, but he uses that word a lot too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What has this infatuation with Ted Nugent got to do with anything I said?

          I don’t know who Ted Nugent is, nor do I care to know.

          You have the cheek to talk about deflection off topic and yet you have brought this non-entity to the table for some reason unbeknownst to me.

          What is the point you are alluding to here with this bullshit Nugent nonsense?

        • Susan

          What has this infatuation with Ted Nugent got to do with anything I said?

          It means he can ignore the content of your comment by implying you are a racist.

          Much like he called buttle an anti-Semite.

          And me a Greco-Roman fascist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I know he is on a “look over there, squirrels” routine. I just want him to say what he is inferring so that I can have at him and show him up for what he is…a doofus.

        • Susan

          I know he is on a “look over there, squirrels” routine.

          “Look! A squirrel!” is bad enough but “Look! A racist, an anti-semite and a fascist!”

          That’s really fucking annoying.

          It undermines his whole “peace to creation” schtick.

        • MNb

          “The” is another word often used by racists. So what?

        • MNb

          “I really don’t give a shite about Ted Nugent”

          You might want to check “Journey to the Center of the Mind” once. This video is about the last time The Nuke was funny iso a joke:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCR3GSXGFc4

        • MNb

          Is that an absolute? I ask because IA is from the same island as

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUau9MM-Es4

          which contains the intriguing lines

          “Red skies, summer marches on
          We should go away together, mongrels in a mess forever”

          http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/therapy/church_of_noise.html#!

        • Ignorant Amos

          “The following passage is how Fr. George Calciu concludes a story about a time when, imprisoned by the Communists, he asked one of the cruelest guards for a piece of bread to celebrate the Liturgy in his cell. The guard’s jaw dropped at the audacity of the request and he slammed the door… only to return a while later to silently slip him the requested bread. Fr. George concludes:

          ‘So you can see the miracle. I did not ask God to make the miracle for me. The most important miracle that God performed during my imprisonment was a miracle of the heart: not breaking the doors, not setting me free, not sending His angels flying into my cell, but changing the heart of my torturer. There is no miracle greater than this miracle.’”

          Nope…no miracle there. If the anecdote is true, all it is is a moment of weakness by a prison guard. A bit of bread fer fuck sake. Millions of God fearing Christians worldwide would laugh at this, many others would not, that’s because of the extreme suffering through their devotion to the faith…waiting to the bitter end for their “miracle” that never comes.

          The problem, as I see it, isn’t so much the evidence for God, airtight or not, it is the starting point, God.

          Without a clear definition on the meaning of that word, how would one know what the evidence would look like?

          Hence Ignosticism. A term first coined by one Rabbi Sherwin Theodore Wine no less.

          Rabbi Wine coined the word ignosticism. It is the view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed.

          I’d have thought he’d have been right up your street Yonah.

          Where is my light? My light is in me.

          Where is my hope? My hope is in me.

          Where is my strength? My strength is in me – and in you.

          ~Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founding figure in Humanistic Judaism.

        • busterggi

          Ah but there was a real miracle – Jesus personally teleported the only piece of bread a starving child in Africa had to eat all the way to Russia so the guard could give it to the padre.

          The mass was celebrated.

          The child died.

          All was good with the world – Jesus smiled.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well when ya put it like that…

          …then miracles abound.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Quote: “Although if enough get wind of what I’m doing, I’ll get my ass kicked. But, that was always part and parcel of the Gospel from day 1.”

          Are you saying you seek martyrdom?

        • Yonah

          Eh, it depends on what day it is. Actually, I think Oskar Schindler was slickest. He screwed the Nazis; saved a lot of Jews; got out of the war alive; lived a long full life to natural death; buried with honors in Israel where Jews every day pilgrimage to his tomb to pray (in a Catholic cemetery). In my view, his grave is the holiest site in Jerusalem beside those pertaining to Jesus.

          And then I think of a story I heard when our synagogue went to Israel. A fellow Jew told me of a friend who was a Holocaust survivor…who survived the camps…who described how he got over the trauma of the whole thing…the near extinction of his people in Europe. He said after the war, he went directly back into Germany posing as a non-Jew and picked up as many German girls in bars as he could and now there are many more German Jewish folk in Germany.

          When I was a public school teacher, I taught Jewish Christian values in the classroom and never got caught because I didn’t use the terms that atheists fixate on, but taught the values. I got away with it. It could have gone the other way, but maybe I lucked out. Or….oh nah…couldn’t be….can’t support it.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Quite an essay and although Oskar Schindler was a humanitarian (except, perhaps, toward his wife, Emilie, whom he abandoned in Argentina), he wasn’t a martyr nor was the man in the bars. I wouldn’t know about terms that Atheists fixate on, but do know your reply makes little sense relative to the inquiry. I withdraw the question. I’ve no real time for this type of oddity.

        • Yonah

          I very much adore the title “oddity”. Thank you.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          You’re welcome.

        • Jack Baynes

          Who are YOU to say that your interpretation is the only legitimate one?

        • Susan

          The Bible is historical and it contains some historicity

          Nothing special about it, then.

          but it also contains political, cultural, and theological agenda.

          That could be said in whole or in part about every other idea a human has ever expressed.

          What are you saying?

        • Yonah

          Things are special to people based on their relation. I think of this in terms of being interested in genealogy and antiques. With family scrapbooks and such, I try to remember that mine is interesting to me, but not so much to another. Genealogy enthusiasts routinely bore other people to death. With antiques, I used to set up and sell at antique shows. Once I set up across from an old crusty dealer…kind of looked like one of the ZZ Top guys, and he had a big sign which said:

          “The only one that ever really cared what your grandma had was your grandpa.”

        • Greg G.

          Genealogy enthusiasts routinely bore other people to death.

          My weakness for making a pun offended some of my distant relatives in an online genealogy forum when I wrote “Cowards run in my family.”

        • Yonah

          Oy!

        • Ignorant Amos

          As for the Fundamentalists. They are not brethren in the faith. They are not Christian…no matter what they have to say about it…or anyone else. They are not Christian.

          And they would say the exact same thing about you and your likes….and it wouldn’t be just the fundamentalists, whatever that even means, other flavours of the cult consider lot’s of other flavours of the cult not Christian.

          Your comment is the epitome of the “No True Scotsman Fallacy” am afraid.

        • Yonah

          I am unconcerned about this.

        • adam

          “I am unconcerned about this.”

          Why would any dishonest person be concerned about commiting a fallacy?

        • davewarnock

          I do so enjoy watching all the various Christian tribes shoot down the opposing tribes as “not true Christians”. It would be great if those shots would actually eliminate the intended target. It wouldn’t take long at all for all the competing Christian tribes to shoot each other down. And then they would all be gone and that would be fine with me.

          “Imagine no religion”

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s why Christianity is such a fuck-up in the first place. The earliest flavours became heretical, then after the orthodox won the day, the schisms began due to one clique deciding the other cliques as not being the True Christian’s™. Other religions also apply.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yep. 🙂

        • adam

          ” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was faithful. He tried to kill Hitler.”

          Yet Hitler was faithful.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The gospels of the NT are representations of the Gospel. A gospel is its own literary genre which is not an attempt to narrate history but to present The Faith theologically, politically, and sociologically.

          Yes, I’ve heard that said from a number of quarters. As a matter of fact, Bart Ehrman goes to great pains to point that detail out in a number of his books. He says, and am paraphrasing here, that all mainstream non-fundamental woo-woo factories, at all the major and not so major, seats of learning,do just that. He cites his own experience at from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Bruce Metzger and received his PhD and M.Div. He also says that it is the major cause of drop-outs due to a conflict in belief vis a vis what is taught to potential newbie clerics at seminary school. A lot of burst bubbles.

          This is standard mainline seminary fare.

          Yes indeed, and Ehrman queries why the clergy keep it a secret once they’ve earned spurs. He cites an example in a personal anecdote found in “God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer”.

          Plenty of other examples abound, not least at The Clergy Project…have a wee look for yerself.

          Here’s part of Wesley Nazeazeno’s story…

          After experiencing neo-Pentecostalism when I was 15 years old, I decided to enter a seminary. When I turned 17, I left home and was received at the same seminary where my parents had studied. I sought answers for my questions. I had already rejected the neo-Pentecostal experiences I had had, and suddenly I found myself in love with Reformed theology. It seemed so strong and well prepared and even gave me some good answers.

          However, the more I learned about the history of the church and about religion, the more I began to realize that everything was wrong, that it was all just a human endeavor and and without something divine or special.

          Finally I graduated from seminary and served the church in its publishing house working with educational material for churches and then with church missions. During this period I had several ethical and moral crises. The moral and Christian / biblical ethics were very confusing and contradictory to me. All this mixed with a fanatical Calvinism left me extremely confused. Finally, I realized I could not continue in the church as a pastor and decided that I would live my life outside the church until I had found the answers I was seeking. It was not that difficult, except for the fact that a degree in theology means nothing for jobs.

          http://clergyproject.org/wesley-nazeazeno/

          Wesley is Presbyterian…not that that matters.

          It’s not a case of what is standard fare in seminary schools, it’s a case of what is standard fare from the pulpit in places of worship…the two are not the same.

        • Yonah

          You have made dead-on excellent points. When I was in seminary (early 80s), we students made these points with our professors…and the professors refused to deal with them. As the church growth movement took off, it rather adopted the increased realization that not only did Historical Critical not preach, it flushed dollars out of the house. Then, a new Bible brew started up…oh, I don’t know…maybe the late 90s/early 2000s called Narrative Criticism…where study of the Bible was constrained to just the structure and intention of the narrative of a particular pericope. It’s sort of half-assing it back to a pre Historical Critical congregational period a la 1940s and before. The thought was that this would be easier on the bottom line. So, that’s what mainline is doing today. Historical Critical is now antique.

          I’ve always been honest about Historical Critical and I’ve paid the price…especially years ago. It’s a little easier now because media and more popular texts have covered it…and not all my laity are not so shocked today as they were 30 years ago.

          In terms of your last statement, you are 100% correct. I am a very minority report. I’ll leave it to others to judge whether my existence is meaningful or not.

        • Sounds like you’d be the last guy to refer to the scholarly consensus within any branch of Christian theology since it changes so often.

        • Yonah

          I don’t know what you mean by “branch”. Generally, in regard to biblical scholarship, the mainline have their macro continuum, and the fundies have theirs. There is a middle zone between honest evangelicals and mainline. N.T. Wright plays well to that middle zone. I agree with a lot of his views, but not all.

        • Fundamentalists that we might think of as off the rails might have as much education and devotion as you. You say they’re not really Christians. Fair enough. They might say the same about you. Or not. The category isn’t copyrighted, and anyone can claim it as their own. So much for an objective definition of Christianity, I guess.

        • Yonah

          Yes. There very strong counter-claims as to what Christianity is. The Klan claims to be Christian.

        • Max Doubt

          “Yes. There very strong counter-claims as to what Christianity is. The Klan claims to be Christian.”

          As long as the KKK claims to be a Christian organization, they are. That claim is, after all, the only objective way we have to determine who is and is not a Christian. You don’t expect us to just take your word for it do you? That would kind of make you an arrogant dick.

        • adam

          “The Klan claims to be Christian.”

          And why wouldnt they?

        • Ignorant Amos

          As does the sectarian Orange Order…so what?

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

          Your problem is, that you don’t get to decide who want’s to be defined as Christian and who doesn’t.

          There are 38,000+ flavours of the cult, ALL claiming to be True Christian’s™, and that’s a big issue for ALL Christian’s.

        • The Klan claims to be Christian.

          As does Westboro Baptist Church. Both claims sound fine to me. Christianity is a big tent.

        • Yonah

          I encourage you to repeat that statement much in all your professional and public engagements.

        • adam

          “I encourage you to repeat that statement much in all your professional and public engagements.”

          Yep, it identifies christianity PRIMARILY as DIVISIVE, and more divisive as time goes on.

          so much for the power of Jesus…

        • buttle

          “it was both political and sociological over against the Roman political/military machine and Greco-Roman culture.”

          This keeps coming up over and over, and yet it can’t possibly be true. It captures the spirit of Revelations and 1 Peter, but for most of the NT and for 3 out of 4 canonical gospels (including the first one and prototype of the genre) it’s the opposite.

        • Yonah

          I disagree. With respect to the Pauline corpus, while I do not agree with Paul’s decisions many times, I agree with N.T. Wright as to what Paul’s intentions were: To put forward Jesus as “Lord” in direct opposition to Caesar…Paul’s seeming endorsement of obedience to the government being but cover for real and substantive subversiveness of the Gospel. You would need to cite examples from the gospels for me to understand what you are alluding to there.

        • buttle

          Ah, a cover… So, despite the written stuff we have, Paul wasn’t an apocalyptic preacher akin to Jehova witnesses in the sixties, he was actually a secret Martin Luther King. I guess with scholarship like this anything goes…

          “You would need to cite examples from the gospels for me to understand what you are alluding to there.”

          There are dozens of examples, many even too obvious to point out, like Luke 7. Does it sound to you like a criticism of roman rule over Judea? It sounds like a glowing endorsement of the romans to me… The same kenturion was the first human to recognize Jesus as the son of god, not some jew or jewish christian (and no, he wasn’t sarcastic). Were the evangelists into criticism of Rome they could come up with the story of an evil kenturion, not with an almost christian one! According to gentile christians the jews were responsible for the war, not the romans, and most gospels were written by gentile christians. This isn’t rocket science or some new discovery, it was the default position of the Catholic church since at least the second century, as the forgery of 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 testifies, and arguably since the war itself. How quickly a 2000 year old tradition can be forgotten…

        • Yonah

          Both Paul and MLK were apocalyptic preachers. The Mountain Top speech includes MLK’s understanding that his vision (“dream”) was an apocalyptic one. Both died for the faith.

          Luke is indeed written for a gentile audience. It translates the “Hebrew” into “Greek”. The centurion of Romans 7 is a text book of example of the Gospel subverting the Roman culture as it provides narration of the Gospel making its case to gentiles, even those who work for the government.

          Now, on the issue of gentile-Jewish tension in the NT, you are quite correct. We do find an anti-Judaism in parts of the NT. This is well recognized by modern scholarship. This brings me to the point (again), that while the gospels contain and present The Gospel, the gospels (nor any part of the Bible) are not synonymous with The Gospel…which the early Church endeavored to live out, and a minority of Christians (authentic) have endeavored to live out a la MLK or a Bonhoeffer et al.

        • ningen

          Isn’t Jesus himself a miracle – God made flesh? So if we have no good reason to believe any of the lesser miracles, then why believe the greater one?

        • Yonah

          I like your point, because it is a more serious one than going after walking on water. Indeed, on what basis does real Christianity proclaim Jesus: God?

          And, to use your more serious bent, I would ask why not center on the top of the heap: The Resurrection?

        • Max Doubt

          “And, to use your more serious bent, I would ask why not center on the top of the heap: The Resurrection?”

          Duh. Here’s why not. Because you have no objective evidence to support any claims that any such thing ever occurred. You’re dishonestly starting in the middle of a tale while assuming the background is true. Again that is the antitheses if critical thinking. Hell, it’s not even considering the issue rationally.

        • Yonah

          I’ll leave it to you to explain why the Christian proclamation of the Resurrection is less important than the miracles Bob treats.

        • Max Doubt

          “I’ll leave it to you to explain why the Christian proclamation of the Resurrection is less important than the miracles Bob treats.”

          Of course you will. You’re not honest. I’d leave it to you to explain why any fictional event is more important than any other when it comes to how they relate to objective reality. You own that burden of proof.

          Bob is talking about these tales from the Christian bible starting from the point we all know is true, and that is: There is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist or that any of the alleged miracles or magical events described in the Christian bible actually occurred. You seem to be trying to have a different conversation, or at least starting from a premise that you know isn’t supported by objective evidence.

        • Max Doubt

          “ALL of that is a narrative designed to teach a theological point of the relationship of Jesus to the Father.”

          That is the antithesis of critical thinking. You’re jumping the gun by considering the attributes and relationships between alleged beings without any objective evidence that those beings exist. Unless you’re willing to acknowledge that to the best of your knowledge you’re talking about fiction, you’re lying to yourself and to those who you’re trying to indoctrinate. And that’s a pretty sleazy way to treat children.

        • Yonah

          No. It is simply descriptive of the author’s agenda in the text cited as opposed to assertion that the author intended to record chronologically. Bob is quoting the Gospel of John which is known as the most “theological gospel” as it is replete with pericopes which have the agenda of forwarding a particular theology, in this case the highest form of christology possible…as opposed to lower forms both in the NT and more importantly the actual disparate communities and their oral tradition which stand behind the NT books, those outside the NT, and those for which we do not have extant books but see reference to them in other books, and those of which it is not known whether they produced any books of all.

        • Max Doubt

          “No. It is simply descriptive of the author’s agenda in the text cited as opposed to assertion that the author intended to record chronologically.”

          No, you’re trying to deflect blame for your own despicable morality. That’s a pretty shitty way to live your life, not to mention a shitty way to try to engage in a discussion with people who are being honest with you. If you ever wonder why non-Christians find there are so many total asshole Christians, and why so many of us take comfort in knowing we have rejected every bit of that lying and shirking responsibility and crap you do, look no further than your own mirror.

    • MNb

      What job?
      And what moral lesson can be learned from Jesus drowning innocent pigs?

      • Yonah

        The job is to inculcate children (and their elders) with the desire to respond to the call to choose the way of Jesus over the way of Caesar/Hitler/Trump…and do so as slickly as possible…because this shit can get you killed…and if one dies too soon before getting meaningful damage done to the other side…well, that’s fucked up.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I would think it best then not to rely on faith at all but to teach critical reasoning. Faith seems to be a way to mold people so that they have difficulties breaking away from dependence. That dependence could be on ANYTHING. Critical thinking empowers the individual so that they can make choices and not just hang on every word of an authority.

        • mai1dude39

          Airhead, what do you know about “critical reasoning”?

          You’re the dumbest troll on the web.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          May Jesus skullfuck you first!

        • gizmoZ3

          Tsk tsk, that isn’t very ladylike.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          ::Giauz displays a little ankle::

        • ??

        • Greg G.

          That was a response to the now deleted post by an apparent stalker-troll.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          My mind works in weird ways a lot of times. In the movie, ‘R.I.P.D.’, Jeff Bridges’ character “after-lives” with the knowledge that a coyote got itself off with his skull’s eye sockets. Then, there is the Cthulu Mythos blessing, ‘May you be eaten first!’ Lastly, the popular conception of Jesus appears to be a god obsessed with penises and sex. Somehow that became “May Jesus skullfuck you first!”

          It’s probably best not to understand.

        • I’ll take that advice!

        • Yonah

          As the embracing of authentic Christian faith is a choice, it is the product a particular episode of critical thinking…which you may not agree with, but nonetheless it has involved a particular thinking process on the part of the person who has chosen the Christian faith.

        • MNb

          “As the embracing of authentic Christian faith is a choice”
          Really? Indoctrinating children has nothing to do with it?

          “My children’s sermons”
          contain fair and relevant information about other religions and several varieties of unbelief as well?

        • Yonah

          It is entirely about indoctrinating children…but begs the question of what doctrine. In my case, it is the doctrine of how to treat other people and the creation.

          Other religions? At times. I was remarking to Mrs. Yonah recently about doing something on Malala Yousafzai.

        • Jack Baynes

          In my case, it is the doctrine of how to treat other people and the creation.

          Like not beating your slaves so hard that they die within a couple days?

        • adam

          “In my case, it is the doctrine of how to treat other people and the creation.”

          Which is really the problem….

        • MNb

          “the doctrine of how to treat other people and the creation.”
          Including that it’s OK to kill off innocent pigs for no reason? Because that’s what the story reflects – not only hating Romans, also looking down on the noble creatures called pigs.

          “It is entirely about indoctrinating children”
          Then what you wrote elsewhere about “chosing christianity” is as misleading as the GDR calling itself democratic.

        • Yonah

          (I’m pretty sure the pig part was made up). In any event, today many Jews are Kosher by being vegan (as I am) as a matter or animal rights.

        • Ignorant Amos

          (I’m pretty sure the pig part was made up).

          The parts that are not made up are more difficult to define…can you think of any?

          In any event, today many Jews are Kosher by being vegan (as I am) as a matter or animal rights.

          That’s not really the point and a bit of a non sequitur, but really? Jews are becoming vegan because of the kosher laws? Is that an assumption on your part? Can’t you see anything wrong with it?

          The irony of the animal rights angle is not lost on me either. A religion built on animal sacrifice. A religion that’s adherents are only permitted to eat animals slaughtered by shechita. Love that one…it’s mint.

          I’m reminded of a documentary a seen where the Shabbat observant Jews go to ridiculous extremes to avoid doing the most insignificant of tasks. Including self dialling telephone.

          http://www.vice.com/read/a-gentiles-guide-to-cheating-the-shabbat

          A guess G-d wasn’t anticipating technology to be so popular among the chosen ones.

          All fun and piss taking aside, this human made religious bollocks costs innocent lives.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/nyregion/7-children-die-in-brooklyn-fire.html

        • Yonah

          You are capable of more humanity.

          You have tried too hard to make a point of levity (pun intended) too seriously.

          First, animal sacrifice is not included in rabbinic Judaism. It was included in priestly/temple Judaism which was destroyed 70 ce. Rabbinic Judaims for all intents and purposes is a reconstituted Judaism…a Judaism that had to totally start over under lay leadership (Pharisees)…a religion which was essentially birthed concurrent to Christianity. Christianity and rabbinic Judaism are brother religions. It is unfortunate that the relation has been something of Cain & Abel and Jacob & Esau a lot of the time.

        • adam

          ” It is unfortunate that the relation has been something of Cain & Abel and Jacob & Esau a lot of the time.”

          THE fundamental problem of a system based on division rather than unity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are capable of more humanity.

          Ad hom…nothing whatsoever to do with this argument and where did I display a lack of humanity?

          You have tried too hard to make a point of levity (pun intended) too seriously.

          They are neither my rules nor my religious texts, that they are archaic ridiculous nonsense that you and many others are embarrassed by, and neither recognise nor adhere to, is your problem. I’m always going to ridicule and mock such asinine bollocks.

          First, animal sacrifice is not included in rabbinic Judaism.

          I don’t care much for the minutiae. Kosher meat today is ritually killed in line with the Jewish rules…it’s heritage goes back to the Old Testament…it is sacrifice now, as it was sacrifice then. That you claim many Jews have become vegan because part of the ritual process is being circumvented and thereby leading to an animal that is going to have it’s throat sliced ritually, is of no consequence and cold comfort to boot.

          It was included in priestly/temple Judaism which was destroyed 70 ce. Rabbinic Judaims for all intents and purposes is a reconstituted Judaism…a Judaism that had to totally start over under lay leadership (Pharisees)…a religion which was essentially birthed concurrent to Christianity. Christianity and rabbinic Judaism are brother religions. It is unfortunate that the relation has been something of Cain & Abel and Jacob & Esau a lot of the time.

          Yadda, yadda, yadda…a don’t care. There was more than one pre-temple destruction flavour’s of Judaism, which included Jewish and Gentile Christianities by all accounts. There are many post-temple destruction flavour’s of Judaism. They all have their foibles. They are all rooted in the same heritage. The Judean Peoples Front, People’s Front of Judea, ya don’t get it, do ya?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WboggjN_G-4

        • Yonah

          You have a totally confused notion of Judaism. Kosher slaughter of animals has nothing to do with sacrifice. Rabbinic Judaism has no animal sacrifice ritual. Kosher laws governing slaughter have to do with being as humane to animals as is humanly possible. The problem with current meat industry conditions is that Kosher slaughter houses receive animals that have already been tortured in the feeding production facilities.

        • Yonah

          Oh, on vegan Kosher. A large reason why Jews are going to vegan is that the Kosher meat industry has declined into a lie…while the the actual slaughter of animals may be done according to Kosher practice, not the raising of the animals prior to slaughter. Kosher meat producers draw the animal stock often from the same feed lots as non-Kosher. So, the problem in general is the inhumane treatment of animals throughout the whole meat industry. Religion aside, if you eat meat, how do you justify it in terms of the animal abuse that is inherent in it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What do ya think would happen if everyone turned vegan overnight?

          The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you.

        • Yonah

          You could choose to consume only meat produced by humane standards and/or advocate for the eradication of cruel treatment of animals. There are intermediate positions that are helpful.

        • MNb

          “I’m pretty sure the pig part was made up.”
          Irrelevant for the point. The point is that that made up part tells us how the very first proto-christians saw their big hero: as someone who didn’t give a clusterf**k about animal rights, but thought it OK to kill them for fun.
          Nice that you are a vegan and respect animal rights. That’s also irrelevant for the point. The point is that you didn’t learn that lesson from the Big Hero – and hence are morally superior to him. Jesus was a flawed teacher. Buddha and St. Franciscus of Assisi beat him in that respect. A very human and very not divine Jesus.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I should expect to go to heaven and never let Jesus live down how utterly contemptible, incompetent, fetishistic, manipulative, sadistic, and down-right cruel concepts like sin, murder, rape, Satan, hell, salvation, heaven, god, religious texts, purity, and on and on are then? I mean, he doesn’t just want robot yes-men who see him as perfect or even worth a damn, right?

        • Max Doubt

          “As the embracing of authentic Christian faith is a choice, it is the product a particular episode of critical thinking…”

          Well, sure, if you redefine critical thinking to mean accepting claims that things are true without so much as a mote of objective evidence to support them. But seriously, redefining terms like that is, if not willfully ignorant, transparently dishonest. Let’s keep in mind the belief that a god exists cannot be defended objectively, and maybe more importantly, it cannot be defended with honesty. Critical thinking, actual critical thinking that involves applying the scientific method, requires honesty. Your comment is an oxymoron.

        • Yonah

          No. Critical thinking includes the science of discerning how things relate to each other, especially concepts. We taught children this in school. I was a public school teacher at one time. I also took the LSAT before I went to law school.

        • Max Doubt

          “No. Critical thinking includes the science of discerning how things relate to each other, especially concepts.”

          When you have no objective evidence whatsoever that some particular thing exists, you can’t discern how it relates to anything else, not without acknowledging up front that those hypothetical relationships have nothing to do with reality. It’s like discerning all the other ways Dorothy might have tried to get back from Oz. Big deal.

          Remember, there is no substantive difference between those things you think of as gods and the invisible princess sitting in the empty chair at a little girl’s make believe tea party. It’s a figment of your imagination. A concept is all that it is. When you equivocate and try to start with a concept, the idea of an invisible magical being, and move the conversation directly to talking about its attributes as if it’s real, you’re not engaging in science in any form.

          So you began with the lie that you’ve been using critical thinking, and added on another lie that you’re somehow engaged in science. You can’t, with honesty, redefine the word science any more than you can redefine the term critical thinking. Either way you’re lying.

          “We taught children this in school.”

          Then you were a seriously shitty teacher.

          “I was a public school teacher at one time.”

          With your inability to distinguish figments of your imagination from objective reality, and your apparent desire to get young people to believe that’s an acceptable way of thinking about reality, being a school teacher is not something to be proud of. You should be embarrassed.

          “I also took the LSAT before I went to law school.”

          Again, big deal.

        • MNb

          You provided a nice argument for teaching Flat Earth Theory.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amongst other not-so-very-well-understood-concepts that are now much much better explained with more knowledgeable and evidenced theories.

        • sandy

          You are correct Max. The early church new that they had no evidence to support belief so they vigorously supported that “faith” (belief without evidence) was a virtue, to be admired and held in esteem. This gave the believers all they needed to continue with faith and the Church to support them and of course torture or kill them for not following. Pretty easy to see wise faith as a virtue became one of the staples of belief.
          For me, The Church saying faith is a virtue is like McDonald’s saying their food is good for you.

        • davewarnock

          I personally know hundreds of “authentic Christians”- and was one myself for over 3 decades. I do not know one Christian who “chose” the Christian faith- not one who carefully examined all the available options (and evidence) and chose Christianity. Rather- every Christian I know inherited the Christian faith because that was the predominate faith of the culture in which they were born.

        • Yonah

          I think there is a daily choice.

        • davewarnock

          well you completely missed the point of my comment or chose to ignore it in favor of advancing your narrative.

        • Yonah

          I “missed” it because I do not agree that you have a complete picture of the matter. One can inherit, but keeping the inheritance is a choice.

        • davewarnock

          No- I have a very complete picture of the matter. It’s you who doesn’t. I find it odd that people, when they “choose” a faith- they choose the one they grew up immersed in.

          You are willingly blind. Carry on with your delusions

        • Yonah

          I am.

        • Jack Baynes

          Then my choice to remain a Christian for 20 years was not a episode of critical thinking. It was the act of NOT thinking. Of taking what my parents and pastor said at face value because I had been taught to believe them.

          When I applied critical thinking, I realized I had no reason to think I had been lucky enough to be raised in the one true religion. Then realized there was no way to determine which, if any, religion is true. ,

        • Yonah

          There is a difference between nominal Christian identity and existentially embraced Christian identity. It’s rather on a continuum. Nominal Christianity, if it is not confirmed by a more mature embracing can stagnate or mutate to the kind of thing your pastor and parents imposed.

        • sandy

          childhood indoctrination…it works.

        • davewarnock

          yep- that’s why churches spend millions on their children programs.

        • sandy

          Sunday School is my biggest beef about religion. I really don’t care what you believe but don’t sell it on kids who are too young for critical thinking. I know, not going to happen as the parents would have to admit they might be wrong to keep their kids out of “Indoctrination School”

        • Bones

          Unfortunately critical reasoning is the enemy to most Christians…..

        • MNb

          “choose the way of Jesus”
          Like drowning innocent pigs?

        • Yonah

          lol, narrative devices may not be your interest. Pigs?…Google: Judaism & Pigs.

        • MNb

          Drowning innocent pigs is a narrative device. That’s exactly the problem.
          Yeah, I know, judaism (and also islam) thinks pigs are “unclean”, “impure” or whatever. That’s exactly my problem. I don’t get why they are. And I certainly don’t get that someone who is the “Son of God” thinks they are.
          I do get though why a bunch of superstitious and ignorant people with a serious lack of scientific understanding do make that mistake – resulting in deficient morals regarding animals. So if the conclusion is that Jesus was such a superstitious and ignorant person I will immediately accept that.
          But apparently you don’t like that kind of critical reasoning too much, given your reaction of laughing it away. Too inconvenient, I suppose. It doesn’t fit your nicely created narrative of Jesus the good guy vs. Caesar, Hitler and Trump the bad guys.
          So all in all thanks for not answering. I appreciate it.

        • I know, judaism (and also islam) thinks pigs are “unclean”, “impure” or whatever. That’s exactly my problem. I don’t get why they are.

          Especially because they aren’t unclean anymore!

          For being a perfect, immutable god, Yahweh gets confused pretty easily.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’d like to know why there just happened to be 2000 of the animals at hand in a part of the world where they were, by and large, considered unfit for consumption?

          Anyone with a wee bit of knowledge of pig breeding will know the figure is outlandish in the extreme.

          A pork munching country such as the UK with a population of 60 million has an average herd size circa 70 head.

          http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/prices-stats/industry-structure/uk-average-herd-size/

          Of course when one is making stories up,anything goes, if one has that number of demons to cast out, then that’s the number piggies required to run the 6 miles to be drowned in the sea.

          Nonsense much?

        • Good point about the size of herds. Sheep in a herd that big is one thing, but now that you mention it, pigs never seem to be raised that way.

          The amazing thing to me is that there is no mention of the fact that Jesus takes an extremely expensive piece of property (huge herd of pigs) and destroying them. No concern for the frikkin’ farmer??

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not to mention the bother it would get a buddy into with the authorities. A mean, that amount of pork must’ve have belonged to someone for some purpose other than a petting zoo. The smart money would be the garrison cook-house, thereby crossing the authorities with an action way beyond tipping temple tithing tables.

          Or it could be just a made up tale in a book of complete fiction.

        • MNb

          Oh, Yonah already agreed that it’s a made up tale. That’s why I think it way more interesting what the tale says about Jesus and his first followers than harping about a literalist interpretation.
          They felt contempt for pigs, something the animals totally not deserved. The problem hence is not that the tale is made up; the problem is that it offers fucked up morals. That’s what makes Jesus look bad, especially compared with Buddha and St. Franciscus of Assisi.
          Now if you have too much free time to waste I recommend you to read all Yonah’s comments in which he wriggles like an eel in a bucket of mucus to avoid addressing it.
          Telling.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, anno…I’m being facetious.

          I’ve been following your approach and it is the correct one. It leaves no weasel room, even for those that hold their hands up to it being a big yarn, but a big yarn that has a lesson in it. Some of the apologetics one reads around the web on the 2000 piggy tale is ridiculous.

        • Yonah

          lol, in truth, Jews do not know why pigs are not kosher. The memory has been lost. The most that can be said of it is that the abstention from pork became a tribal identity device…a marker of difference. In my old shul , my rabbi openly admitted this. He also told the story of how he worked in a pork processing plant in college. It was okay…he didn’t eat it. He only packed it.

        • MNb

          “Jews do not know why pigs are not kosher.”
          And that particular jew who called himself the “Son of God” apparently didn’t know either. He just accepted from tradition.
          Now Buddha and Franciscus of Assisi did not thoughtlessly accept such a silly view on these noble animals. What does this tell us about that particular jew who lived 2000 years ago?

        • Yonah

          I highly suspect that the Jesus Seminar would count that story not pertaining to the historical Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Historical Jesus uuuhhh? What would one of them look like when yer writing back home?

        • Yonah

          “Historical Jesus” is simply a technical term (for this discussion) which a particular school of biblical scholarship (Historical Jesus school, I guess) employs to differentiate the endeavor to approximate what can be constructed as a reasonable concept of what the person of Jesus was actually about (in history) as opposed to the character(s) of Jesus presented in extant texts. A large part of that (for example: the Jesus Seminar) was the endeavor to discern material original to the historical Jesus, written or oral, which was incorporated into NT and associated texts.

        • buttle

          “And that particular jew who called himself the “Son of God” apparently didn’t know either. He just accepted from tradition.”

          Here we go again… why are you assuming a jewish jesus who hates pigs (and romans)? There is zero evidence for that. The only Jesus we have is the gentile Jesus who has no problem eating pork in Mark 7 and loves his romans just as much as the jews. Mark 5 does not come from a memory of the supposed real Jesus, it is entirely made up, and whatever its meaning it can’t go completely against Mark 7.

        • Bones

          What is it with you and pigs?

          Are you vegan?

        • busterggi

          That has great implications regarding anal sex vs oral sex.

        • Greg G.

          I have read that the archaeology of a certain place and time in the ancient Judean area shows several sites that are culturally the same except one has pig bones and one doesn’t.

        • Yonah

          People get hungry. I saw a PBS show once that had a snippet on Jews in colonial America..,perhaps Philadelphia…I can’t remember. But, archaeologists doing work on some Jewish homes found pig bones. In my old synagogue (Reform), it was not rare to hear a fellow Jew admit that they did not keep Kosher. The synagogue kitchen and events were always kept Kosher out of respect for those in the congregation that did keep Kosher.

        • Ignorant Amos

          People get hungry.

          It’s amazing how necessities will dictate belief’s and vice versa. God’s importance doesn’t seem that important after all. At least when it suits humans.

        • Greg G.

          I got the impression that the lack of pig bones was a new thing. But it has been a while since I read it so I cannot swear to it.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          The prohibition comes from Deuteronomy, Ch.14:8-10, does it not?

        • Yonah

          The text describes a partial reason in the way of stating that animals with certain attributes are ok, and others not. But, just what the problem was with pig hoofs and cud…we dunno. Chickens can be pretty disgusting….make a lousy house pet.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          It’s Yahweh. It doesn’t have to make sense.

        • Yonah

          It is unkind to address a Jew with writing out the Tetragrammaton. It is the holiest word to Jews, so observant Jews do not write it or speak it. I realize that many don’t care what Jews value, but that’s just that.

        • Max Doubt

          “It is unkind to address a Jew with writing out the Tetragrammaton.”

          That’s just tough shit when you’re in a room full of people who aren’t playing your silly little game of let’s-pretend, isn’t it?

          “It is the holiest word to Jews, so observant Jews do not write it or speak it. I realize that many don’t care what Jews value, but that’s just that”

          And when you’re in a room full of atheists, and you’re talking about gods and miracles as if they’re real, you’re acting like a seven year old who comes into a room full of adults and tells people they can’t sit here or there because his imaginary buddy wants to sit there. “Look out everybody, Yonah will be offended if you step on the cracks!” When kids do it, they’re brats. When adults do it, they’re assholes.

        • Bones

          It’s interesting the way you talk about other cultures like that.

          Are you so blase about indigenous culture sooking about what they hold important?

          Like I don’t know getting up and mooning a Native American Spiritual dance?

          I suppose some people get a kick out of offending others but it just shows you as something of a prick.

        • Max Doubt

          “It’s interesting the way you talk about other cultures like that.”

          Encountering interesting things is one of the cool things about the Internet.

          “Are you so blase about indigenous culture sooking about what they hold important?”

          Indigenous culture? I’m in the United States, which is smack dab in the middle of North America. Nothing about “the holiest word to Jews” is remotely related to indigenous culture here. As far a being blasé about Yonah’s over-sensitivity regarding his superstition? Yep, I’m blasé as all get out. I’m not the least bit concerned about an adult who whines because other people won’t indulge his fantasy. I’m barely concerned when children do it.

          “Like I don’t know…”

          It’s like you don’t.

          “… getting up and mooning a Native American Spiritual dance?”

          When a fellow enters a discussion among a group of people who aren’t playing the Native American spirituality game, it’d be pretty damned rude for him to ask everyone to step aside so he can do his dance. We didn’t call Yonah to tell him how silly his superstitious fantasy is. He called us.

          “I suppose some people get a kick out of offending others…”

          I’m not so sure Yonah gets a kick out of it, but when he comes into a room full of people who aren’t playing his game of make-believe and calls other people rude for not indulging him, he is indeed offending others.

          “… but it just shows you as something of a prick.”

          I don’t care to spend a lot of time patting adults on the head and coddling them because their imaginary friends are allegedly offended when someone says their name out loud. There are no magic words. Did you just step out of a Betelgeuse movie or something? Grow up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          More like a Candyman movie if ya ask me.

        • Susan

          It is unkind to address a Jew with writing out the Tetragrammaton

          Along with what Max says below, most Jews I know don’t care a bit if I write “Yahweh”. They are not religious Jews.

          I have encountered religious Jews who are against any name of Yahweh being written including the word “God” (which they spelled G-d) that you use so freely.

          I have also encountered religious Jews who don’t want to risk sitting next to me because I am a woman.

          I notice that once again you ignored the substance of the comment to which you responded.

          “It’s Yahweh. It doesn’t have to make sense.”

          You reinforced Myna’s point.

          Also, I’m not interested in lessons on “niceness” from someone who is happy to call people racists, anti-semites and fascists without a speck of support for those accusations.

        • Yonah

          In my view, non-observant Jews should respect the piety of religious Jews on the Tetragrammaton, and it would be a kind thing for gentiles to do the same. Jews often disagree with each other. There is no central authority. So, if it is your intention to make Jews feel bad, you appear to have the capacity and knowledge to be successful in that.

        • Greg G.

          In my view, non-observant Jews should respect the piety of religious Jews on the Tetragrammaton, and it would be a kind thing for gentiles to do the same.

          “One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.” –Robert A. Heinlein

          I feel like it would be condescending and patronizing a person by respecting their absurd beliefs. It’s like talking to a twelve year old who still believes in Santa Claus.

        • Max Doubt

          “In my view, non-observant Jews should respect the piety of religious Jews on the Tetragrammaton, and it would be a kind thing for gentiles to do the same. Jews often disagree with each other. There is no central authority. So, if it is your intention to make Jews feel bad, you appear to have the capacity and knowledge to be successful in that.”

          In my view, people who consider it true that a god or gods exist, if they want reasonable people to accept their belief, should have the decency and honesty to provide objective evidence to support the claim. But for some reason they never do.

          In my view people who come into atheist forums talking about gods as if they’re actual entities with some influence on the workings of the universe should provide objective evidence to support that claim, or stop talking about those alleged entities as if they’re real. Again, they very rarely do. Even when reminded that it’s rude to do that. Apparently to you respect is something you’d like to get but are unwilling to give. What was that word we use to describe adults who come into other people’s houses, demand respect they’re not willing to give, and call the regular residents rude? Asshole?

        • Susan

          In my view, non-observant Jews should respect the piety of religious Jews on the Tetragrammaton

          In my view, they shouldn’t.

          Your view is irrelevant unless you can make a case for your view.

        • Susan

          if it is your intention to make Jews feel bad

          More bullshit. You are not talking about “Jews”.

          You are talking about a highly specific subset of a group of people you call “Jews” who would be as offended being asked to sit next to me on an airplane as they would be by someone writing out in full any name that might represent that deity that might be sullied if written out in full in a way that it might later be defiled.

          That is not a Jewish problem nor is it my problem. It is their problem.

          They can’t shut you up about Jesus any more than they can tell Myna and me to shut up about Yahweh.

          What are your particular rules of “You should shut up if you don’t want to make people feel bad” and “Jesus is God”?

          Why should those rules apply to respectful discussion?

          When are you going to engage in respectful discussion about your claims?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…and it ticks me off that arseholes insist on indoctrinating children and filling there heads full of religious mince, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

          So here’s the deal, when holy rollers promise to stop fucking up children, we can discuss the etiquette of the Yahweh/Jesus/God words and what simpletons it offends….sound good?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Yonah’s Quote: “Jews often disagree with each other.”

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

        • Myna Alexanderson

          You are full of it. Orthodox rabbis hold that writing on a computer is not a permanent form, therefore, NOT a violation. I thought so, but looked it up just the same.

          I’m starting to suspect you are little more than an attention seeker.

        • Yonah

          I prefer the title: Troll. Perhaps a new prefix should be invented for me:

          Tr. Yonah

        • Myna Alexanderson

          If the shoe fits.

        • Greg G.

          That kind of looks like “Try Onan.”

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Wasn’t Onan killed by Yahweh?

        • Greg G.

          I think Onan came and went at the same time.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          That Yahweh is more sinister than one dare imagine.

        • busterggi

          So he beat it after beating it rather than hanging around hanging out.

        • “… in private,” I hope.

        • Susan

          Tr. Yonah

          Trolls are trolls. It’s not a title. It’s a noun, a designation for people who aren’t interested in supporting their claims but just disrupting the discussion.

          It’s not a worthy pursuit. It’s as cheap and easy as can be.

          So if you’d like to be one, help yourself. In the meantime, the rest of us would like to have a discussion.

        • Susan

          Orthodox rabbis hold that writing on a computer is not a permanent form, therefore, NOT a violation. I thought as much, but looked it up just the same.

          Thanks Myna. I thought the same. The problem with writing Yahweh or God or any name of the deity that emerged from that deity tradition is that someone could deface it later.

          In any case, Yonah chose to ignore honest, sincere, and thoughtful responses from people who have respectfully engaged with him and to find offense rather than make any case for his position.

          I’m starting to suspect you are little more than an attention seeker.

          I think you’ve nailed it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          JHVH-1 hasn’t earned my compassion nor my respect, and neither has any group or individual who insists on attributing the survivals or glories or tribulations of their cultural identity to such a fanciful (largely, if not entirely, imaginary) creature [rather than each other], let alone to the extent that they perpetuate superstitious rules about how such a creature may be referenced.

        • Greg G.

          The prohibition against eating pork may have been the pig’s idea.

        • Yonah

          Amen! I like pigs as critters. There’s a country house I pass where they have a pet pig in the fenced yard that has a big pig house kind of like a dog house. It plays with the family dog and cat and kids. As I’ve posted below, I’m vegan. I don’t eat the critters and I contribute to animal rights groups.

        • busterggi

          Oh, the ham-anity!

        • reverend robbie

          It was a multiple hogicide! The poor things were bacon for their lives, but not even their ribs were spared.

        • adam

          “The job is to inculcate children (and their elders) with the desire to support the power structure of the church”

          ftfy

        • 90Lew90

          This short statement speaks volumes.

        • Yonah

          Thank you very much.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can assure you that his remark was not meant as a compliment.

        • 90Lew90

          Not in a good way.

    • Dys

      So they’re basically just myths used to get a morality lesson across to the listener, on par with Aesop’s fables.

      • Yonah

        The word “myth” in the classical definition of the word denotes a powerful literary device that in my view, in regard to the NT miracles, should not be qualified by “just”. In that Judaism’s core (which Christianity is historically grounded to) is morality, the religious context of the NT miracles is on a much higher plain than Aesop’s fables.

        • Dys

          So they’re fables that are really important to Judaism.

        • Yonah

          With respect to the NT miracle stories, myth and fable are not the same thing. Myth includes the moral content fable denotes, but goes beyond it to explanatory material beyond the moral such as how the narrative applies to not only to the audience’s behavior but being.

        • 90Lew90

          Cough. Yeah. Surrre.

        • Dys

          But the fact that, in all probability, they didn’t actually occur is purely secondary to the morality lesson.

        • Yonah

          In the context of their originating communities, the miracle stories functioned as icons of self-identity to be perpetuated. That their historicity was secondary is not to say that it was excluded from the icon…that aspect would vary from particular story to story and from community to community.

        • adam

          “In the context of their originating communities, the miracle stories functioned as icons of self-identity to be perpetuated.”

          Yes, as PROPAGANDA to the ignorant and impressionable..

        • Dys

          Oh, I’m sure claimed historicity wasn’t excluded, but it’s just that – claimed. The fact remains that they most likely didn’t happen.

        • Yonah

          And, the house is unmoved in response to your claim. (The needle don’t move much in most places.)

        • Dys

          I didn’t expect it to be. The claims of historicity for miracles don’t have anything substantive to back them up, but that’s never stopped religion before, and I wouldn’t expect it to going forward.

        • Yonah

          I agree. Do you think there is a good reason why Jesus in the miracle narratives told people not to tell others? Apparently, miracles are the kind of thing you just have to be there for.

        • Dys

          The most likely scenario, to me, is that the authors put those words in Jesus’s mouth as a means of informing believers in the early Christian cult to not draw attention to themselves in order to avoid persecution. That, or it’s an example of reverse psychology to actually encourage the underground spreading of the myth.

          The alternative leads to a silly conundrum where you have the stories Jesus told people not to spread showing up in the most widely circulated book of all time.

          Either way, the “don’t tell anyone” approach doesn’t help the historicity argument in the slightest.

        • Jesus commanded them to not tell anyone? I guess they didn’t follow his command.

          How compelling is Jesus if something as straightforward as this doesn’t get obeyed? And why would he bother saying it if he knew (knowing everything, as he does) that the order wouldn’t be obeyed?

        • Yonah

          Well, if your assertion would be correct…how embarrassing! One wonders why a gospel author would retain such a nugget which would run counter to the success the movement was having at the writing of the gospel. Imagine the psychological and spiritual plight of the first readers realizing they were reading miracle stories they shouldn’t be reading. It is indeed troubling to think of 1st century Jewish teenagers holed up in their rooms with doors locked reading forbidden material.

        • Susan

          Well, if your assertion would be correct…

          Sorry. What did Bob assert there?

          One wonders why a gospel author would retain such a nugget which would run counter to the success the movement was having at the writing of the gospel.

          Not really. How is it counter? You can claim anything as long as you begin with your conclusion. Humans are swayed by that sort of thing. Care to show your work?

          Imagine the psychological and spiritual plight of the first readers realizing they were reading miracle stories they shouldn’t be reading.

          Meh.

        • If my characterization of the problem isn’t clear, then clarify.

          It sounds like you’re saying that you appreciate the concerns I raise? Are you trying to use the Criterion of Embarrassment somehow?

        • Yonah

          The writers & editors of the gospels were sophisticated authors of intention. On the face of a gospel, one has content and an author which is directed in bolstering faith already held by a current audience highlighting what they have already received from those previous. It is then a curious literary device (read through fundamentalist/atheist eyes) to have a passage which is a tell/don’t tell situation. Either the author is up to something or stupid. The “stupid” card gets thrown out much toward the faith from the outside. Then again, Trumpisms are a dime a dozen.

          In the same way, Jew haters and Christian haters go cherry pickin through the Bible for this or that nasty moral example of the People of God….not considering that the writers, editors, and People of the Book kept it all in there themselves…and there being no dialogue on why that is…text to text or in general.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Ha! Susan wins the insight of the day! And as predicted, you have served it up on a silver platter:

          Quote:
          “1) A diversion to clumsy word salad.
          2) A diversion to twinkle-eyed anecdote.
          3) An accusation that you are a hater.”

        • MNb

          “Susan wins the insight of the day!”
          That’s not exactly the first time. You can safely skip half of my comments, but I recommend strongly reading all of Susan’s.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s not exactly the first time.

          Nope

          You can safely skip half of my comments

          Nope

          I recommend strongly reading all of Susan’s.

          Yip

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Oh, most definitely not the first time. I had wished to acknowledge this one in particular. It was perfection. Most assuredly I agree with Amos above and say yes, absolutely to the recommendation, but will not skip your own. There are some outstanding discussions on this forum.

        • Susan

          I just found this. I get behind with disqus.

          You can safely skip half of my comments

          I hate to miss one of them even when I disagree.

          I recommend strongly reading all of Susan’s

          You made my day MNb but I don’t second your recommendation.

          Many of them are a mess. I would dearly love to delete them. That would be dishonest so I let them stand.

          All I know is that I have had access to expertise and honesty because of the internet. You are one of the providers of that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I get behind on Disqus too,and I’m on the internet for hours most days. You lot do very well with those high maintenance careers youse hold down.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The writers & editors of the gospels were sophisticated authors of intention.

          Without a doubt. The intention is what should be of much consternation to the believer.

          On the face of a gospel, one has content and an author which is directed in bolstering faith already held by a current audience highlighting what they have already received from those previous.

          That’s certainly one thesis. The problem is that it is not the only one. Which gospel are you referring to?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2013/03/hoiw-many-gospels/

          Even the big four had different purposes to one another.

          It is then a curious literary device (read through fundamentalist/atheist eyes) to have a passage which is a tell/don’t tell situation.

          Ya see here ya go again. Ya think ya know something ya don’t. Depending on what the particular purpose a gospel was to perform, depends how one is to discuss. For example, GMark is said to have been written for a secret society akin to a masonic group, so the tell/don’t tell situation is not as curious a literary device in these circumstances.

          http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124572693

          Either the author is up to something or stupid. The “stupid” card gets thrown out much toward the faith from the outside. Then again, Trumpisms are a dime a dozen.

          Or maybe it is you and your ilk that is too stupid to see the purpose of the texts and the Dunning-Kruger effect you suffer from has you blinded.

          In the same way, Jew haters and Christian haters go cherry pickin through the Bible for this or that nasty moral example of the People of God….not considering that the writers, editors, and People of the Book kept it all in there themselves…and there being no dialogue on why that is…text to text or in general.

          You really are developing into quite a cockwomble Yonah. The logic in that comment is just too daft. First, as we are repeatedly being told, relativism is the favourite apologetic of the believer, not that later believers would just love to strip out those embarrassing texts that those arguing the morality of the bible “cherry pick”. Second, once texts are in the public domain, a cover up is a lot harder…hence apologetics. But remember, we know that through Christianity the texts have been tampered with and to what extremes we will never know, so you are talking nonsense again. Just because you know of no dialogue on this subject, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

          Edit to add, your Jew haters and Christian haters comment is showing you up for what you really are, unfortunately.

        • Greg G.

          In the same way, Jew haters and Christian haters go cherry pickin through the Bible for this or that nasty moral example of the People of God….not considering that the writers, editors, and People of the Book kept it all in there themselves…and there being no dialogue on why that is…text to text or in general.

          But how do you know the writer left it in there for a reason and for the reason you imagine it was left in there? You seem to be doing what the inerrantists do to get around contradictions. You make up something and pretend you have found the intent of the author.

        • MNb

          It’s not cherry picking.
          God is perfect – including morally perfect.
          The Bible is inspired by that god and hence represents divine morality.
          The Bible must provide perfect morals.
          Except that it doesn’t.

          That’s a problem for abrahamists (the same applies to the Quran), until you develop a method to separate the trustworthy parts from the untrustworthy ones. I challenged you do so regarding Jesus killing off innocent pigs. You didn’t even begin to try.

          To top it off – almost all atheists rejoice that jews, christians and muslims are so selective about their holy books. Only look at christians who attack abortion clinics, muslims from IS and stone throwing jews in Jerusalem if you want to know what happens if abrahamists take certain passages too seriously.
          What we do is hand over a message to you: why we atheists think the Bible is an unreliable source for morality. That’s not nearly the same as hate. Remarkable that someone who’s so passionate about messages in old stories is incapable of recognizing this simple, straightforward message in our comments.

          Finally thanks for confirming something I have suspected since long: progressive abrahamists like you think as much that they bear the standard for True Judaism/ Christianity/ Islam as the average fundamentalist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well said Sir!

        • Bones

          I actually think most atheists are better Christians than a lot of Christians are……

          But maybe I’m just being your average fundamentalist……

        • And would you call yourself a fundamentalist?

        • Bones

          What do you think?

        • I thought not, though your last comment challenged that.

        • Bones

          Please keep up. I was replying to Mnb who seems to think if you disagree with someone and are an ‘abrahamist’, you’re a fundamentalist.

        • Susan

          progressive abrahamists like you think as much that they bear the standard for True Judaism/ Christianity/ Islam as the average fundamentalist.

          Please keep up, yourself.

          He didn’t say you were a fundamentalist.

          He said you think as much that you bear the standard for True Abrahamic Tradition as a fundamentalist does.

          You dismiss fundamentalists. So do I.

          You take your own claims very seriously. I don’t.

          You seem to be suggesting that your claims are based on something more solid than the claims made by people you call “fundamentalists” in the Abrahamic tradition.

          I’m interested in what anything has to do with any sort of Abrahamic deity tradition.

        • Bones

          Yeah because you know what my claims are…..

          And a lot of what is posted here is pretty silly and downright ignorant…..

          But it has been pretty funny…..

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s defo got a reading comprehension issue.

          He said you think as much that you bear the standard for True Abrahamic Tradition as a fundamentalist does.

          There is definitely a fundamentalist approach to his interpretation of GMark that’s for sure.

        • Bones

          Gee, you’re sounding like a fundamentalist using words like definitely……

          I can’t help it if you’re stuck in some stupid worldview where pigs are more important than military brutality and oppression.

          But that’s the crazy stupid logic of some.

          It wasn’t just Christians cheering on the Iraq War hey Chris Hitchens.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hee hee hee….now this is getting entertaining.

        • Is this like Skull and Bones, where your membership is secret?

          In a blog like this one, one’s worldview becomes part of the conversation.

        • Bones

          Shhhhhh. Do you know the secret handshake?

          You’ve got some funny worldviews on here which are more concerned about non-existent pigs than a brutal repression by a Roman legion on the local populace.

          Must be a Sam Harris thing…..

        • Ignorant Amos

          A Progressive Christian, of sorts, whatever one of those are? A True Christian™ don’t ya know? But not one tied to a denomination, I think. One that cherry-picks the message’s for purpose, while ignoring the less salubrious bit’s.

          At least ya know what yer getting with a fundie, these progressive punters are all over the place. As Susan would say, pinning their world-view down is like trying to nail jello to a wall. Yonah is a progressive that has stated if his progressive views cause his expulsion from his current position, some flavour of Methodist I think, he is going to consider opting for the Eastern Orthodox…now how progressive is that? Trend setting pathfinder for sure.

        • Bones

          Yeah we know you type like the fundies.

          They actually have your same mentality..

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ohhhhppps! Did I hit a raw nerve?

          You are just being a silly pants now…those chinks are appearing bigger in your armour and the rest of us can see it.

        • Gee, I feel clandestine as we discuss Bones’ very, very secret worldview. Fun!

          pinning their world-view down is like trying to nail jello to a wall

          And attacking it is like shooting bullets at a ghost. They’ll gleefully say, “Ya missed me!” as they point out that not all Christians are fundamentalist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not all Christians are Christian it seems too.

          And attacking it is like shooting bullets at a ghost.

          Indeed, but then everyone knows not to use bullets when shooting ghosts, do they not?

          Keys are what ya need…shoot keys at them.

          You should always carry a key. The reason for this is you can get rid of a ghost by throwing this key at them.

          http://seeksghosts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/charms-used-to-ward-off-ghosts.html

          http://www.pixteller.com/pdata/t/l-211852.jpg

        • Good to know about keys being a defense against ghosts. You never know.

          On a complete tangent, that reminds me of a Cajun variant of the Night Before Christmas poem. One line: “Mamma pass the pepper through the crack in the door” (translated from the Cajun) as preparation before going to bed.

          I’ve never lived in Cajun country, but I’ve always assumed it was some superstition to keep out spirits.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya wanna give living in Ireland a shot for a place full of superstition.

        • The only one that comes to mind for me is someone who said that a local landmark (something about a pebble in the devil’s shoe that is now an enormous rock?) was taught in his Irish elementary school as history. But I’m sure there are many more.

        • MNb

          Try to develop some comprehensive reading skills.

        • Bones

          Try to develop some logical arguments that don’t work outside your fanclub.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • MNb

          Yeah, you badly need to develop some comprehensive reading skills indeed. You don’t even understand what you write yourself.

          “Try to develop some logical arguments that don’t work outside your fanclub.”

          Anyhow, I didn’t even vaguely imply that “if you disagree with someone and are an ‘abrahamist’, you’re a fundamentalist.”
          That’s nothing but your overheated imagination. It tells a lot about you and zilch about me.

          I wrote

          God is perfect – including morally perfect.
          The Bible is inspired by that god and hence represents divine morality.

          It’s far from only fundamentalists who see it like this. It’s actually Yonah’s position, who is far from a fundie.

          Hey, but don’t let comprehensive reading skills get in the way of your cozy prejudices regarding atheists.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Bones

          Yeah keep beating that strawman.

          Take that strawman…and that….

          Wow you really showed that strawman…..

          At least you got your name right – ignorant.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Susan

          most atheists are better Christians than a lot of Christians are……

          What does it mean to be a “better christian” and why do you think a lot of christians disagree with you?

          I think atheists make lousy christians. They don’t believe a bit of the supernatural grounding that christians take for granted and are never able to support.

          What you probably mean is that atheists behave more consistently with what you believe to be true about your version of christianity than a lot of christians do.

          That doesn’t make them better christians.

          If I’ve got that wrong, please explain what you meant.

        • Bones

          Being a Christian means diddly squat about believing in the supernatural. Heck, that made them no different to the Jews or Romans.

          At the core of Jesus’s teaching is inclusiveness, compassion and humanity. Sure there are atheists who are pricks but Dr Fred Hollows is a fine example of an atheist living out the Gospel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At the core of Jesus’s teaching is inclusiveness, compassion and humanity.

          Well there are no teachings of Jesus anywhere, that’s part of the problem. That, that there were, things would be a lot less fucked up.

          You have what the author of GMark has written, which you admit is at least post 70 CE, a gospel with no authority. A book of fables and supernatural mumbo-jumbo, maybe, constructed for religio-political purposes, which you also admit.

          What is the “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity” message in your interpretation of the pig parable?

        • Bones

          Someone’s having a sulk because they’ve had their arse kicked over their interpretation of Mark.

          The “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity” involves getting rid of brutal military oppression which incidentally is what the whole Gospel is about. As well as exclusive religious and social practices……

          But hey, let’s not look at that as military oppression is working so well….

          It’s all about the poor piggies…….

          Actually not even fundies are this addled.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Someone’s having a sulk because they’ve had their arse kicked over their interpretation of Mark.

          Ya can’t get yer arse kicked over an interpretation ya Clampitt. Here, let me help….

          The understanding of a theological text depends upon the reader’s particular hermeneutical viewpoint.

          The essential message of deconstructionism and hermeneutics can be variously summed up as nihilism, relativism, and solipsism. That is, either there is no objective truth or, if there is, we can never discover it. With each person being bound to his own subjective views, feelings, history, and so on, there is no method of discovering objective truth.

          You don’t own the correct interpretation ya clown, ya own an interpretation. No sulking on my part either.

          The “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity” involves getting rid of brutal military oppression …

          So ya do that by telling a story that in some way relates to the massacre by the X legionand them getting destroyed…even though they didn’t, and a Palestinian audience would know it’s bollocks, the Romans are all fit and well. Interesting.

          …which incidentally is what the whole Gospel is about.

          So you say, other interpretations may apply.

          As well as exclusive religious and social practices……

          Tell me again how that equates to being “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity”?

          Sounds to me like that Trumpism, fascism, and those other isms you like to bandy about. Which exclusive religious and social practices does the gospel wanna get rid of, just for curiosity sake? Seems the message is the same today as it has always been…prejudice and bigotry.

        • MNb

          The idea is rather that the story mocks Romans and expresses the wish that they leave Judea. Because the Romans are guilty of military oppression.
          To make that clear Romans are compared with something every single reader (even in our days) understands as very negative (calling someone a pig is still not a compliment). So a metaphorical reading implies contempt for pigs, something the animals totally not deserve. From that undeserved contempt it’s just one step to “it’s OK to torture animals for fun”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I sorta get that.

          What I’m struggling with, is what the point would be of telling a local audience in Palestine circa 70 CE, about a parable alluding to an atrocity that happened just a couple of years earlier, and putting the story into the mouth of a person that was put to death some tenty-five years earlier. It doesn’t really make any sense. Even if it was meant to be prophetic. Surely the folk of first century Jerusalem were not that stupid. The X Legion was in Syria 33 CE, so the pig/swine/boar symbol thing is dubious for that reason. Only by retcon can that work.

          I know the resident army unit at my nearest garrison. When I was in the army, the locals knew exactly what unit was in station wherever I served. If my units motif was on the money, I can imagine even more so.

          Wouldn’t there be folk living in 70 CE that would be aware of stuff from 27 years earlier? I would like Bones to explain the thesis on that basis.

          As for the contempt of a particular animal by someone who is supposed to know far better, well that just throw’s petrol on the fire of the silly pants.

        • MNb

          You don’t have to be a fundie – ie take the piggy story literally – to understand what the piggy story means: Jesus thinks it fine to torture animals for fun, ao.
          Granted – no belief in the supernatural necessary. However this part of Jesus’ teachings sucks badly. The “inclusiveness and compassion” does not apply to animals.
          Franciscus of Assisi and Buddha did that better.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bones doesn’t get it, because no real piggies were harmed in the making of this parable.

          He doesn’t get it that it’s the point that an adherent to the faith thought it just fine and dandy to drown 2000 pigs, even metaphorically, to make a point.

          Swap out pigs for kittens, puppy dogs, gays, or heaven forbid…the gingers.

        • adam

          “At the core of Jesus’s teaching is inclusiveness, compassion and humanity.”

          hmmm, not so much….

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was out of his mouth before he thought about it and now he can’t take it back…too funny.

          At the core of Jesus’s teaching is inclusiveness, compassion and humanity….and Hell, let’s not forget Hell?

          https://postedat.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/alone.jpg

        • MNb

          Christians believe in some god.
          Gods are supernatural.
          So being a christian means quite some more than diddly squat about believing in the supernatural. The latter is a necessary condition for the first.
          The second paragraph though is possible without believing in the supernatural – if you consider Jesus a part of our natural reality, ie fully human.

        • Susan

          Being a Christian means diddly squat about believing in the supernatural

          In most cases, it has an awful lot to do with believing in the supernatural. Ask a hundred christians.

          At the core of Jesus’s teaching is inclusiveness, compassion and humanity.

          I’m not sure I agree with that but if you’re saying that what you mean by christianity is nothing but inclusiveness, compassion and humanity, then you’re a rare one. I’m happy to accept that that’s what you mean but then you are throwing out most christian claims when you say it.

          Where do you draw the “fundamentalist” line?

        • Susan

          a fine example of an atheist living out the Gospel.

          The Gospel According to Bones.

          Every christian promotes their own gospel.

          It sounds very much like arguing about how many verbs for “to kill” there are in the Klingon language and their implicit modification (sophisticated nuances).

          “If… then”…

          A worthy pursuit. It’s come in handy many times in human deductive reasoning. Mathematics is an excellent example.

          But you can’t just sneak your “if” in as a fact without demonstrating your “if”.

          If you’re simply arguing for the stories of Jesus as potentially useful narratives that are equal to Navaho narratives, then just say so.

          If you are arguing that your Jesus stories are more “important” than a Navajo narrative (in principle) , then you might be arguing something special, that is, that something is “divine” rather than just ongoing human narrative taking place.

          How could we know? You are implying there is something special about a Jesus narrative but you haven’t made yourself clear.

          Efforts to get you to do so have been met with accusations of fundamentalism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It seems Bones is an atheist in everything but name.

        • Bones

          “The Bible is inspired by that god and hence represents divine morality.

          The Bible must provide perfect morals.””

          I’m surprised you can’t see the flaw in your own logic.

          eg the assumption that the Bible is inspired by God.

          No, it wasn’t…………

          And no, the laws of ancient Bronze Age tribes (which were really ancient priestly codes) have nothing to do with anything……

        • What do you think of John Dominic Crossan? It sounds like your liberal view matches his to a large extent.

        • Yonah

          Crossan and his late friend Marcus Borg have had a large impact in mainline theological circles since I was in seminary. In biblical studies, I run a little to the right of them and a little to the left of N T Wright. I am on board with what Crossan is trying to achieve sociologically and politically with his methodology. I have personally disagreed with Borg on theological positions where he goes so far left, there’s no chance for moderates to attach to his position…and thus, they are more vulnerable to being drawn to the fundamentalist nut world…which I put up with everyday in the United Methodist Church….too big a tent…has everything from Crossan on one end to snake handling on the other.

        • Reading Crossan and other liberal thinkers like Karen Armstrong, I’m amazed and baffled by their Christianity. They explain everything away with natural explanations, just like me (if I were that educated).

        • Yonah

          Yes, I think they see themselves as the last chance to keep folks who are heading for your camp not to go that far and remain just within the Judeo-Christian outer frontier line. A line is then just a line I suppose. But, I think it makes a difference in terms of progressive Judaism and Christianity hoping to make an impact on the greater culture in terms of having the ability to call on the better angels of the over all tradition (abolition/civil rights etc).

          The people I’ve been influenced by are working the other end of the problem…the question: can the center-right be kept from going full tilt fundamentalist/fascist/Trump by calling on the better angels of previously existing middle ground Judeo-Christian positions?

        • Susan

          Yes, I think they see themselves as the last chance to keep folks who are heading for your camp not to go that far and remain just within the Judeo-Christian outer frontier line.

          The barbed wire at the perimeter of the compound.

          What’s with the compound? What’s your problem with people leaving it?

          “Judeo-christian” can mean lots of things but never seems to mean anything.

          Garbling for paragraphs doesn’t make it mean something.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Going by Yonah’s commenting history here, he doesn’t fulfil any criteria of “Progressive Christian” I’ve read so far.

          One element being his aspirations to join the “Eastern Orthodox Church” as being a shining example of such.

        • Susan

          can the center-right be kept from going full tilt fundamentalist/fascist/Trump by calling on the better angels of previously existing middle ground Judeo-Christian positions?

          The problem is when people just assume their premises and proceed from there.

          That can lead to any conclusion.

          What are “the better angels of previously existing middle ground Judeo-Christian positions” and what do they necessarily have to do with any supernatural claim from any Jew or any christian?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not the founding fathers era that’s for sure…perhaps McCarthy-ism and after?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What absolute bullshit are you spewing now ffs?

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but reading about miracles in the first century was par for the course. The Hebrew scriptures are full of them. Extra Biblical Miracle yarns were everywhere a 1st century Jewish teenager looked. It wasn’t as if they hiding in the loft scanning a stashed porn mag colection. The Gospel writers were doing what was common, making up fanciful stories later to be called miracles, which embellished the central character of their tales. This is well established in scholarship.

          What makes you think something like the Resurrection was a real miraculous event set in Jerusalem on the Palestinian Levant, and not a literary device for purpose?

        • Susan

          How compelling is Jesus if something as straightforward as this doesn’t get obeyed? And why would he bother saying it if he knew (knowing everything, as he does) that the order wouldn’t be obeyed?

          Perfectly reasonable questions. Yonah’s O-fer so far on perfectly reasonable questions.

          I predict, rather than a respectful response we will be given one of or, more likely, some combination of these responses:

          1) A diversion to clumsy word salad.
          2) A diversion to twinkle-eyed anecdote.
          3) An accusation that you are a hater.

          =====

          EDIT: That’s the sophisticated “existential” thingy with the nuancey thingies that Yonah promised a week or so ago.

          I’ve seen the show before. We all have.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are talking about the healing of the leper in Mark?

          You are not being accurate though. Mark 1: 43-44…

          43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

          …see, the passage says something entirely different when read with context.

          But I’m curious as to why this story is any less made up than the 2000 pig’s tale.

        • Bones

          From Myers, Binding The Strongman, p153, 154

          The cleansed leper’s task is not to publicize a miracle but to help confront an ideological system: the change in object (from “priest” to “them”) suggests a protest against the entire purity apparatus, which the priests control. He is to make the offering for the purpose of “witnessing against them” (eis marturion autois) . This is a technical phrase in the Gospel for testimony before hostile audiences (6:11; 13:9).

          Jesus’ anger, then, is directed against the symbolic order of purity of which this man is a victim . The system subjects the physically ailing to a double oppression: not only are they second-class citizens in Israel, but they must make special payment as well. It further promises that Yahweh will appear as a ” witness” (LXX, martus) against those who use the cultic apparatus to oppress the poor and marginal (Mal 3:5). In this story, both cleansing and judgment have drawn nigh.

          Yet Jesus’ strategy backfires: the man aborts his mission, goes public, and Jesus is forced to go into hiding (I:45). Again, most commentators have wrongly attributed Jesus’ retreat here to a desire to contain his popularity.

          Malina is correct in insisting upon the opposite: Jesus is now a marked man, considered unclean in the city due to his contact with the leper (I98I : I22). This first symbolic action of healing thus sets the tone for Jesus’ campaign: liberation provokes conflict.

          Edit: Once again a Roman audience just wouldn’t get that……

        • Ignorant Amos

          So this isn’t a parable then. This is a real historical event ya think? Otherwise why…

          Yet Jesus’ strategy backfires: the man aborts his mission, goes public, and Jesus is forced to go into hiding (I:45).

          ….

          Again, most commentators have wrongly attributed Jesus’ retreat here to a desire to contain his popularity.

          So many commentators getting stuff wrong…even when no one knows what is right.

          Or it could also be….

          Bowman (p. 113) has suggested, with some plausibility, that the cleansing of this leper, placed thus early in Mark’s story, is meant to recall the credential miracle vouchsafed by God to Moses, whereby he could turn his hand leprous white (Exodus 4:6-7). Jesus himself cannot manifest leprosy, even momentarily, perhaps, because he must remain the spotless lamb of God without blemish.

          You don’t own interpretation, nor does yer man Meyers, who you carry a hardon for by all accounts.

        • Bones

          Look I know you’re embarrassed by your fundamentalist interpretations but the fact is the leper was unclean and Jesus told him to go show himself to the priests to piss them off. It’s showing that their purity rules were bs.

          I mean we do know how the story goes right?

          What is it with you and your hard on for Homer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Look I know you’re embarrassed by your fundamentalist interpretations…

          I’m not embarrassed because I’m not the one that is being the fundamentalist here. Read my comment again. Here’s the give away… “Or it could also be….”, which means alternatively. We must both have a different definition of “fundamentalist”, I’m using it as intolerance of other views. Now who is being fundamentalist again?

          …but the fact is the leper was unclean and Jesus told him to go show himself to the priests to piss them off. It’s showing that their purity rules were bs.

          Yes, but you didn’t answer my question. Is it a yarn or did it really happen?

          I mean we do know how the story goes right?

          Yeah, so what’s the message of “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity” in this one? Where is that respect for the others tradition you were giving off about earlier iirc? Why doesn’t the story go along the lines of, “Jesus healed the leper, good lad that he is, the end”, if the message is all about “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity”? Why send the leper to thumb the nose at the priests to piss them off because their purity rules are bs?

          Good old Jesus with his “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity”…NOT!

          Your self righteousness is starting falter Bones.

        • Bones

          “Now who is being fundamentalist again?”

          I’d say the one who’s been pretty pissed off that I posted a different interpretation and has been ranting about it since.

          “Yes, but you didn’t answer my question. Is it a yarn or did it really happen?”

          Irrelevant. It’s about Mark confronting religious holiness codes. That’s what the message to the readers was.

          “Why send the leper to thumb the nose at the priests to piss them off because their purity rules are bs?”

          Oh dear….Because they were treated as the unclean….. the untouchables……second class citizens……

          Even a basic understanding of Jewish history would tell you that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’d say the one who’s been pretty pissed off that I posted a different interpretation and has been ranting about it since.

          Not me. I’m just pointing out that it is an interpretation. I’m even happy enough for it to be the correct interpretation…but it isn’t THEE interpretation. I just said good luck proving the bollocks, which you have failed to do so far.

          I was more concerned with your fundamentalist approach to redefining the word herd in the parable when you stated that pigs don’t…or some such nonsense. I’m happy enough that I’ve showed that position you hold as ludicrous. You are the one turning silly pants now.

          Irrelevant. It’s about Mark confronting religious holiness codes.

          Of course it’s not irrelevant ya cretin. If it was just a made up story about challenging daft religious codes, then the going into hiding bit is even more bollocks.

          That’s what the message to the readers was.

          Whaaaa? But what about…

          Matt. 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

          All very confusing…especially as you have already declared…“Mark was always the embarrassment compared to his bigger brothers and John hence why it was placed second.”

          But still, how does the message fit in with good old Jesus with his “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity”…doesn’t sound very inclusive to me. No need to send the leper to gloat and besmirch the customs of others, which were also the same customs of the audience btw. Ya see, this is where the rubbish falls foul and fails. A Jesus that can cure leprosy doesn’t need such theatrics. Btw, the message failed miserably.

          Oh dear….Because they were treated as the unclean….. the untouchables……second class citizens……

          Try reading the question again, this doesn’t answer it.

          Here, a will try again…”Why send the leper to thumb the nose at the priests to piss them off because their purity rules are bs?” How does that fit with the message of good old Jesus with his “inclusiveness, compassion and humanity”…doesn’t sound very inclusive to me. We got told off for not respecting the Yahweh/Jesus/God nonsense. Explain the message in this story and how it worked out?

          Clearly the leper was no longer an unclean, an untouchable, a second class citizen after being cured.

          Even a basic understanding of Jewish history would tell you that.

          You are too much Bones.

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XltWe4PZLN4/Td7A3YKsjlI/AAAAAAAALGk/JnDPKzu4eF8/s1600/tmp.jpg

        • MNb

          Yeah.
          And a basic understanding of both jewish and christian history teaches us that abrahamists always have felt contempt for pigs – totally unjustified. Exactly that is reflected in the piggy story; or it wouldn’t make any sense to compare them with Romans.
          So you not only lack comprehensive reading skills, you also lack basic understanding of jewish history.
          Thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What is it with you and your hard on for Homer.

          Where have I mentioned Homer?

          Ya need ta get a grip of that reading comprehension and comms skills thingy that you are toiling with.

        • Greg G.

          I mentioned Homer at one point. He can’t tell us a part.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I know ya did….our sobriquet’s and avatar’s are so similar, not…maybe it’s a webbed digit issue, but I think it’s more of a compliment to me than yerself…the confusion a mean. So am happy enough.

        • Greg G.

          That’s high praise for someone who just typed “a part” when he meant “apart”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well we all make the odd typo.

        • Susan

          the fact is the leper was unclean and Jesus told him to go show himself to the priests to piss them off. It’s showing that their purity rules were bs.

          I’m honestly trying to figure this part out from your perspective.

          I expect to be met with a snarky answer but it’s an honest question.

          Are you suggesting that Jesus didn’t (literally) heal the leper but (literally) had the leper parade the leper’s self in front of the Pharisees with all the leprosy intact?

          That that’s what that bit was about?

          I’m not insisting that would be completely out of the question but I’m not even sure that’s what you’re saying.

          What are you saying?

        • Greg G.

          Edit: Once again a Roman audience just wouldn’t get that……

          There are other options such as that the literate Romans may have gotten it, or the story is not what you think it means.

          Most of Mark has people doing the opposite of what Jesus says. The disciples are portrayed as not too bright. They are as surprised at the Feeding of the 4000 as they were at the Feeding of the 5000.

        • Bones

          Rubbish.

          If you know anything about Jewish purity codes it is that lepers were unclean and untouchable. Mark clearly targets Jewish social attitudes which I’m sure he wrote to his supposed Roman audience as a titbit of interesting information.

        • Greg G.

          Mark’s Jesus parrots Paul and his attitudes against the Jewish law.

        • Bones

          Wow that was convincing…..

          Mark is far more political than the ambivalent Paul who tells Christians not to resist authority….Mark’s whole gospel is about resistance to oppressive authority…..

          What makes more sense? Mark wrote to Roman audiences including Jewish local practices as some trivial titbits of interest or Mark was actually writing to people living in the Palestinian community who lived among these practices which were oppressive and highly exclusive and among a brutal occupation?

          That’s a hard one.

          Have ya found the Tenth Legion Fretensis at Gadara before 70CE yet?

          http://www.livius.org/articles/legion/legio-x-fretensis/

          Oh and…..

          “Josephus records how the Romans massacred many Jewish rebels in Gadara, the very place of the Legion miracle, in AD69: “Vespasian sent Placidus with 500 horse and 3000 foot to pursue those who had fled from Gadara… Placidus, relying on his cavalry and emboldened by his previous success, pursued the Gadarenes, killing all whom he overtook, as far as the Jordan. Having driven the whole multitude up to the river, where they were blocked by the stream, which being swollen by the rain was unfordable, he drew up his troops in line opposite them. Necessity goaded them to battle, flight being impossible… Fifteen thousand perished by the enemy’s hands, while the number of those who were driven to fling themselves into the Jordan was incalculable; about two thousand two hundred were captured…” (Wars of the Jews, Book 4, Chapter 7)”

          Surely that’s just a coincidence……………….

        • Greg G.

          Mark is far more political than the ambivalent Paul who tells Christians not to resist authority….Mark’s whole gospel is about resistance to oppressive authority…..

          Have you not read Galatians? Paul is up in arms with human authority in the first verse and in Galatians 1:11-12. The human authority he is against is the Jerusalem Christians he calls the “Circumcision Faction”. He shows disdain for the leaders in Galatians 2:6 and says God agrees with him, then identifies them 3 verses later as James, John, and Cephas. In 1 Corinthians 9:8, he displays more disdain for the same human authority. He seems to call anybody who claims human authority a “brother of the Lord” as in 1 Corinthians 9:5 and Galatians 1:18-19.

          Mark just turns Paul’s arguments against the circumcisers into arguments between Jesus and the Jews.

          Yes, I was away from my computer yesterday but have been looking for your posts this evening. I concede that the X Fretensis was in Judaea before 70 AD.

          If Mark got the information you quote from Josephus, then it would have been too late to be warning Christians to not join the resistance. But that 2200 reference does seem like a coincidence. There were an unestimated number of non-Romans who were forced to fling themselves in the Jordan. The 2200 were not Romans with boars on their shields and they did not fling themselves into the sea. Furthermore, Mark wrote about the land of the Gerasenes, a day or two of travel time away from the Jordan, while Matthew made it the Gadarenes.

          In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus praises a poor widow who gives two lepta, which are small Palestine coins, and gives the value in relation to a Roman quadrans coin. If Mark was writing for those in Palestine, they would know what a lepton was but his explanation wouldn’t help them at all. If he was writing to a Roman audience, the explanation would be necessary.

        • Pofarmer

          The best reason that Jesus told those he performed miracles on not to tell others? The author needed a plausible explanation why the reader hadn’t heard about any of this stuff before. Same as the original ending in Mark. “And they ran away and told no one.” “Oh, o.k., that explains why I never heard of it before.” It’s not necessary to devise complex theological reasons when simple logical ones will suffice.

        • The distinction between the Bible as a book for the ages (which is how I usually see it) vs. the Bible as important information for the people living right then (like Daniel written by people who think the End is just a few years off) is interesting.

        • Greg G.

          Another example is when Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 where he talks about the coming of the Lord and he referred to “that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord” while 2 Peter 3:15-16 likens his writings to scripture.

          Edit: added a longer quote of 1 Thess 4:15.

        • Greg G.

          Mark has Jesus tell his healees to not tell about it but they always do. In John, Jesus does miracles as signs. Matthew sometimes has Jesus doing things to fulfill some imagined prophecy.

          In Mark 1:40-45 and Matthew 8:2-4, a leper comes to Jesus and begs to be healed. Jesus does and tells him to tell nobody. Mark tells us that the ex-leper then went out and blabbed to everybody, which led to people following Jesus. Maybe he put it on Ἐνώπια-βιβλιοφόριον (Greek for “FaceBook”, roughly), and everybody friended Jesus.

          In Matthew 8:1, multitudes were following Jesus before he healed the leper. It seems he performed the healing in front of the multitudes, so Jesus telling the leper to not tell is rather pointless. Matthew seems to have lost focus while copying Mark within his own alterations of the story.

          So the question is why an individual author used that literary device (and that some slavishly copied it with no intent behind it), rather than drawing a sweeping conclusion from it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When one is feeding groups of folk in the numbers of four and five thousand respectively, from what would be the modern day equivalence to a KFC family bucket….but it is on the hush-hush… problems are bound to arise.

          Furthermore, when changing water into wine at a wedding where all the guests are not bound to be followers, the yarn will fly. Yet it didn’t.

          Taking these folk seriously, even though they think that by talking in a convoluted manner, or word salad, makes the nonsense less so, is a major chore.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bd5044c1210ef878ed6029d5be47ffe634d0ed8d7784e205b4a5eaeae72b1136.jpg

          I didn’t know if anyone had put this image up before, but it reminded me of Jesus and Facebook and Friending and all that good jazz.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Judas gets too much bad press. He is one of the most pivitol characters to the Gospel yarn. Without Judas the whole edifice is a none story.

          Erhman’s book on the Gospel of Judas expounds on just that issue.

          No Judas, no Christianity…. He is a major part of the story plot.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          That he do and I just read something on that very theme when looking up something in R.J. Zwi Werblowsky’s, “Lucifer and Prometheus”. The source wasn’t in that work, but I can’t remember off-hand where it was. I just recall reading it around the same time. It wasn’t Erhman, though.

          The image I placed up was just a play on Greg G.’s Jesus and Facebook.

        • Greg G.

          MarkZuckerberg 14:30
          Jesus said to Peter, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will Unfriend me three times.”

        • Myna Alexanderson

          They didn’t have a Jesus on Facebook for Peter’s Unfriending spree. 🙁

        • Myna Alexanderson
        • Greg G.

          I like that this one has the Apple logo with the bite taken out of it.

        • Bones

          If you were really interested try googling Messianic Secret.

        • Greg G.

          I have. I tend to agree with the last explanation (Dennis MacDonald’s explanation) on the Wikipedia article that it is more likely that the story follows the Odyssey where Odysseus was trying to conceal his identity as he approached his home.

        • Bones

          I think it’s more to do with the fact that people were actually out to kill Jesus……..

          Like what happened at the end…….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like what happened at the end…….

          But how do you know?

        • Jack Baynes

          Must be why Jesus told his followers they would be able to perform the same kind of miracles. Too bad that didn’t work out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Too bad that didn’t work out.

          Ah ha…but that all depends on what is one defines as a miracle, and what numb-nuts ya ask that claims one has been performed.

          https://keltonburgpreacher.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/can-people-perform-miracles-from-god-today/

          Of course it’s a very hit and miss affair….ask an Appalachian snake handler.

        • Greg G.

          ask an Appalachian snake handler.

          They stick to their story even after watching a loved one die after refusing to go to the hospital for treatment.

        • Jack Baynes

          Well, Jesus didn’t say it would work EVERY time.

        • Greg G.

          Mysterious ways and God’s plan and all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          With a dodgy pair of god shaped spectacles and the proper squinting technique, everything can be defined a miracle.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hee Hee, even the Jesus of the stories didn’t say it would work any of the time. The fools are too dense to even grant the concept that it was a scribe’s embellishment to jazz up the sorry ending of GMark. Apparently over 92 “pastors” have jossed it because of this bug nutty bat shit crazy tradition.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno…my point exactly…because it’s a miracle either way.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/17/snake-handling-phenomenon/5571403/

          These are not irrational people according to a professor who researched the phenomena…yeah, right on.

        • Well, yeah. If not a snake then a car crash or falling rock. It was just his time.

          That, or his faith was weak.

        • Greg G.

          God needed another angel… for some reason.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Do you think there is a good reason why Jesus in the miracle narratives told people not to tell others?

          No, but I think there’s a good reason the writers put it in there: to explain why nobody had heard about this stuff.

        • Dys

          Of course, it really says something that the miracles Jesus said “shhh, don’t tell anyone about this” wind up being printed and widely distributed in the Bible.

          It make sense from a literary perspective, but it doesn’t do squat for historicity.

        • Yonah

          I think the good thing about this discussion is that people are starting to think about the authors of the gospels as primary originators of textual meaning. With respect to the 4 gospels, each came out of a different community with differing issues and agendas, and the final products contain a lot of stages of working on those local matters.

        • Susan

          With respect to the 4 gospels, each came out of a different community with differing issues and agendas, and the final products contain a lot of stages of working on those local matters.

          Yep. Very, very human.

          What do you mean when you say “primary originators of textual meaning”?

          When I ask you what you mean, please don’t respond with a vaguer answer in more words.

          Why is your Jesus more important than Pandora or Theseus or Jean-Luc Picard?

          I get the distinct impression you think your Jesus is real but you know you can’t support it.

          So, you don’t address it.

          And by “real” I don’t mean Superman real. Or any of the above named characters real.

        • Yonah

          In regard to primary originators, I suppose it goes back to Bultmann who separated the historical Jesus from the proclamation (kerygma) of the Christ of faith. Bultmann’s view was that the gospels primarily contained a kerygmatic presentation of the Christ of faith, and that discerning the historical Jesus was largely doubtful. Since Bultmann, historical Jesus biblical scholarship has pushed on the question of whether Bultmann was correct or too pessimistic. The Jesus Seminar basically actually took up the project to try to see if there was any scholarly consensus, text to text, as to what could be discerned as actual historical Jesus material, and what was not. I think it is fair to say that modern scholarship has made progress toward some general consensus of what is historical and what’s not. The percentage of the historical is lower, but I think not as low as Bultmann asserted. In general the greater non-historical content is seen as very valuable and primary representations of various camps of early Christianity…which impacted later Christian strains.

          With respect to Jesus being real. Yes, I say he is real. On support, I go with the Eastern Orthodox tradition which refuses to enter the western tradition of intellectual claim/support paradigm. If I get bounced out of the United Methodist Church, I’m betting I end up somewhere in the East. As the Orthodox will point out, it was the Roman Catholics in the west which began the whole western Christian attempt to argue for God/Jesus within the logical systems of western thought…I suppose this started in real earnest in the high middle ages. The Orthodox never jumped on board. Rather like Jews and other Middle Eastern religions, the acceptance of converts did not happen very much through theological presentations/exchanges/arugment etc., but relationships wherein people were treated well and that in turn might cause them to look into the community that treated them well. So, the Orthodoxs’ main evangelical saying is “Come and see”.

        • Susan

          With respect to Jesus being real. Yes, I say he is real. On support, I go with the Eastern Orthodox tradition which refuses to enter the western tradition of intellectual claim/support paradigm

          So, no support.

          As the Orthodox will point out, it was the Roman Catholics in the west which began the whole western Christian attempt to argue for God/Jesus within the logical systems of western thought…I suppose this started in real earnest in the high middle ages. The Orthodox never jumped on board. Rather like Jews and other Middle Eastern religions, the acceptance of converts did not happen very much through theological presentations/exchanges/arugment etc., but relationships wherein people were treated well and that in turn might cause them to look into the community that treated them well. So, the Orthodoxs’ main evangelical saying is “Come and see”.

          So, ultimate claims without support.

          Maybe you were gleaning and missed my request when I went to the trouble of typing out:

          When I ask you what you mean, please don’t respond with a vaguer answer in more words.

        • MNb

          He’s not vague. He simply neglects your request. It seems to be his favourite tactic – when confronted with an inconvenient question, shift the goalposts.

        • MNb

          So much wishful thinking …..

          “acceptance of converts did not happen very much through theological presentations/exchanges/argument etc.”
          That didn’t happen in the west either, of course. Unlike you think chopping off 3000 Saxon heads, like Charlemagne did, a theological presentation etc. And sacrilege, like missionary Bonifatius was so fond of until he received the death penalty for it (which made him a saint).

          “the Orthodoxs’ main evangelical saying is “Come and see”.
          Now only if they would put that in practice. Ask the members of Pussy Riot. Also ask Viktor Krasnov.

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/03/russian-atheist-faces-year-in-jail-for-denying-existence-of-god-during-webchat

          Since christianity became state religion imposing it with violent means has been the norm. One other thing I always found remarkable how nice, progressive christians like you refuse to face this problem. Armstrong is another example, even if she has written an excellent book on the origin of fundamentalism.
          It’s rather “Come and see and if you refuse we will force you.”

        • Bones

          Huh?

          Can you tell me of a progressive Christian who wants to impose a state religion?

          That’s quite a bizarre comment……

          Many of us don’t even belong to a church.

        • adam

          “With respect to the 4 gospels, each came out of a different community
          with differing issues and agendas, and the final products contain a lot
          of stages of working on those local matters.”

          You mean each one contained a PLAY that had been molded to the target audience.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but what about all those Christian texts that were being used all over the place that never made the cut?

          You want to focus on just the four books. There were way plenty more than just the books that made the NT canon. As inconvenient as they all are, they were used as religiously as those that are the NT today.

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

        • Bones

          And……..

          What about them???????????

          You can read them all here.

          http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

          They contain some interesting ideas and show that Early Christians had different viewpoints…..like we didn’t know that….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, but ya can’t read the lost one’s there can ya? Because, well, they are lost.

        • what about all those Christian texts that were being used all over the place that never made the cut?

          You have New Testament support for that. Luke begins by referring to those texts: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, yes…the missing sources that no one thought worthy of preservation for some unknown reason. A wonder why that was…something needing buried perchance?

        • adam

          “Apparently, miracles are magic is the kind of thing you just have to be there for.”

          FTFY

          Jesus was obviously a magician, doing the magic of his time, like others.

          the CLAIM of miracles is to con people.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus was obviously a magician, doing the magic of his time, like others.

          Or a story about a magician, like Merlin, or Gandalf, or the Wizard of Oz, or Harry Potter…..or even Sherlock Holmes for that matter.

          Except Jesus wasn’t even all that good a magic man, heck, by today’s standards he was very poor. A watched Penn & Gillette last night, now there’s a couple of magicians…for real.

        • Greg G.

          Did Penn turn Teller into Gillette? That must have been awesome!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha ha…well he didn’t need to do much turning…funny how yer thinking something, but type something else? Sure a will just leave it up and give folk a giggle.

        • al kimeea

          And that is the sound of a mind slamming shut…

        • You’ve got fundamental stories of how reality works and their historicity is secondary? I have zero use for such a story. If you say it’s important or life shaping to you, fine. But this underscores the difference between us (and perhaps people who think in our different ways).

        • Yonah

          I agree.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Quote: “Myth includes the moral content fable denotes, but goes beyond it to explanatory material beyond the moral such as how the narrative applies to not only to the audience’s behavior but being.”

          This then explains the blood lust of the Christian theocracy for 1800 years. The narrative applied to both behavior and being. For every aggression, there was a narrative to support the behavior, thus the being. The Abrahamic deity, in whatever guise, is aggressive, demanding submission for its own purpose, politically and spiritually. It cannot do this itself, so it depends on human aggression and fear of death to perform those acts.

          One could argue that Buddhism views the dilemma more clearly in practical terms. One can reject that which is unwholesome without attributing its virtue to an outside agency. If Jesus had been left as a mere man, he would, perhaps, like Siddhartha, been more persuasive in the cause of peace and good will.

        • Yonah

          Misapplication in later stages does not erase the original authentic application nor those who still bear its tradition even as the misapplications also continue. You should be selective in your hate-speech.

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t it the inability to separate the myth from historical reality the problem that arises? If Jesus is all-wise and says that it is not what goes into a person that defiles, then snake-handling and poison-drinking follow. If the text is a message from God and it says “Thou shalt no suffer a witch to live” without specific instructions in how to distinguish a witch from a harmless old lady, you should expect collateral damage.

          The problem is not misapplication of the message. The problem is the message.

        • Bones

          Where does Jesus drink poison and handle snakes?

          I don’t know what Yonah thinks of the Old Testament Laws like women on their period are unclean but to me, and I think even modern Israel, they aren’t divine but ancient tribal laws and priestly codes written into Israel’s narrative.

          The question is though: What is the message?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Where does Jesus drink poison and handle snakes?

          Straw man tactics now is it? Who said Jesus drank poison or handled snakes?

          The longer added ending to Mark.

          And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

          He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

          Pretty clear instructions there from the resurrected Jesus fella. And there are gulible fools that follow the nonsense.

        • Bones

          “Straw man tactics now is it?”

          Unless replying to your actual comment is a straw man. “If Jesus is all-wise and says that it is not what goes into a person that defiles, then snake-handling and poison-drinking follow.”

          Maybe you should work on your communication skills.

          Ah, you’ve dishonestly added the longer ending of Mark, surprise, surprise……

          Well not really.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So where did Greg mention Jesus as having handled snakes or drank poison? It is you that seems to be struggling with the reading comprehension thingy.

          Ah, you’ve dishonestly added the longer ending of Mark, surprise, surprise……

          Holy fuck…what passage do you think the snake handling and poison drinking conversation is all about? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and put it down to a wee unthinking moment.

          BTW, it was a dishonest Christian that added the longer ending, and lots of other dishonest Christians perpetuated it…surprise, surprise…no, not really…lying for Jesus is all the rage and it’s a trend that extends back to the beginning of the cult.

        • Bones

          “BTW, it was a dishonest Christian that added the longer ending”

          No shit. Mark was always the embarrassment compared to his bigger brothers and John hence why it was placed second.

          Fact is we now know it was the original.

          You obviously need to get out more….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that…But, where did Greg mention Jesus as having handled snakes or drank poison?

          Again, you still seem to be struggling with the reading comprehension thingy.

        • Fact is we now know it was the original.

          You’re not saying that the long ending of Mark was original, are you?

          The larger issue is a difficult one for apologists. Let’s say that NT scholars have figured out which of the five or so variant endings of Mark is the most authentic. And, for the sake of argument, I’m happy to grant that all instances of two or more variants have been resolved so that we have the most authentic version.

          Where does that leave us? What about the unknown number of instances in our Bible where there was a variant but for which we have no extant manuscripts?? Scholars don’t even know where the problems are, let alone what the original said.

        • Greg G.

          Fact is we now know it was the original.

          You do not know that.

          The early church fathers read Papias who said there was something by Matthew that was in Aramaic or Hebrew that they couldn’t read very well and something by Mark. They had what we call Matthew and thought Mark was an abridgement of what they thought was a translation of the Matthew that Papias had trouble reading, so they put Matthew first and Mark second. Since it is clear that Matthew was based largely on Mark, and was written in Koine Greek originally, it cannot be the Matthew that Papias had. Luke was third because it was similar to the first two.

        • Bones

          Um there isn’t a single serious Bible scholar who doesn’t place Mark as the first Gospel written. One third of it appears word for word in Luke and much of it in Matthew. The idea that Mark would ‘ leave out’ trivial occurrences such as the Virgin Birth and resurrection are fanciful indeed.

          Actually the church fathers were all over the place according to their arrangement of the Gospels.. Irenaeus couldn’t even agree with himself.

          There are actually books written about this specifically why the church fathers in the 2nd-3rd century saw Mark in a negative light.

          Eg Michael Kok, “The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century”

          https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/michael-kok-the-gospel-on-the-margins-the-reception-of-mark-in-the-second-century/

        • Greg G.

          Um there isn’t a single serious Bible scholar who doesn’t place Mark as the first Gospel written. 

          So what? That is not what the serious second century Bible scholars who established the order of the gospels thought.

          Both Luke and John followed Mark 6 closely. Then both jump to Mark 8. Luke does it in mid-sentence. The early Christians must have not liked Mark 7 in particular.

        • Greg G.

          You are quoting me there, not IA.

          The first clause has a conjunctive verb phrase with “is all-wise” and “says that it is not what goes into a person that defiles”. The second clause says “snake-handling and poison-drinking follow”. The sentence does not say that Jesus said or did that. It was derived it and added in or after the fourth century.

          Maybe you should work on your communication skills.

          I think the problem is at the other end.

          Ah, you’ve dishonestly added the longer ending of Mark, surprise, surprise……

          Well not really.

          I don’t think Jesus said a damn thing but it is something the Jesus character says in the text we have received.

        • buttle

          “It was derived it and added in or after the fourth century.”

          Actually it was probably added in the middle of the second century, maybe in the process of making Mark part of the early canon: Diatessaron preserves that ending. Over 200 years before anyone felt the need to “complete” Mark is too long a time i think. Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus don’t have it, but it is clear that it was already circulating before them: Vaticanus has a strange void after 16:8 unlike the other gospels, while it looks like the folia containing the end of Mark in Sinaiticus was replaced, and the spacing of the letters is different from the rest. Those looks like the result of fighting over the correct version of the text, and there are other instances of it in the margin notes of those books: so even back then there were the equivalent of KJV-inerrantists, but this requires the forgery to be ancient, or they wouln’t care so much. Eusebius says that the older texts he had available missed it, but it was surely present in other texts long before the 4th century, or he would recognize it as a recent forgery.

        • Greg G.

          I tried to edit that sentence before I posted but I still didn’t get it to say what I meant. 80) I should have gone with “settled upon in or after the 4th” or something like that.

          They were uncomfortable with the abrupt ending but I think ending it with a pregnant pause was genius.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The question is though: What is the message?

          Good question, well presented, it appears that nobody knows…so everyone makes up their own message. Pretty poor comm skills for a universe creating super mind, imho. No?

        • Bones

          Like I said, God didn’t write it.

          Even the 4 Gospels have 4 different messages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not God’s message and everyone can take it or leave it as is their wish? Good stuff.

          No made-up gods required. Brilliant.

          So, “what is the message?” is just another daft question then?

        • Greg G.

          Where does Jesus drink poison and handle snakes?

          Mark 16:15-18, Jesus says “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name… they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them.”

          There are cults that practice those things, and the other things listed in the passage. Of course, the poisons they drink are ones that a person can build up an immunity to (strychnine) but not poisons that accumulate in the body because the body cannot eliminate them (arsenic).

          We all know that the original author of Mark didn’t write that part. The drinking poison part would be derived from Mark 7:15 (Matthew 15:11, also). Mark 7:1-23 is mainly based on the argument between Paul and Peter in Galatians 2 where Jesus takes Paul’s side and the scribes play Peter’s role. Romans 14:14 may have influenced verse 15.

          The immunity from snakebites comes from Luke 10:19. The Central Section of Luke covers Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and follows Deuteronomy, according to C.F. Evans, “The Central Section of St. Luke’s Gospel.” In D.E. Nineham (ed.), Studies in the Gospels: Essays in Memory of R.H. Lightfoot. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1967, pp. 37-53. Deuteronomy begins by recalling the events at Horeb which are chronicled in Numbers and Numbers 21:4-9 has a snakebite remedy where looking at a bronze snake on a stick provides a cure.

          Yonah is a more sophisticated Christian. He doesn’t read the text like an inerrantist but it seems to me that he reads the subtext of the Bible the way an inerrantist reads the text. If there is an apparent contradiction, the inerrantist will imagine some story that reconciles the issue and that becomes their belief. Yonah looks beyond the text for the subtext and he imagines a story that becomes the subtext, and that imagined subtext becomes the message.

        • busterggi

          “Yonah is a more sophisticated Christian.”

          Meaning he is very selective of his cherries.

        • MNb

          Why would I assume it’s a divine message?
          If not why would I pay attention?

        • Bones

          Gee I dunno.

          Maybe like people read MLK’s speeches….

          That’s a pretty silly comment.

        • Susan

          That’s a pretty silly comment.

          That’s a pretty silly answer.

          MNb asked you two perfectly reasonable questions.

          And you met him with derision and a silly answer.

          I feel sad for your students if that’s your general approach.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          “You should be selective in your hate-speech.”

          What in the hell is wrong with you?

        • Max Doubt

          “Misapplication in later stages does not erase the original authentic application nor those who still bear its tradition even as the misapplications also continue.”

          So you pretty much have nothing other than no-true-Scotsman arguments couched in abject arrogance. Oh, and…

          “You should be selective in your hate-speech.”

          You should stop being such a dick.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You should be selective in your hate-speech.

          What an inane remark.

          I’m sure you think you can justify making it. I’d be intrigued to see just how you’d go about such an enterprise. So let’s be having you?

        • Greg G.

          There are Christians who have been getting upset over “Xmas” because it is taking “Christ” out of “Christmas”. This complaint started about 50 years ago. Are we supposed to accommodate their ignorance of the fact that the ancient Christian fathers who wrote in Greek used “X” to represent “Christ” because that was chi was the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ”? Wouldn’t spelling it with a “ch” be a greater affront?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Reminds me of the… “What’s the matter with the good old King James version?” the farmer replied. “That was good enough for St. Paul, and it’s good enough for me.”, and subsequent versions thereof, like Miram Ferguson’s, “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.”

        • Myna Alexanderson

          I actually heard an elderly woman say that she went by the KJV same as Jesus did, chin up and very self-righteous. I felt genuinely sorry for her. It was one of those moments where one only smiles and nods. Far be it from me to take away an old woman’s conviction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I admire your self control.

        • Traveler..

          She is missing some history.
          1. No consolidated “book” until about 300 years after Christ left.
          2. KJV did not come into existence until King James came around centuries after Christ left.
          3. Christ could not have “followed” the KJV because Christ is the one Who originated the content material.

          Leave her happy. Don’t confuse her with the facts.

        • MNb

          Not to mention that the X represents a cross …..

        • MNb

          You don’t have a method to separate authentic applications from misapplications. For one thing the authors of the Gospels and Paulus may be guilty of misapplications.
          MA may provide hate speech, she still is correct.

        • Dys

          I thought the method was to just assume that the authentic application is the one that gives them the warm fuzzies.

        • The word “myth” in the classical definition of the word denotes a powerful literary device that in my view, in regard to the NT miracles, should not be qualified by “just”.

          Because they’re really important? OK, I can see that. But for those of us focused on reality, just is a relevant qualifier when we’re talking about the question of whether something actually happened.

        • Yonah

          But these myths were not written for you, but for those already in the house. Billy and Franklin Graham did not get that memo. The Resurrection and its proclamation happened before it was written. Then the written proclamation remained a subset of the apostolic witness handed down generation to generation, person to person, in-house. It is why we baptize and have Sunday School.

        • 90Lew90

          Having had some time away, and returned out of curiosity, I still can’t help but be completely bamboozled by the bullshit that comes out of you people. I mean, you’re talking complete crap. It hardly makes sense as it stands, and even if we were to infer what it seems you mean by what you say, it’s still crap. How deeply steeped in crap do you have to be to come out with this stuff?!

        • busterggi

          And baby Kal-El was launched to Earth as the planet Krypton exploded before it was written. The written proclamation has been handed down from generation to generation. It is why we have truth, justice and the American way.

        • Jack Baynes

          Because if we don’t have Sunday School, it would be much harder to convince people to accept this story once they were adults.

        • Greg G.

          Star Trek, Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings were written for me.

          I have a friend who does appearances in costume as characters of the movies. She does one of the dwarves from The Hobbit as realistically as the movie.

          We can learn how to treat others from these stories without believing they are true. But the religious tend to hold their myths as true. The whole church experience is a weekly Trekker convention but with a greater emphasis on gullibility.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s kind of like Comic Con, but the Comic Con participants understand that the stuff they are doing is make believe.

        • Bones

          May the Force Be With You and Live Long and Prosper.

        • Greg G.

          Star Wars Day is less than two months from now.

          May the Fourth Be With You!

        • Michael Neville

          More importantly, Towel Day and Wear the Lilac Day are May 25th.

          Towel Day celebrates Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Don’t forget your towel and don’t panic!

          Wear the Lilac Day commemorates the People’s Revolution of the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May, when the inhabitants of Treacle Mine Road fought for Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love, and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amongst a number of others…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_25#Holidays_and_observances

          It is a day familiar to me mostly because it was the name of the ex-British aircraft carrier deployed against us during the Falklands War.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARA_Veinticinco_de_Mayo_(V-2)

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget Pi Day coming up on Monday. They are advancing the clocks so we can start celebrating it an hour sooner.

        • Michael Neville

          And it’s proper Pi day, 3/14/16 for 3.14156.

        • al kimeea

          Hopefully we won’t have snow…

        • Odd Jørgensen

          The whole church experience is a weekly Trekker convention but with a greater emphasis on gullibility.

          And far more expensive.
          at least going to a Con makes you feel good about yourself, church is just a lifelong SM experience of guilt-tripping for sleights against an imaginary boss with impossible rules.

        • Greg G.

          I have heard it said that tithing is buying a seat license for a weekly gospel music show and having someone yell at you. The verbal SM fits with that.

        • Pofarmer

          “The Resurrection and its proclamation happened before it was written.”

          There’s actually a lack of proof of that, and growing intertextual work that shows there is no reason that the resurrection and etc happened, as it can all be gleaned from earlier works and Greek Literature. There’s really nothing novel there.

        • So then no Great Commission for you? I like the idea of the Bible as an internal-only thing, but some of your brethren didn’t get that memo.

        • Yonah

          The Great Commission is to make disciples of Jesus through baptism and teaching them the commandments of Jesus, not preach particular in-house miracle narratives. And, your original topic here was not “The Bible” in total, but miracle narratives.

        • MNb

          What’s so powerful about that literary device?
          How do you measure the height of the plains fables and myths are on? Especially as the core of Aesopus’ fables also is morality.
          Without concrete answers “just myths” is totally justified, especially as I already have shown that the relevance of that morality of which judaism’s core consists of for our 21st Century is highly questionable.

        • Yonah

          The power is in their capacity to facilitate a communal identity over time.

        • MNb

          Like North Korean juche?
          Like Aryan superiority in the Third Reich?
          I am willing to grant you your point about “just myths” – but it’s not a good thing.
          Once again I rather reduce them to “just myths” indeed – and replace them with the story science provides, from the Big Bang via the formation of galaxies, the Solar System, the Earth, abiogenesis, evolution, prehistory, history until today. The first obvious benefit is that we get rid of the garbage about the Chosen People.
          For instance for a white guy like me it’s big fun to tell my maroon pupils that they are better adapted to the tropical sun with their dark skins than me.

        • Yonah

          Who is “we” if you are not in the Tribe?

        • adam

          “Who is “we” if you are not in the Tribe?”

          Tribalism is divisive, and served some purpose in tribal areas, but as MNb points out it is extremely dangers outisde of tribalism.

        • Pofarmer

          “In that Judaism’s core (which Christianity is historically grounded to) is morality,”

          It looks more like just rules, because an awful lot of the “Morality” sucks.

  • Jack Baynes

    His prediction of his death is part of a story that we have little reason to see as history.

    And anyway, predicting your own death when you’re a radical preacher in a land where the church has great political power and the death penalty is a common punishment is just not that impressive.

  • al kimeea

    Lots of comments and some religious people being intellectually dishonest with zero evidence of the deity under scrutiny (either as a real or supernatural being) proffered.

    I am shocked!!

  • Michael Rainey

    Jesus’ miracles are the very sort of “wow” stories you’d expect an imaginative goat herder of the time would have dreamed up. These tricks were intended to lend credence to the notion that Jesus was unworldly. They’re meant to astound and confound on the basis that such a thing could not be, and yet it is. The trouble is, I am not in the least astounded that a fisherman living two-thousand years ago would tell a story about a man who walked on water. It actually wouldn’t take much to convince me: a diagram of the periodic table of the elements, a rudimentary explanation that our sun is a gravitationally-bound nuclear fusion reactor, directions for building a transistor radio… Any of these would do, for none of these things figured into two-thousand year-old campfire stories.

    The writer, Anatole France, remarked on his visit to the shrine at Our Lady of Lourdes. Seeing a huge pile of wooden crutches said to be discarded by cripples upon miraculously regaining their ability to walk, his friend whispered, “One wooden leg would be more to the point.”