More of the Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (Part 5)

More of the Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (Part 5) April 15, 2019

bible contradictions

I recently summarized my Top 20 list of the Bible’s most damning contradictions. But wouldn’t you know it—like zombies that just keep coming, there are more!

These aren’t trivial contradictions—something such as the number of years of a king’s reign reported differently in two places. No, these are contradictions that can’t easily be dismissed.

Christian apologists have had 2000 years to notice the problems and come up with something, but that doesn’t mean their answers are satisfactory. If anyone points out that my examples here are wrong or misleading, I’ll correct them and identify the helpful reader.

21. Jesus predicts his death and resurrection, but everyone forgot

Some of these aren’t contradictions so much as plot holes—two plot elements that can’t coexist. This is an example.

The gospels clearly and repeatedly show Jesus predicting his death and resurrection. Here are just a few of more than ten examples:

[Jesus said,] “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. And on the third day He will be raised to life.” (Matthew 20:18–19)

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

They know that Jesus will soon be crucified, and they know how long until he’s raised from the dead. But if everyone knows this, why then are they morose after the crucifixion? Why are women going to the tomb with spices, expecting to find a dead body? Why does the empty tomb surprise them? And why wasn’t there a crowd to witness the miraculous event themselves—if not the multitudes that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday just a week earlier, then at least his inner circle?

You see what I meant about the plot hole—a good editor would’ve noticed that a straightforward consequence of Jesus’s many clear declarations about rising again would’ve brought people eager to see the promise fulfilled—or at least unsurprised when it was.

(h/t Debunking Christianity)

22. Jesus and the zombies

Clear your mind of that problem and let’s review the empty-tomb story from a different angle. The women visit the tomb of Jesus to apply spices to the body and are shocked to see the tomb empty. They run back to tell the male disciples (or not, according to Mark) who are likewise astonished. Later that evening, Doubting Thomas, who surely performed more laudable actions in his life than just doubt, did what he’s best known for.

But why would it have been astonishing, on Sunday morning, to find Jesus risen from the dead? Remember this incident:

[At the moment of Jesus’s death,] the earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (Matthew 27:51–3)

Here’s the chronology. Jesus died on Friday evening, and at that moment many worthy dead people came to life. Jesus resurrected (he was to be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” [Matt. 12:40], which Friday evening to Sunday morning isn’t, but let’s ignore that), and then the newly undead people left their tombs to walk around Jerusalem. Next, the women found the empty tomb, and then word spread among the male disciples. The gospels differ over whether the women were the first to see the risen Jesus at the tomb (Matthew and John), or the disciples were the first see him Sunday night (Luke), or nobody sees him (Mark). Finally, a week later, Doubting Thomas saw Jesus.

Though the zombies are never connected to the Jesus story, the literary goal is easy to imagine. The resurrection of Jesus was the first fruits of his triumph over death, with the zombie resurrection in Jerusalem a demonstration to emphasize the point.

The problem is that surprise is an important part of this story, but no one would be surprised by a risen Jesus once they’d seen the crowd of undead. What’s one more, particularly when he was the instigator of the process? Word of the remarkable sight of walking dead would’ve traveled quickly through Jerusalem.

When the women returned, breathless with the news of having seen Jesus (or just the empty tomb), the disciples could’ve replied that Jerusalem was crawling with zombies, so what’s one more? Or, if that news hadn’t reached the disciples by the time the women returned, everyone in the city would’ve surely heard by the time Doubting Thomas finally saw Jesus a week later. Knowing of the zombies days earlier, how could Thomas have been surprised that Jesus had risen as well? Jesus showing his wounds and Thomas touching them for confirmation wouldn’t have happened.

About a wide range of Christian commentaries on this passage, Patheos blogger Neil Carter said, “Almost none of them think this really happened.” Nevertheless, the contradiction remains: Thomas, knowing about the zombies as everyone in Jerusalem surely did, would’ve dropped his demand that Jesus prove that he really rose from the dead.

(h/t to Neil’s post, which is where I learned about this contradiction.)

Continue to part 6.

If Jesus sees his shadow on Easter morning
it means 3,000 more years without a second coming.
— comment at Debunking Christianity

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Image from Daniel Jensen, CC license
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  • Jeremy

    I wish the whole matter of Jesus prophesying multiple times about being raised after three days got more attention (not necessarily in this article, but in general). I do see it mentioned, but it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It seems like the prophesy of the “end” coming soon gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but that one is open ended enough that apologists at least have some wiggle room (see Preterism). I don’t see any wiggle room in the 3-days prophesy, though. The scriptures have Jesus explicitly saying he would be raised after three days and then explicitly say he was actually raised after a day and a half. Surely, some apologist somewhere has attempted to reconcile this, but I haven’t seen it. Can anyone point me to an example? I’d genuinely like to see how they attempt to resolve this…

    • They attempt to resolve it by saying that there was a little bit of Friday, then “Saturday” started at sundown, and then there was Sunday. That’s 3 days.

      What you should do instead is point to the several times when it says “3 days and 3 nights.” Even with shenanigans, they can’t get “3 nights” out of the story.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        not to mention that the implication that his suffering in hell went on for 72 hours rather than a little over 24 gives the whole ‘sacrifice’ thing more punch. (i only use the word sacrifice because that is the word the theists use, it does not match my understanding of that word, a shitty few days is not the same as an eternity of darkness,)

        • aCultureWarrior

          I bet that you just get excited beyond words when you think about 72 hours of sado-masochism don’t you Mrs. Day?

      • NS Alito

        “Nights were more frequent back then.”

    • Greg G.

      Sometimes apologists will say that it was just an expression. It was used in Matthew 12:40 quoting Jonah 1:17. The only other place the phrase was used 1 Samuel 30:12 and it appears to mean precisely three day and three nights.

  • Tawreos

    They know that Jesus will soon be crucified, and they know how long until he’s raised from the dead. But if everyone knows this, why then are they morose after the crucifixion?

    Because they knew he was full of shit?

    • RichardSRussell

      And heck, shouldn’t economic conservatives be reviling them for failing to erect bleachers and sell tickets?

    • aCultureWarrior

      Can we leave your fascination with coprophilia out of this conversation Bruce?

  • You see what I meant about the plot hole—a good editor would’ve noticed that a straightforward consequence of Jesus’s many clear declarations about rising again would’ve brought people eager to see the promise fulfilled—or at least unsurprised when it was.

    A common theme throughout the Gospels is the Disciples’ unbelief / obtuseness – something Jesus berates them a lot for.

    Now, I get the story is meant to be educational, but… Peter in particular resembles more a brick (and looks as dense as one) than the “stone” he’s supposed to be!

    • An especially clear example of the disciples’ obtuseness is when there is the second feeding of the multitude. “But master, how will we feed all these people?” doesn’t make so much sense the second time around (see Mark 8:4).

      • And maybe this is how Christianus / Chrétien ended up being cretin

    • Greg G.

      In the Gospel of John, Jesus had a habit of saying things in an ambiguous manner just so his listener would be confused.

      • So much for But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’

      • Otto

        Worked for me too.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        is that not the technique deployed by the Sphinx in Mystery Men, it’s amazing how some people can mistake meaningless platitudes for deepity

        • NS Alito

          *cough* Meaningless platitudes are deepities.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          true but not all deepities are meaningless platitudes, some of them are just nonsensical bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          You forget the meaningfulness of the quantum substance when you ingnore that the stratosphere is radiating meridians.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          have you been playing with the depak chopra quote generator?

        • Greg G.

          No, no, no, I never… Well, once.

        • Cynthia

          “Quantum physics creates universal choices.” Hey, I have a new toy!

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          sadly put side by side with actual Chopra quotes it is neat impossible to tell the fakes apart, except they often appear to make more sense.

        • Greg G.

          A while back, I made a Deepity Generator with JavaScript, then made a multiple choice quiz with one real quote and three fakes. I looked at it a year or two later and it was hard to remember the real ones.

        • “When you fail to plan … you plan to fail.”

          He’s a master of antimetabole.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          i was always a big fan of ‘those that question training, only train themselves in asking questions’ partly because for the form and mostly because asking questions is the right thing to do.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      this seems to just be a continuance of the old testament tendency of the Isrealities to forget all about what god tells them in seconds and go straight back to whoring and drinking the second that Moses back is turned. If your main character is frankly a boring Mary sue, then all the other characters have to be comical stereotypes and idiots in order that the Mary sue can look good by comparison.

      • The comparison is pretty spot on!

        Ironically, several studies seem to suggest Jewish populations to have an higher average IQ than their Caucasian counterparts.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          there may be a reason that Jewish banker and Jewish lawyer are stereotypes. not to mention the famously pushy mothers

        • Cynthia

          Ok, I might in a weird position as a fairly intelligent Jew to argue that we aren’t naturally smarter, but here it goes:

          No, Jews and Asians are not somehow genetically smarter.

          The differences are pretty well explained by nurture. Did you have your dad give you a choice between being a doctor or lawyer at age 3? Because that’s what mine did. Did your parents assume from birth that you were going to university? Did they dedicate their lives to making sure that you became a doctor? Because that would describe my ILs and most of the Chinese and Indian parents of my husband’s med school classmates.

          Also, with the lawyer thing – there are a lot of Christians who use “legalistic” as the ultimate insult and who think that it is bad to deeply analyze text instead of just looking at the simple meaning. Meanwhile, Jewish tradition features a whole lot of focus on law and analysis of debates and legal arguments and finding 70 different ways to interpret a text. So no, it isn’t surprising that one background is more likely to produce lawyers than the other.

        • Reading up on kosher laws provided good evidence to me of Jewish scholars’ love of hair-splitting debate.

        • Cynthia

          LOL you’ve barely scratched the surface.

        • WCB

          There is the old Rabbinic claim that each verse of the Torah has 77 meanings.

        • Greg G.

          Rabbi Hillel said the Torah could be summed up as “Don’t do what your neighbor hates. All the rest is commentary.” Multiplying every verse by 77 means there is a great deal of commentary.

        • Pofarmer

          This is also a really good argument for there not having been an actual early Christianity in Jerusalem. The Jews would have been writing about it. The Pharisees and priests were highly literate. Judaism has been called a religion of letters. Someone should have been debating it, and yet, apparently, no one was…………

        • Greg G.

          The Epistle of James seems to be a hybrid between Judaism and Christianity, more Jewish than Christian. It mentions Jesus twice but being a servant to him like God. He insists on behaving Jewish law. It seems to have been written after Galatians and before Romans, so mid-first century most likely.

          If he and Cephas gave Paul their blessing to preach to the Gentiles, that might be one place to draw the line between them, being a different audience.

        • Pofarmer

          But would this necessarily be going on in first century Jerusalem? There is some argument that the letters of Paul were all written in about a 2 year period and that the “travels” are pretty much made up. Don’t remember now where I read it. These could be two dudes in Tarsus or something talking past each other.

        • Greg G.

          Here is what I think and why as best as I can explain.

          Josephus tells us the Jews before the war, were expecting a Messiah because of their writings. Paul also says that and his writings suggest other writings. James 5:8 shows the same. 1 John has more verses that suggest the coming of the Messiah. So they all seem to be on the same page with that which suggests it was the mid-first century before the war. 2 Peter has a lot about it which shows the idea still had traction much later.

          OTOH, Paul mentions Aretas having control of Damascus which is the only datable information in his letters. Aretas IV was king from about 9BC to 40AD, which is as vague as it gets for dating Paul but there is no evidence that Aretas IV ever controlled Damascus. Aretas III did control Damascus around 70BC. But maybe Paul was confused about who actually controlled the city that he was supposed to be hiding and escaping from. A king that ruled for nearly half a century might come to mind more readily.

          Paul wrote a letter to the Galatians that was critical of James, Cephas, and the whole circumcision faction. James wrote a letter that appears to be a reply to the Galatians letter but addressed it “To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” But Paul appears to respond to parts of that letter in Romans and 1 Corinthians. If it was just two guys in Tarsus, I would expect Paul to escalate the address list instead of just two letters. James seems to have addressed several points, some directly like Leviticus 19:18 fulfilling the whole law, when Abraham was deemed righteous, arguing about the works of Rahab the prostitute in place of where Paul used the example of the faith of Abraham’s wives, and many places where James seems to go off on a tangent about a word Paul used, like “boast”. Paul just responds with a couple of pretty good arguments against James in Romans.

          If it was just two guys in Tarsus, it is unlikely that the letters would have been preserved. I suspect the letters were dispersed enough that Paul and James were able to obtain a copy of the other’s letters.

          I think Luke probably used Paul’s letters to create an imaginary travel itinerary from a few of the hints so reconstructions including Acts is probably heading down the wrong track.

        • Pofarmer

          Also, I’ve seen it said that the whole “Paul teaching to the Gentiles” wasn’t a blessing as much as a “Get outta here.” It just so happens that after the Jewish War, Pauls version stuck.

        • NS Alito

          Wasn’t he the one who said: “Give to the poor, then pray.”

        • Greg G.

          I haven’t heard that one. I tried a search and found
          “Cup of rice. You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” –Pope Francis

          He gets it backwards.

        • Pofarmer

          As Mark Twain noted “People do all the work, God get’s all the credit.”

        • NS Alito

          A group of n Talmudic scholars will give you > n opinions on any topic.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          i completely agree, i was going to make a longer comment about how many minority groups out perform the majority owing to higher expectations, but in stead went for a somewhat lazy playing on stereotypes. As you say the Jewish and Asian communities are examples of the recognition that you have to be better than one of the majority to get the same level of success (much like women).

          The obviously litigious nature of the Jewish religion does rather lend it’s self to the producing of lawyers, again as you say.

        • Cynthia

          Good point minority vs majority. With many immigrant groups, selection bias also kicks in – it tends to be the more ambitious and resourceful members of a group that actually pick up and move, plus some immigration policies actively favor those with education.

          We actually joke about immigrant parents all the time – my husband is a child of immigrants, as were most of his med school classmates. They came from different countries, different religions, different races, etc. but the stories were all pretty similar. Culturally, he certainly relates more to them than to non-ethnic white culture. It isn’t a dislike, more just a matter of not really having much in common.

          Not sure if I’d call Judaism litigious, but definitely oriented toward law and debate and extreme analysis. I don’t know a lot of religious Protestant Christians IRL and certainly not well enough to have deep theological discussions, so I was actually shocked as an adult to go online and realize that being horrified by legalism and insisting on using the simple meaning and making a virtue out of faith was a thing. I slowly started to realize that there are lasting cultural impacts even once religious beliefs fade.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          I refer to Judaism as litigious because of the way they seem to treat holy instructions as laws to be circumvented rather than absolute rules to be respected, can’t work on the sabbath, hire a non believer to do that for you, can’t leave the house on the sabbath, just define your entire village as a ‘House’ and go where you like. On the one hand it shows a delightful understanding that religious rules are mostly stupid, but fails to take the final step of just chucking the whole lot. It also brings the whole ‘Omni’ nature of god into question, but then again i don’t know enough about Judaism to know if they believe in an omni max god. if they do they have a very low opinion of how smart their god is.

        • Cynthia

          Ah, ok. Litigious has a bit of a different meaning in legal circles. A litigious client is one who won’t do reasonable settlements or alternate dispute resolution and goes to court unreasonably.

          As for your point – there is a great story in the Talmud at Bava Metzia 59b. Some great rabbis are having a dispute over s point of Jewish law, the majority say it is answer A, one is adamant that it is answer B and the Heavenly Voice supports him, and the other rabbis basically say butt out, “this is not in heaven” since the Law has already been given to man along with rules of interpretation which say that you rule according to the majority. There is a postscript that God laughs at hearing this, that he has been outsmarted.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          i am not a law speaking guy, so perhaps legalistic would have been a better word to use, though dealing with a client who does not understand dispute resolution sounds a lot like god.

          While i think it is as much nonsense as any other religion, the god of the Jews does seem to be a bit more ‘realistic’ much closer to the incredibly flawed greek gods than the all perfect christian one.

        • Cynthia

          Stories like that aren’t meant to be taken literally, but to make a point.

          In modern terms, we would call this the line between legislative and judicial authority. The idea is that even if the origin of the rules is divine, the rules were given to people, to govern people and to be administered by people. People aren’t going to be perfect – witnesses can be wrong, judges might get the law wrong, etc but the system is meant to deal with humans.

          What it says about the Jewish POV is that an ancient text (at least 1,500 years old, probably more) is so clearly endorsing the idea that humans are judges and need to deal with the law, and that doing so isn’t going against the divine rules but is actually exactly what is supposed to happen.

          As I said, this may have started as an ancient religious discussion, but it has left footprints in very modern issues. You have a group of people who were raised with the idea that legalism is bad and that you should just follow the plain meaning of rules. Even if those people no longer have a specific faith in God, that way of thinking can stick and people can be really bothered by judicial activism. Then, you’ve got people who were raised with stories like this who think that it is clear that judges have authority and that debate and wrestling with competing interpretations or stretching the text to give new insights is an awesome thing – again, even if they don’t have a specific belief in God any longer.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          trouble is it all still comes from a authority that can’t be questioned, either for clarity or for correctness.

          While i think that thoughtless following of rules is a bad thing, equally letting the loudest voice, or the quickest tongue decide what the law is, is just as bad not to mention there is the inherent problem of people conducting tooth fairy law, there is little to be gained in legislating the maximum speed that an angel can fly, but if some one does you can be sure the ‘logic’ that got them there will be applied to some real world issue.

          the problem with humans as judges is that it means that god is irrelevant, he is like the British monarchy, he has just a figure head who technically has some power but in reality can not exercise it. I doubt many religious people would agree with that as a description.

          you do make an interesting point about hang ups that exist from more religious times that still affect many peoples thinking, particularly with respect to the the rule of law.

        • epeeist

          Not sure if I’d call Judaism litigious, but definitely oriented toward law and debate and extreme analysis.

          I think “normative” may be the word you are looking for.

        • NS Alito

          Did you have your dad give you a choice between being a doctor or lawyer at age 3? Because that’s what mine did.

          Likewise, a culture that values and emphasizes athletic achivement will be overrepresented on professional sports teams.

        • Cynthia

          Parental and cultural factors are going to affect any career choice. I mean, being a coal miner might be on your mind if you live in West Virginia, but not California.

        • NS Alito

          [T]here may be a reason that Jewish banker and Jewish lawyer are stereotypes.

          For centuries, Jews were not allowed to own land in Europe. They were left with scholarship, law, crafts (tailors, watchmakers), mercantilism and banking.

          Note that in the modern state of Israel, where Jews are free to embrace any profession (or live on kibbutzim), their population has regressed to being just as financially illiterate* as everyone else. 😉
          ________
          *Misuse and overuse of credit cards, ignorance of investment discipline, etc.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          good point.

        • Jennifer A. Nolan

          That’s because the Jews on our continent (North America) do a bit more reading as a group than the Christians, both believers and de-churched. Many of us goyim hardly read at all. The world is an open book to those who read a good deal, both at work and play.

      • Maltnothops

        Of course, god is always forgetting his promises too and has to be reminded by Moses or Abraham or whomever.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Those Omni’s are just not what the used to be

        • epeeist

          With omni-science giving way to omni-dementia.

      • aCultureWarrior

        Hi Kit. What’s with the hyphenated name? Did you finally add your husband’s last name to Hadley?
        LOL…Mary sue, I assume that you’re referring to Jesus Christ? He was hardly a boring man, as 10’s of thousands came to witness His miracles and words of wisdom throughout his journeys. I like the sermon where he talked about child molesters having a millstone put over their heads and thrown into the depths of the sea.
        Oops…not a good conversation piece for a thread like this. My bad 🙁

      • WCB

        That tale always screamed “Fake!” to me. Debating true believers for years, the average true believer rarely admits that the Bible tales are full of contradictions problems and errors. No amount of logic, common sense or careful argument seems to make a true believer change their minds. The people who saw the many miracles of God on their trek to Canaan would have simply forgotten all of that and demanded idols to worship simply does not fit with what real people would do. That is not how people behave. Witnessing God leading them as a pillar of fire by night and smoke by day? No, this is not how people behave. Exodus 32 screams “Fraud! Fraud! Lies!” to me.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          well quite, but like i said when you are trying to make your central character into a superman, and you don’t have the linguistic skill or wit to do it properly, you just populate the world with idiots, along the lines of ‘in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king’. I mean when you literally have the put the ‘Deus’ in ‘Deus ex Machina’ to make your story work you are not a good writer

    • The really odd thing about that is that according to the stories Jesus’ disciples weren’t expecting a resurrection – but his ideological opponents were expecting them to expect a resurrection. For example, in Matthew when the chief priests and Pharisees beg Pilate to seal the tomb and put a guard on it, otherwise they expected the disciples to come and steal his body somewhere before day 3 and claim a resurrection. And that is really weird – how come the “bad guys” know his promises better than the “good guys”?

      • That’s a great point which should be brought up more often – Jesus’ opponents having more faith than his followers…

        • Pofarmer

          Which would also indicate that resurrection belief was pretty common.

        • NS Alito

          But the Pharisees didn’t have faith; they cynically expected a hoax.

      • Greg G.

        I hadn’t thought that through before. May I borrow that idea? (I’m stealing it anyway but I thought it would be nicer to ask permission.)

        • Absolutely. It was certainly something that bothered me as a believer…

      • Excellent.

  • RichardSRussell

    For a dictionary-sized book providing hundreds of examples like Bob’s above, see if you can seek out a (rare) copy of C. Dennis McKinsey’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy. The BS just goes on and on and on …

  • CoastalMaineBird

    The women visit the tomb of Jesus to apply spices to the body and are shocked to see the tomb empty.

    Something I’ve never seen brought up is this:
    The (heavy) stone was rolled into place ( a rare practice at the time) after placing the body in the tomb.
    The stone, being big enough to block a small doorway, was presumably rolled into place by a few strong men.
    The women (however many), came to the tomb on Sunday, expecting to anoint the body.

    But were they expecting to move the stone themselves? Doubtful.
    Were they expecting it to be open? Then why the “shocked” faces?

    • Yep–another plot hole.

      • Damian Byrne

        Yup. According to Mark 16 they say to themselves “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And lo and behold, a literal deus ex machina…the stone is already rolled away. Why would the women go to the tomb having not asked some strong men folk to do the work? Where they expecting to find some strong trustworthy lads just hanging around a graveyard during the most holy season of the Jewish faith for no reason at all? Or was that line said with a wink and a nod?
        As far as the women in the story are concerned, their plan was apparently to go to the tomb, see the stone still in place, look around for some men who would have no reason to be there, then apparently go back home, job unfulfilled?

      • I Came To Bring The Paine

        Or plot device 😉

    • Pofarmer

      But wait, there’s more!!! At the supposed time in question, round stones weren’t even used. They used square stones to plug the holes. Round stones were much later, which is one reason some scholars think the Gospels are a lot later than advertised, or the author didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

      • aCultureWarrior

        Measuring 4.5-feet tall, the disk-shaped stone at the so-called Tomb of Herod’s Family could be rolled to cover the entryway of the tomb or rolled back into a niche to open it, thereby permitting new burials to be added to the family tomb. This is one of four Second Temple-period Jerusalem tombs with a round rolling stone.
        -How Was Jesus’ Tomb Sealed?
        Examining the tomb of Jesus in light of Second Temple-period Jerusalem tombs

  • skl

    Nevertheless, the contradiction remains:
    Thomas, knowing about the zombies as everyone in Jerusalem surely did, would’ve
    dropped his demand that Jesus prove that he really rose from the dead.

    Considering the text alone, I don’t see a necessary contradiction.

    The text does not say everyone in Jerusalem surely knew about the “zombies”. The text says only that many of the saints
    appeared bodily to many. The “many” which the zombies appeared to might exclude non-followers
    of Christ, just as the resurrected Christ apparently did not appear to
    non-followers (e.g. the risen Christ does not appear to the Pharisees who
    condemned him.). The “many” also does not necessarily include Christ’s inner
    circle, say, the apostles. To the apostles, as well as to the rest of the city
    inhabitants not witnessing the zombies, the zombie appearance could have been just
    hearsay. But for the apostles, the hearsay would have gained credibility upon
    their seeing the risen Jesus.

    • Jeremy

      Let’s say it was hearsay. Now combine this rumor of zombies with the darkening of the sun, the torn curtain in the temple, and the plain-as-day prophecies of Christ himself. Given all this in a superstitious and credulous culture and it’s very difficult to take the utter surprise of the resurrection at face value. One would be forgiven for thinking that the author(s) made the disciples comically dim as a literary device.

      • skl

        One would be forgiven for thinking that the author(s) made the disciples comically dim as a literary device.

        If it was a literary device, its purpose eludes me.

        • Aloha

          It makes the story more interesting and highlights their transition into great preachers. Also gives Jesus a chance to reiterate and simplify his teachings

        • I’m afraid that much eludes you. That’s your cross to bear, perhaps.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Probably the most cogent thing you’ve ever said here.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          the disciples have to be comically stupid to make the Jesus character look all the wiser, you know like an average height person hanging out with shorter people so they can look tall. The people who wrote the gospels where not nearly good enough writers to actually write a decent narrative so they had to go for lazy literary devices.

        • Damian Byrne

          skl, let’s say I tell you during a family meal that someone sitting there, eating with us, is a traitor, who will see your master dead. What is the kind of reaction you would expect from everyone else at the meal?

        • WCB

          It gives the gospel writer a plot device to have the Jesus character to explain things to his dimwitted apostles for benefit of the reader of such tall tales. Clumsily done and obvious.

        • Greg G.

          Another device is the omniscient narrator who tells the reader what others were thinking and planning or details of events a non-witness would not know.

      • Damian Byrne


        One would be forgiven for thinking that the author(s) made the disciples comically dim as a literary device.” Read Gospel John Chapter 13, and what happens after Jesus points out Judas is the traitor. Or rather…what does not happen.

    • Uh, sure, let’s imagine that there were zombies walking around Jerusalem, and a week later none of the disciples had heard of it.

      • skl

        I’m afraid that much eludes you. “Much” here being the text
        and what I wrote about it above.

        • Damian Byrne

          Why is it that Christians such as yourself, who shout loudly about their holy text, about how it’s true, then turn around and make things up that are not in the text?
          So let’s go with Bob’s hypothesis. Let’s imagine there were zombies wandering around Jerusalem. Which is more likely to be true in this case a) the disciples of Jesus hear nothing about this, and are surprised when their master returns to them from death a week later, even though this is the very thing he supposedly prophesied?
          b) the disciples do hear about the zombies, but are still surprised for some reason when Jesus returns a week later, even though this is the very thing he supposedly prophesied?

          Speaking for myself and the other atheists on this blog, I don’t see how (a) holds any water. Something like this would have been big news…even though it’s mentioned only in a single line in a single gospel.

        • skl

          c) the disciples do hear about the zombies who resurrected from the dead on Friday, the day of the crucifixion (and one of them writes about them in his gospel), but are still surprised at seeing resurrections in general, and so are still surprised at
          Christ’s resurrection (and maybe surprised that he didn’t resurrect on Friday like the zombies but instead on Sunday).

    • Greg G.

      According to the Synoptics, Jesus was only active for a few months. How many dead saints could there be buried there?

      To the apostles, as well as to the rest of the city inhabitants not witnessing the zombies, the zombie appearance could have been just hearsay. But for the apostles, the hearsay would have gained credibility upon their seeing the risen Jesus.

      Matthew made a habit of taking some OT passage out of context and making it some kind of prophecy. See Isaiah 26:19:

      Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
          O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
      For your dew is a radiant dew,
          and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

      But, sure, it’s not possible that gospel authors would make something crazy up from reading the Old Testament. So you must be right. Long dead people actually rose from the dead. /s

    • Fair point. Yes, Jesus only appears to those who are primed to see him; his followers and friends. Don’t you think that’s a little strange? Those with a vested interest in seeing him again do just that. As you point out, he isn’t seen by the Pharisees, or Pilate or Herod. If he’d really resurrected wouldn’t these be the people he’d show himself to? A moment of triumph, demonstrating that God’s purposes could not be thwarted by the powers of this world? But, no, he confines his ‘appearances’ to those psychologically prepped to see him. Which tells us much about the nature of those ‘appearances’.

      • Greg G.

        But, no, he confines his ‘appearances’ to those psychologically prepped to see him.

        But even that part was tacked on to the original gospel account.

        I like to think the original Mark ending might have been:

        The boy said, “Maggie, move away from here.”
        ‘Said, “Capernaum is the place you oughta be.”
        So they loaded up their ass.
        and they moved to Galilee-ee-ee-ee!

      • skl

        Don’t you think that’s a little strange?

        I think the entire Christian story is a little strange.

        More than a little strange.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      even if those zombies only appeared to a few, how come no one else thought to mention them, and it does not speak of spirits, it speaks of the dead rising, so unless they all got magical teleportation abilities, though they only ‘appeared’ to ‘many’ (and that word suggests a decent number) then, they had to walk from their graves and plenty of people would have noticed, not to mention don’t you think the rulers of the time might have noticed a whole bunch of suddenly empty graves? i mean a single empty tomb may well have not been mentioned by the non christian authorities, though that seems strange for the tomb of a high profile rebel, i think the sudden emptying of multiple tombs would have got written about somewhere.

      Face it this passage in the supposed ‘infallible word of god’ is utterly irredeemable and impossible to square with any form of possible reality. And if we are now suggesting that something could be hearsay because it is clearly nonsense then i can just assume the same for the rest of the book, right? unless you want to come up with some mechanism for separating the sheep from the goats for bible passages.

      • skl

        … seems strange… utterly irredeemable and
        impossible to square with any form of possible reality… clearly nonsense…
        then i can just assume the same for the rest of the book, right?

        Yes, you can.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          sorry, are you trying to make some sort of point with your very odd quote mining? However as you concede that the source book is nonsense we will clearly not hear any more from you about trying to square the bible with reality then.

    • Damian Byrne

      “The “many” which the zombies appeared to might exclude non-followers of Christ,”
      How very convenient then, for you. Also, this is an ad-hoc argument, for which you have no evidence. Never mind we have no actual evidence of the “zombies” themselves, you have no evidence that they appeared only to non-Christians. This is something you pulled completely out of thin air to try to resolve a contradiction. It’s like someone being shown a video tape of them stealing from the cash register, only for them to say “That video has been edited!” Well, do you have evidence that the video WAS edited? Why should everyone else just believe, automatically, that the video was edited, that the zombies only appeared to Christians?

      • skl

        … this is an ad-hoc argument, for which
        you have no evidence.

        Don’t need evidence, and not making an argument.
        Merely showing that, based on the text, there is no necessary
        contradiction.

        • Damian Byrne

          “Don’t need evidence, and not making an argument. ” You do need evidence, and yes, this is an argument you are making. There’s no point to considering just who the zombies appeared to, or didn’t appear to, if there’s no evidence one way or the other. The only reason you even suggested that they appeared only to Christians is that this “explains” why no-one other than Christians (or should I say the author of Gospel Matthew to be precise) ever mentioned them. In order for this “explanation” to stand, you need evidence, just like the cashier needs evidence the video was edited.

          “Merely showing that, based on the text,”
          The text makes no mention as to who the zombies appeared to. It mentions that they wandered around Jerusalem and appeared to many people. That’s it. We have no reason, from the text to suppose only Christians saw them. Your only reason is because it seemingly resolves a plot hole.

        • skl

          Logic and reason seem beyond you.
          In any case, our conversation(s) are over.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      The text does not say everyone in Jerusalem surely knew about the “zombies”.

      Oh fucking PLEASE!!??!! Just exactly how far do you plan on stretching credulity?

      If dead folks were walkin’ around, word would spread faster than measles at an antivax convention.

      • Greg G.

        word would spread faster than measles at an antivax convention.

        That’s a sick comment, in more ways than one. I congratulate you.

        • Lark62

          Comments like that are infectious.

        • Greg G.

          Measly comments like HEWBT’s are easily spotted.

        • Maltnothops

          A pox on anyone who squeezes two puns into just seven words.

        • Greg G.

          When someone falls ill at an antivax convention, they have to go homeopathy.

        • MR

          Uh-oh, better cholera cab.

        • Greg G.

          That would be one way to prevent Uber-culosis.

        • MR

          But you could get Lyftsteria.

        • carbonUnit

          Not sure how to inoculate myself from this pundemic, but I’ll give it a shot…

    • eric

      Bob S. says this:

      Some of these aren’t contradictions so much as plot holes

      Then SKL musters his absolutely best argument against Bob, which is this:

      I don’t see a necessary contradiction.

      Up next! Someone giving empirical evidence for something and pointing out it suffers from the problem of induction, and then Skl counters that it suffers from the problem of induction.

      • skl

        Bob S. says this:

        Nevertheless, the contradiction remains: Thomas, knowing about the zombies as everyone in Jerusalem surely did, would’ve dropped his demand that Jesus prove that he really rose from the dead.

        To which skl responded above.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Yes, but skl is an idiot.

        • Susan

          Yes, but skl is an idiot.

          Could you make that comment again so I can upvote it again?

        • LastManOnEarth

          Yes, because skl is an idiot.

        • Susan

          because skl is an idiot.

          He certainly is.

          (I’m about to commit the internet sin of upvoting myself, but it’s for a good cause.)

        • Susan

          I’m about to commit the internet sin of upvoting myself, but it’s for a good cause.)

          OK. I did it.

          Then, I couldn’t live with myself. So I undid it.

          skl is an idiot, or at least pretends to be one.

          I’m more inclined to think he’s a disingenuous weasel who pretends to be an idiot when he gets cornered.

        • skl is an idiot, or at least pretends to be one.

          Have you noticed commenter nevbig? He actually does pretend to be an idiot.

    • Michael Neville

      So these were Christian zombies, even though Christianity hadn’t been invented yet.

  • Kuno

    For the inspired word of God the Bible is really lacking a decent editor.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Just because every word is inspired doesn’t mean they are always in the right order.

      • Zetopan

        Or even the correct words.

      • Polytropos

        Or they could be “inspired” in the same way some movies are “inspired by a true story”.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I like it!

  • wannabe

    They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection… (emphasis added)

    So there were no zombies walking around until Sunday morning.

    • Aloha

      That also impacts the bit about Jesus being the first fruit of the dead … The first or only person to rise again.

      According to the Bible, he was one of many resurrections

    • Right–zombies Sunday morning + women poking around in empty tombs also on Sunday morning. Conceivably the women could’ve run back to tell the men only to have them say, “One empty tomb? Heck, there are hundreds!”

      That’s why I emphasized the Doubting Thomas story. A week later, surely everyone would know about the zombies.

      • wtfwjtd

        Here’s another interesting point about the zombie apocalypse that’s been completely overlooked. I was talking to my wife about this recently and she made this astute observation: “Who was dead the longest, Jesus or the other zombies?” Ding-ding-ding! Of course! What’s going to be bigger news, the “resurrection” of a guy who’s been supposedly dead for maybe 36 hours, or the re-animation of the corpses of people who’ve been dead for many years, possibly decades? Especially since he so conveniently disappears after another few days, never to be seen again.

        It makes the whole Jesus story sound like just more “fake news” to me.

      • Pofarmer

        Sounds like a Johnny Cash song. Sunday morning coming down.

        • Greg G.

          I only read the first sentence, then looked up to read the comment you were referring to, I thought of the same song but Kris Kristofferson.

          I think Johnny performed it better.

          https://youtu.be/YcPW6R9yRzE

        • Pofarmer

          Love the Johnny Cash Version. Christopherson is a great writer but a lousy performer.

      • Greg G.

        The tombs opened when Jesus croaked. You would think someone would have noticed the open graves when they took Jesus to the cemetery. I am surprised that the guards at Jesus’ tomb didn’t notice the lurking zombies.

    • RichardSRussell

      Here’s the accounting of the zombie apocalypse in Chapter 27 of the Gospel of Matthew, the only place it’s mentioned in the Bible:

      45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

      46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

      47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

      48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

      49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

      50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

      51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

      52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

      53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

      54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

      So apparently all the formerly dead saints spent a day and a half sitting up in their open graves, just looking around or maybe swapping underworld gossip with their nabors, before finally hauling ass up out of the dirt in time for their Sunday shopping spree in the big city. However, the centurion hanging out up on Golgotha, watching Jesus, noticed as early as Friday afternoon that “those things that were done” were pretty unusual.

      • wannabe

        “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

      • “…maybe swapping underworld gossip with their nabors…”

        It’s “neighbors” – “Nabors” played Gomer Pyle.

        • Greg G.

          No, I think they went into Jerusalem to make a citizen’s arrest.

  • Michael Murray

    So the zombies were presumably the result of spreading of the alien resurrection beam that they had pointed from orbit at JC’s tomb. You are never going to keep a resurrection beam with sufficient power to reach from orbit focused on a single tomb. Basic reso-physics.

  • Michael Neville

    When the zombies appeared in Jerusalem the Roman soldiers must have been cursing the fact that shotguns hadn’t been invented yet. It’s hard to double-tap zombies with a 25 inch gladius.

    • Ficino

      Yeah, you’d need a whole ballista like the one that squashed Jesus ben Ananias. And even then…

    • Kuno

      According to the Zombie Survival Guide the Roman Legions had standing orders on how to deal with zombie outbreaks, including trapping the undead in ditches and setting them on fire and killing any legionaire who got bitten.

      Maybe that’s why the outbreak in Jerusalem didn’t get much “news coverage”, the Romams simply dealt with it before the general population noticed it…

      Ok, now where is my No-Prize? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_No-Prize)

  • Damian Byrne

    One of my favourite plot holes is Gospel John’s version of the last supper. Jesus and the disciples sit down to eat a meal, Jesus dips bread into water and says to his disciples that one of them will betray him, and that the man he gives the bread to will be the traitor. He gives it to Judas. Okay so far so good, what’s the deal you might ask?
    It’s the complete non-action of the disciples. None of them are horrified that one of their own is a traitor. None of them stand up in anger, no-one is surprised. They notice that Judas has a money box, but their thought apparently is that Jesus tells him to use the money to buy things for the meal…which is already in progress.

    This is why I don’t buy Christianity. Christians tell me that that to a lesser or greater extent that the Bible tells us things that are true, that really happened. So…the most learned men of Christianity, Jesus’s direct disciples who walked and talked with him, had absolutely NO reaction to being told one of their number is a traitor? This is something that real men did two thousand years ago?

    • Ficino

      I never thought of this, good point. An inerrantist will have a way of nullifying or filling the obvious plot hole, of course.

    • RichardSRussell

      You know who else also walked and talked with him? The 2 disciples who met him on the road to Emmaus after he was resurrected (mentioned in Mark and Luke). They spent the whole afternoon swapping repartee with a guy whom they’d supposedly lived with, dined with, traveled with, and slept next to for the previous 3 years, hanging on his every word, but for some odd reason TODAY they waited until after he’d gone his own way before turning to each other and musing “Say, didn’t that guy kinda remind you of ….?”

      • Damian Byrne

        Well you see the reason they didn’t recognise him is because umm…he uhh…he had magic god powers to disguise himself! Yeah, that must be it!
        Of course such an explanation is just as ad hoc as skl’s claim down below that Matthew’s zombies only appeared to Christians.

        • Nankay

          That is EXACTLY how Sister Consolata explained it to me in 5th grade. He used some sort of befuddlement charm or something. Why? dunno.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Jesus must have also split the one woman who came to the grave in to three

        • Maltnothops

          Wait! So cloning humans is Jesus-approved?

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          I thought the idea was he was in a new body and didn’t look like Jesus.

          But then it makes no sense for Thomas to want to feel Jesus’s wounds. If it’s a new body why would it still have holes in his hands?

        • Lark62

          But how is anyone supposed to recognize Jesus unsurrounded by toast or dog butt?

        • WCB

          There are Greek tall tales about Zrus wandering the Earth disguised as a poor itinerant traveller to see who would treat him kindly, and who would not. The disguised Jesus of Luke, seems to me to be a take on an old theme. God in disguise going among the mortals.

        • skl

          … as ad hoc as skl’s claim down below that Matthew’s zombies only appeared to Christians.

          I don’t recall ever saying that.
          I think either you misread what I wrote or you’re lying.

        • Damian Byrne

          “I don’t recall ever saying that.
          I think either you misread what I wrote or you’re lying.” Yes you did. It’s further down the page.

        • skl

          Ok, now I definitely think you are lying.

        • Greg G.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/04/more-of-the-top-20-most-damning-bible-contradictions-part-5/#comment-4424139307

          You said:

          The “many” which the zombies appeared to might exclude non-followers of Christ,

          If the zombies appeared to anybody while they excluded non-followers of Christ, then the only people they could have appeared to would be followers of Christ —> Christians.

          Your claims are beginning to sound stupid even to you.

        • skl

          What is truly stupid is someone not
          understanding the meaning of the words “might” and “if”.

        • Greg G.

          Weasel words do not turn bullshit into brilliance.

        • Greg G.

          Also, you and Damien suggested the other was lying. You should concede that you were wrong.

        • Susan

          I think either you misread what I wrote or you’re lying.

          You seem to be mistaking others’ tactics for your own.

      • And Mary confused Jesus with the gardener.

        (Which, now that I think of it, is rather racist. Just because a guy is named Jesús doesn’t mean he’s a gardener.)

        • Michael Neville

          That’s one thing I’ve always wondered: How did a Middle Eastern Jew get a Hispanic first name?

        • God works in mysterious ways?

    • skl

      None of them are horrified that one of their own is a traitor. None of them stand up in anger, no-one is
      surprised.

      Perhaps their inaction seems surprising. But maybe it shouldn’t be, for a couple of reasons:

      1) Jesus had earlier reprimanded John and his brother for
      seeking vengeance against rejectors of Christ (Luke 9:52-55).

      2) Jesus himself didn’t seek vengeance against Judas, but
      said to Judas only “What you are going to do, do quickly.” The rest of the
      apostles may have thought it best to follow Jesus’ lead and see how it all
      played out.

      3) They were not exactly a courageous bunch – virtually all
      of them scattered when Jesus was arrested and their boldest leader, Peter,
      three times, well, you know.

      They notice that Judas has a money box, but their thought apparently is that Jesus tells him to use the
      money to buy things for the meal…which is already in progress.

      Except that the text indicates the money would not have been for the meal in-progress but rather “for the feast” (John
      13:29). Apparently, that would be the coming Passover feast (John 13:1).

      • Damian Byrne

        Reread the scene, John 13. The disciples act as if they haven’t a brain in their heads. No-one stands up in anger, no-one is surprised. In other gospels, the disciples act like normal humans, but here in John, they don’t. What does not being courageous have to do with them not having a reaction at all to being told one of them is a traitor?

        ” The rest of the
        apostles may have thought it best to follow Jesus’ lead and see how it all
        played out.”
        Peter? The same Peter who lashes out with a sword and cuts off people’s ears?

        • Michael Neville

          It was only one ear and the guy had a spare on the other side of his head.

        • skl

          If John’s gospel was exactly the same as the others, then I
          suppose there would be only one gospel. But as it is, there are four, with four different takes, styles.

          As to John’s apparent lack of detailing the shock and outrage
          of the other supper guests, maybe he’s more like me in thinking such wouldn’t be news. It’s somewhat like a president of the U.S. or other similarly noteworthy figure making a public statement after some big tragedy that makes world-wide news. And he/she says ‘I’m greatly saddened to hear about this. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and … blah blah blah…’
          Nice, but not news, in my opinion. Unless you expected he/she to say ‘I’m so happy to hear of this great tragedy. My thoughts and payers are definitely not with the victims and their families…’

          (In other news, John didn’t say how many fish were caught in
          the Sea of Galilee that day. Therefore, no fish were caught in the Sea of Galilee that day. :))

        • Damian Byrne

          ” But as it is, there are four, with four different takes, styles.” You mean three, with John being the odd one out, given that Gospel John says it happens on a different day to the synoptics. As for different take…how is it that Gospel John is describing the same event as the synoptics when what happened in John (or not happened) is so different?

          “As to John’s apparent lack of detailing the shock and outrage
          of the other supper guests, maybe he’s more like me in thinking such wouldn’t be news. ”
          Pull the other one. This makes no sense at all. It’s supposed to be a recounting of what happened. If “what happened” includes the disciples getting outraged but is not mentioned, then Gospel John is guilty of lying by omission.
          Of course, we don’t actually know “what happened”.

          ” It’s somewhat like a president of the U.S. or other similarly noteworthy figure making a public statement after some big tragedy that makes world-wide news. ”
          This analogy makes no sense. The point I’m making is that the disciples act differently depending on which gospel one reads. In John, the disciples might as well have been stoned out of their heads, given the complete lack of reaction during the meal. In the other gospels, the disciples act outraged, angry, surprised i.e., have actual human emotions.

    • Greg G.

      They notice that Judas has a money box, but their thought apparently is that Jesus tells him to use the money to buy things for the meal…which is already in progress.

      Actually, at the beginning of chapter 13, it says that it was before the time of the passover. Jesus talks continuously until the end of chapter 17 and when he shuts up, he crosses the Brook of Kidron where he is promptly arrested. John has Jesus more as the passover lamb who was tried and killed on the day of preparation, before the passover meal.

      But the passover lamb is not a sin offering so that analogy doesn’t really work for Jesus.

    • Pofarmer

      To be fair, they were portrayed as rather dim witted.

      The thing about it is, especially Catholics make this huge deal about “Oh My God, We Killed Jesus!!!!!!” Uhm, the story don’t work without it.

  • Michael Newsham

    “Almost none of them think this really happened.”
    Professor Michael Licona was an Evangelical scholar who wrote a 700-page book arguing for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. He was forced to resign from Southern Evangelical Seminary after questioning the historical reality of the passage from Matthew. Some people do insist it really happened, and even writing an entire book defending the Gospels as straight-up history ins not a good enough excuse. Even William Lane Craig supported him; he was chased out anyway for not believing in inerrancy.

    • wtfwjtd

      How do you like that–the guy highlights one absurd story and says he doesn’t think it’s literal, and gets fired from his job.

      No wonder Christian scholars are so biased on this subject. If they cross the established Christian dogma in one small area, no matter how rational and reasonable, no matter what the evidence (or lack thereof), and they’re likely to get shit-canned from their day job. Jeez.

  • Neil Carter

    Thanks for the reminder it’s time to repost my annual Easter post 🙂

    • Cozmo the Magician

      I thought the post thing was in MAY. Oh wait, thats a POLE. post, pole, stick. whatev.

      Happy Spring peeps. (: Ohh, PEEPS.. gotta get me some totally sugar with colors. Oh and some Chocolate. (where did Chocolate enter into that mythos?) Oh and FFS, CANDY! CANDY..

      One thing I always like about Jesus based holidays is CANDY.

      HMMMMM…. PEEPS

      • Michael Neville

        Peeps don’t hold a candle to Cadbury’s cream eggs.

        • Otto

          The Chocolate bunnies seem to represent Christianity the best. They look delicious, but then you find out they are waxy and hollow.

    • aCultureWarrior

      Easter is a big time for you atheists. The drag queens “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” have their ‘Hunky Jesus Contest” down in San Franswishco.. After viewing some of their past videos Neil, you do look familiar.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Ive said before and will say again. Even Dr. Seuss wrote better stuff. Hell, at least he was writing for an audience trying to learn how to read.

    • What the world needs is a whimsical Dr. Seuss Bible.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        In the start was a tart
        she gave a hoot about a fruit
        the tart had a fruit
        and now we are all screwed.

        (I was on a roll about 1/2 way through the 2nd line)

  • wtfwjtd

    Nice commentary Neil and Bob. If hoards of zombies had *really* been resurrected, right after a powerful earthquake to boot, and then some fellow named Jesus was spotted in the crowd, he would just be one more re-animated corpse in the herd, and would only be a footnote in a much larger story. That is, if the gospels were literal history, and not just a story written for entertainment and/or theological purposes.
    All of this helps spotlight another Christian absurdity: The gospels claim that Jesus was rock-star famous, everyone in the whole region knew his name, and on and on. And yet, not one contemporary historical reference of this god-man; apparently, his life and work was so inconsequential, and he had so little impact on humanity, that no one remembers him, and all we have to infer his very existence are a few ramblings from some theologically-motivated stories .
    So, which is it Christians, famous with no collaborating evidence (legend), or inconsequential to the point of no evidence? From where I sit, it has to be one or the other, there’s really no viable third choice.

    • Lark62

      Yeah, god himself came to earth to save the world and no one noticed. Kinda a clue that their deity is a first class screw up.

      • wtfwjtd

        “Yeah, god himself came to earth to save the world and no one noticed…”

        I’m as unimpressed as you are, and apparently those who actually wrote things down about important people at the time were pretty unimpressed, as well. It’s as though Jesus, who was his father, the creator of the universe, had a bag of tricks that’s no different than any other parlor-trick magician of his day. How inconvenient for Christians, and how just a little too coincidental for those who tie themselves in knots trying to explain away all the contradictions this poses.

    • Michael Neville

      Josephus, who wrote extensively about early 1st Century happenings in Galilee in general and Jerusalem in particular, never mentioned Jesus. The Testamonium Flavianum is almost certainly a 4th Century forgery by a Christian apologist named Eusebius.

      • wtfwjtd

        It’s funny, when you ask apologists to name one, just one contemporary eyewitness account of Jesus apart from the gospel stories, you get names like Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, and on and on. Notice the bait-and-switch? As you know, these are not contemporary sources, but much later writings. And yes, there is almost universal agreement that at least *part* of that supposed rather vague reference to some fellow named Jesus in the Testamonium is almost certainly a forgery, done by a guy who specialized in forgeries and falsifications of various early documents(Eusebius). But I guess the reason it’s so hard-fought over by Christians is, because it’s practically all they’ve got. And it’s still not a contemporary account, at that.

        • Michael Neville

          Josephus, who was the oldest of the people you mentioned, was born in 37 CE, years after Jesus supposedly was wandering through Palestine and hanging around on the cross.

        • Kodie

          I once looked up the average lifespan of a person at that time, and it wasn’t very old. Not much older than Jesus was supposed to be when he died. This brings me to the major point that this: god had an emergency. This is why I looked up the average lifespan, now that I think about it. Anyway, god had an emergency to save humanity. He tried once and failed already with Noah, so this time, he impregnated a young woman who was supposedly a virgin, so that would be a miracle how she got pregnant and how we would know this baby is the messiah.

          Then this baby is born, then this baby is almost killed because of politics. A lot of babies then were supposedly killed just to try to nip this savior baby in the bud? But the savior miraculously escaped the justice of the times, and no one mourns how many babies were murdered. I mean, I think, literally, no holiday honors these deaths of “innocent” babies, I mean, yes, they were innocent, but they weren’t Jesus. (I have just read about the Feast of the Innocents for the first time, so no, this is not a holiday anyone I’ve ever heard of celebrating or going to church for the occasion*). They were murdered for the crime of being a baby boy in a particular place at a particular time, like a fucking holocaust. Come on, this is already absurd. Kill anyone who might be the messiah we heard about. Soldiers are invading homes to search for someone they heard a rumor about. *Speaking of Josephus, he left this out of Herod’s record.

          Then, we wait. 30. fucking. years. Almost everyone who needed to be saved when Jesus was born has been dead a while. (Maybe these are all the other zombies?) We’ve heard that god can create a man from dirt, but he only did it that one time, and Adam failed. He killed by drowning, all the animals and people except for Noah, his wife and sons, and their wives, and 2 of every exotic animal, i.e. zebras and giraffes and lions, and maybe penguins or elephants (I never see a cow or a dog waiting in line to board), when he could have painlessly euthanized or evaporated all the people, and started again with dirt. He didn’t need Jesus, he could just rapture all those people to heaven and re-educate them there.

          We just get to a very weird place, like people asking why they exist, why anyone exists, and being taught that only because of god is their life important. God appears to be playing with a dollhouse and keeps changing throughout the bible, and gains some capabilities later on, but loses the ability to do other things, and for some reason, needs to create Jesus in the slowest way possible in the “loving” effort to save people who are otherwise unforgivable. He can’t just forgive people, he needs to test them. I don’t know how this all works. It sounds so stupid. My main objection to religion is how stupid it sounds, and I can’t believe grown adults cling to this superstition, sometimes violently or with petty vengeance. Same with other religions, not just Christianity, but Christianity doesn’t sound like a smart person’s religion.

        • wtfwjtd

          The Jesus story reminds me of some farm houses I’ve seen in this area. One gets built, and then someone comes along later and adds a room to it, and then another room gets tacked on, and then maybe a garage is built nearby. And then, maybe a “connecting passage” is tacked on…I guess it made sense to whoever did the work at the time, but after several of these additions and tack-ons the thing starts to get jumbled, and pretty soon it’s just an irreconcilable mess that’s clear to anyone looking at it that it was poorly thrown together with little thought beforehand. It was just someone doing whatever was convenient with whatever material they had on hand at the time. After a while, it’s beyond fixing, they only remedy is to bulldoze it and start over…
          Taking some of the stories of the god of the Old Testament, and then trying to make him into Jesus, and then adding a bunch of supernatural bullshit to try and band-aid it together, no wonder it turns out to be a mess that sounds hokey to anyone who didn’t grow up indoctrinated in it. From the story of the slaughter of babies that you mentioned, to the zombie apocalypse that Bob discusses, none of these stories seem even remotely plausible when given the slightest bit of scrutiny. And that would be fine, if it was just viewed as a story, we could let it go. But since so many people take it seriously, and think it actually happened, and therefore “God” is telling them to do all sorts of horrible stuff to other people, it’s imperative that it gets dismantled and shown for the bull shit that it really is. I love how you do this, your take on the baby-killing story and related nonsense really highlights some serious absurdities!

          If this stuff wasn’t so harmful to so many people it would be easy to just laugh it off and ignore it. I also object to the stupidity, but I’m also disturbed by the actual harm that it causes, both direct and indirect.

        • Greg G.

          no one mourns how many babies were murdered.

          Matthew made the story up to fulfill a pretend prophecy which he quotes:

          Jeremiah 31:15 (NRSV)15 Thus says the Lord:A voice is heard in Ramah,    lamentation and bitter weeping.Rachel is weeping for her children;    she refuses to be comforted for her children,    because they are no more.

          When Josephus was captured, he told Vespasian that he was the prophesied ruler to come out of Judea. Vespasian did become emperor. Josephus has a lot about prophecies that are not in the known texts he is writing about, so we should suspect he adds such things to his writings whenever he feels like it.

          In Exodus, the pharaoh fears the size of the Israeli population, so he has the male babies killed to reduce the growth. In volume 2 of Antiquities, Josephus says the pharaoh feared a prophecy. Josephus says Moses’ father had a warning in a dream, but that is not in Exodus, either. Josephus gets multiple dream warnings.

          In volume 17 of Antiquities, Josephus tells of Herod fearing that nobody would be sad when he died, so he invited important men from all over to have them killed when Herod died, to make sure everybody was mourning. Josephus also says Herod feared a prophecy of the Pharisees and that he had his own son executed.

          Matthew combined all of that to invent the baby killing story. Then he had the family flee to Egypt so he could quote from Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

          The Wise Men from the East are probably based on the mention of the Pharisees “were believed to have the foreknowledge of things to come by Divine inspiration,”

        • wtfwjtd

          “In Exodus, the pharaoh fears the size of the Israeli population, so he has the male babies killed to reduce the growth.”

          How bizarre, when game departments are trying to limit the size of an animal population, such as deer, they encourage thinning the *female* population, as killing the males of a species have little to no effect on overall herd size.

          I guess Pharaoh wasn’t much of a conservationist.

        • Kodie

          I’m talking about people today. Maybe some celebrate the Feast of the Innocents, but I’m sure most don’t give it a second thought. I just found out that it was a thing, so mourning the bloodshed of innocent babies to head off “the messiah,” fiction though it may be, I mean, is, doesn’t seem to concern anyone these days, that it’s not even something I was aware of. As for being fiction, that never stopped any believer, so I would expect believers to remember this thing that was alleged to have happened that baby Jesus barely escaped, but killed so many others.

          They only care that it’s just one of a series of miracles in which Jesus thwarts efforts to squish him out of existence for being the savior, and he escapes yet another hazard to achieve his “destiny”. Not that we didn’t have to all wait an extra 30 years for him to lead a cult, not that other babies were murdered in cold blood, just the awe of what petty fear those mean-heads had about Jesus, Jesus Jesus Jesus WINS!

        • Greg G.

          Maybe some celebrate the Feast of the Innocents, but I’m sure most don’t give it a second thought.

          It must be a Catholic thing. I never knew anybody who admitted to observing it.

    • aCultureWarrior

      LOL…Neil and Bob, funny, that’s what I call two homosexuals walking down the street together here in Sodomy and Gonorrhea North (Seattle). Wait, isn’t that where Bob’s from?
      C. Famous with overwhelming collaborating evidence.
      Read the story of Jesus feeding 5,000. Many biblical scholars believe the number was between 15-20 thousand.
      The Feeding of the Five Thousand: Did It Really Happen?/ crossexamined. org

    • WCB

      If somebody died, and was later resurrected, and a number of these resurrections had indeed happened, there would have been some rather difficult legal repercussions. If a man died and his widow remarried, and he arose from his grave, very much alive whose wife was she? If his belongings had been dispersed among heirs, did he have a right to regain his property?

      If this had happened, it would not have bee something that would not have been noticed, and the rather legalistic Jews of that day and age would have written extensively about these problems which would have been mention in the Talmud which deals extensively with various legal situations. That nobody ever had to deal with such tricky legal situations, and written of how this was all resolved strongly indicates all of this resurrection busiess was mythological, a fantasy, a lie to wow the yokels.

  • “…the disciples could’ve replied that Jerusalem was crawling with zombies, so what’s one more?”

    Jesus wasn’t a zombie; he was a lich.

  • Candy Smith
    • Greg G.

      The unnamed author at gotquestions says, “The raising of the saints fits into the overall rhetorical devices and strategies used by Matthew in his gospel.” Apparently the author doesn’t believe it actually happened.

      If it did happen, then Paul got it all wrong in 1 Corinthians 15:20 because Jesus was not the “first-fruits” because the first-fruits would be those zombies raised when Jesus died.