Silver-Bullet Argument #26: Jesus Was Wrong About the End

Silver-Bullet Argument #26: Jesus Was Wrong About the End August 13, 2019

Prophecies are a big deal in the Bible. For example, Matthew claims that Jesus’s virgin birth fulfilled a prophecy made in the book of Isaiah. (It didn’t, because there was no such prophecy in Isaiah.)

Showing that the Bible has an error is a pretty good argument against Christianity, but we have bigger fish to worry about. Jesus, the omniscient second person of the Trinity, predicted the end of the world in the lifetime of his audience. Two thousand years later, we can safely say that that prophecy failed. Jesus being wrong is a silver-bullet argument against Christianity.

(This is a continuation of a list that begins here.)

What Jesus predicted

Jesus said, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

What are “all these things”? A few verses earlier, he described some of them: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

So (1) we’re talking about something that is truly apocalyptic if the contents of the universe are being rearranged or destroyed, and (2) this will happen within the lives of those hearing him.

We’d know if that happened. It didn’t, and Jesus was wrong.

Most Christians reject this obvious conclusion, which frees them to invent countless end-times predictions of their own (illustrated here).

Jesus was an Apocalyptic prophet. That’s not simply to say that he predicted the end. He did, but Apocalypticism was an entire worldview popular within Judaism at the time of Jesus. For example, Bart Ehrman argues that the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are from a Jewish (not Christian) community, are full of Apocalyptic ideas. The book of Daniel (written in the 160s BCE) is another example of this genre.

Jesus wasn’t an outlier, the lone eccentric in Jerusalem holding a sign saying, “The end is nigh!” He shared a worldview that was widespread in his time. Another clue that Jesus had an Apocalyptic viewpoint is that predicting an imminent end was a common trait of this literature.

The failed prediction elsewhere in the New Testament

Not only did Jesus think the end was nigh, Paul did, too. He wrote:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [that is, died]. . . . For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:20–23).

The firstfruits were those few fruits that ripened first that were given as an offering to Yahweh. Jesus here is the firstfruits. The full harvest (in this analogy, those who follow Jesus) would follow soon afterwards. Here again we see the imminence of the prediction.

This idea is mirrored in the raising of the dead immediately after Jesus’s resurrection:

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 27:52–3).

Jesus had risen, as had some of the pious dead from Jerusalem, so the end was apparently around the corner. (More on the story of the rising of the dead here.)

We have another clue that Paul thought the end would come soon. Here, Paul was responding to a question within one of his congregations. The assumption had apparently been that Jesus would return and scoop up all worthy followers. But time was dragging on, and church members were dying. What about them? Will those who’ve died also get the reward that is due those who were still? Paul responds:

For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:15).

In other words, Jesus will take his own, even if some have died. The possibility that Jesus won’t return for millennia, and no one of this early church will still be alive, is obviously not an option.

What else didn’t Jesus know?

Jesus didn’t know a lot of things. But give the guy a break—it’s not like he was perfect.

  • In a crowd of people, a woman with a bleeding problem touched Jesus’s robe and was healed (Mark 5:25–34). After the incident, “Jesus realized that power had gone out from him” and demanded to know who had touched him. Oddly, Jesus’s power is treated as a limited quantity, like energy in a battery. Doesn’t the Trinity have an infinite supply? But for our purposes, the more interesting question is why he had to ask who touched him. How could he not have known?
  • Jesus said that the end would come soon, but he didn’t know the exact time: “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36).*
  • Jesus promised that prayers are answered and that his followers would be able to do magic greater than he. Alas, it doesn’t work that way.
  • Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith (Luke 7:9) and amazed at the lack of faith in his hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6:5–6). Omniscient being aren’t supposed to be amazed.

Concluded with a look at how Christian apologists respond in part 2.

The achievements of theologians
don’t do anything,
don’t affect anything,
don’t mean anything.
What makes anyone think that “theology”
is a subject at all?
— Richard Dawkins

.
*Jesus said: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36). Paul said something similar: “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

But let us not forget the Harold Camping Maneuver (made famous in 2011 when Brother Camping’s predicted date for the Rapture came and went without incident). Camping points out that Paul continues: “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness” (1 Thess. 5:4–5).

In other words, ordinary people will be surprised by the end, but the chosen will not.

Unfortunately, Harold Camping was completely surprised. So much for the Bible being correct about the supernatural. But perhaps Camping could take comfort knowing that he had much company in his failure.

.

Image from Retrogasm, CC license

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  • epeeist

    the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven

    Seemingly Jesus didn’t know that the moon only shines by reflected light nor that the stars are spread out over billions of light years and are not set in a celestial sphere.

    • You’ve stolen what I was just about to say. One expects the Son -or whatever, the Holy Trinity is a mess- of an omniscient deity would know facts people of his era did not.

      • Michael Neville

        If you’re going to role play then you should do it right. You should only talk about those things your character would know about.

    • Greg G.

      Jesus forgot that human vision was incapable of seeing the black-body radiation emitted by the moon. Jesus knows everything but he can’t recall all of it at once. A star falling from heaven means it falls into a black hole at the center of its galaxy. And when he says “this generation”, he means God’s generation. Or something.

      /s

    • Michael Murray

      But He needed to play a man of the times. Probably Dad used a temporary confundus charm.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Recommended:
    Examination of the Prophecies by Thomas Paine

  • Steven Watson

    You are confusing the later Christology/Theology of the proto-Orthodox with the Christologies/Theologies of the various NT writers. Only the Gospel of John can be said to portray Jesus as a god. The Trinity is unknown to the NT. Chistianity has never mapped to its sacred texts. Even within the NT, the texts don’t cohere terribly well with one another. Good luck getting any but the choir to pay attention: Christians haven’t been bothered by any of this for two millenia, they are hardly going to start now.

    • Greg G.

      Matthew’s Jesus was made out to be another Moses with both of them surviving the killing of infants but Matthew was getting his story from Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews instead of from Exodus. We can tell because Josephus had a dream warning for the father but Exodus did not and Herod’s motive for the baby killing was from a prophecy, like the Antiquities story instead of a concern about the size of the population in Exodus.

      Luke has an even more supernatural conception, though. It is something like the Seduction of Paulina in Antiquities 18.3.4 (the paragraph immediately following the Testimonium Flavianum).

      Edited the HTML

  • NS Alito

    IIRC from Bart Ehrman’s Forged, one of the features that distinguished the “forged” epistles of Paul from the others were references to church “deacons”. The Christian church in Paul’s time would not yet have become structured enough to have deacons, inasmuch as Jesus was going to come back Real Soon Now.

    • Greg G.

      Paul never talked about raising a family. He didn’t think anybody should get married or have sex but if they couldn’t resist the sex, they should get married but only for that reason. He thought everybody should be preparing to meet the Lord at all times.

      When Paul talked about the dead when the Lord came, it was always in the third person plural but for the living, he used the first person plural.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Didn’t Paul talk about how everyone should become eunuchs? Because, you know, if God is coming next week, there is no reason to have kids.

        • Greg G.

          Didn’t Paul talk about how everyone should become eunuchs?

          That was Jesus in Matthew 19:12.

          Paul did say that he wished the circumcision faction would go the whole way and emasculate themselves in Galatians 5:11-12. Paul was quite sarcastic in his opposition to circumcision.

          I wonder if the author of Matthew missed Paul’s sarcasm and modified it to have the words come out of Jesus’ mouth.

      • Being righteous isn’t that hard if you only have to do it for a year or two.

  • NS Alito

    “Jesus realized that power had gone out from him” and demanded to know who had touched him. Oddly, Jesus’s power is treated as a limited quantity, like energy in a battery.

    To be fair, his hit points are restored with time. If enough sick people had touched him in a short period of time, he could have been taken out by a goblin.

    • Maybe the woman who touched Him was a druidess, or a priestess with the domain of Death, or a sorcerer with necromancy and Jesus was hit by a “touch of death” spell.

      It does not explain, however, who she was able to bypass Jesus’ SR. One expects He’d have a high one.

    • People think it’s just fun and games being a god, but yeah, there are things to worry about.

  • RichardSRussell

    Every cake is a miraculous fulfillment of a prophecy called a recipe.

    • NS Alito

      Keeper.

  • Well, there only needs to be one person somewhere on the planet who is but twice the age of Methuselah to make the prophecy possible.

    Just sayin’…

    • Greg G.

      Well, there only needs to be one person somewhere on the planet who is but twice the age of Methuselah to make the prophecy possible.

      I feel like that could be me. I don’t remember being born.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      The wandering Jew.

      The post doesn’t address the apologetics of the prophesy regarding the stretching the concept of “generation” but it has caused enough problem over the years to lead to the legend of “the wandering Jew,” the person from that time who can’t die until the end of the world.

      This was part of the story in the movie The Seventh Sign, where the guy was trying to help bring on the end of times so he could die.

  • Doubting Thomas

    The Mormons get around this by claiming the apostle John is still alive. He’s apparently the world’s all time hide-and-go-seek champion since no one has spotted him for a couple of millennia.

    Which just show’s why Mormonism is my favorite religion. Every time you think you’ve heard the craziest part, they one-up themselves.

  • ephemerol

    There was a point at which I began to notice how in my church, some versions of a biblical story idea were put into heavy rotation, while other versions received no airplay at all.

    Believe it or not, there are six different versions within the canonical gospels of the story idea found in Matthew 24:3-35, and it is recast into 4 different settings. It is copied almost word-for-word in Luke 21:7-33. Obviously this concept was a popular one, either for propagandistic reasons, because it’s something that Jewish and Christian zealots craved alike, or both.

    In my church, the Matthew 24 and Luke 21 versions were the only versions that I ever heard anyone quote, and the reason why is because the apologetic for it was the easiest to come up with due to a potential ambiguity. Its recitation would always be followed with:

    Which generation is he referring to? That of his own day, or of the generation that is present when ‘all these things’ begin to happen? Well, since it obviously didn’t happen within Jesus’ own generation, I guess we know which one he meant!”

    The other 4 versions received no airplay because there isn’t the same ambiguity about the time frame being referred to. Even though we loved to echo the “methodology” of “letting scripture interpret scripture,” we had absolutely zero interest in doing so when it came to Matthew 24/Luke 21, so we didn’t.

    Versions 3 and 4 are arguably the earliest, because it’s the only one in Mark, which then gets copied nearly verbatim into Matthew 26:63-64:

    Mark:14:
    61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
    62 And Jesus said, I am: and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

    Nope, the son of man never came within the timeframe of the high priest’s lifetime…

    Matthew 10:
    16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.

    23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

    There aren’t that many cities in Israel. It’s just not that big. Nope, the son of man didn’t come within this timeframe either.

    Matthew 16:
    28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

    Everyone standing anywhere during the first century all “tasted death” and neither the son of man nor his kingdom ever showed up.

    Let’s face it, this was great stuff during the lifetimes of the guys who wrote this propagandistic drivel, and they probably couldn’t imagine the con would last much beyond that anyway, so why not make as much hay as possible while the son of man shines? They knew this was just something they pulled out of their asses, but by the time anyone noticed, they’d be long gone and it wouldn’t matter.

    Finally, let’s not forget what is said about this in the only scriptures these first century authors recognized at the time they wrote:

    Deuteronomy 18:
    21 And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?
    22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is a thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

    So there you have it, folks. Jesus was not god. He was not the savior. If he existed at all, he was just a false prophet who spoke presumptuously.

    • Joe

      . For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

      What about the rest of the world? Or was Jesus’s plan to cut them all loose and only take a few converted Israelites with him?

      • ephemerol

        You see, he was talking to the disciples of his earthly ministry here. All 11 12 13, well, nevermind how many, were just sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Only Paul, all by his little ol’ lonesome, was sent to the whole rest of the world. Because Jebus was a genius at the division of labor…

        • Joe

          Paul, the guy that fell off his horse and banged his head on a trip to Damascus? He’d be better off with an administrative role in the new church.

        • ephemerol

          That’s the one.

          “So, let’s see, the rest of the world isn’t important, and frankly, I’d really rather not save them, if possible. But still, I should at least be able to point to something, just in case someone says I’m unfair. I’ll send just one guy. What about this one with the brain injury?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a1c56c141c4be2b78be70d7d9bd1183060e3040d5f4600e1897ce123c1e26259.gif

          Uncle Owen, this one has a bad motivator. Perfect!”

      • eric

        I think we can give Jesus a break here, he’s just using a local example to communicate how quick the end will come. The problem is not his exclusively referencing Israel, the problem is the lack of an armageddon.

        • Joe

          So he knows that they’re a lost cause already?

        • RichardSRussell

          I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard “lack of an Armageddon” referred to as a problem.

      • You’re forgetting everything there seems to have been written by Israelites for Israelites, and the rest of the world be damned -see the BoR and how the saved ones are 144,000 from the tribes of Israel, while everyone else not-, at least until Paul.

        There’re also claims of the verse in Matthew (not sure exactly where it’s) where His invitation to his disciples to basically bring the “good news” to the world is present being a forgery.

  • skl

    It’s a wonder they didn’t leave the problematic passages on
    the cutting room floor when they were putting the bible together.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Maybe they didn’t recognize them as problematic. As you might be aware, Christians can be oblivious at times.

    • Greg G.

      The Bible was put together by a committee. Politics were involved. Some books may have been riders to get the votes for a different section. The canon may have been assembled like a bill in Congress, which is like making sausage.

      • skl

        So, you’re saying some wheeled and dealed to make sure the problematic
        passages were included in the final product.

        I might be interested in seeing the evidence for that, and
        particularly in what their motivations were.

        • Greg G.

          No, they wheeled and dealed to get their favorite book added. They didn’t think anything in it was problematic. Many verses only become problematic when combined with passages in other books through canonization.

          Most of the canon followed what Irenaeus used in the second century. But here is his reasoning for why there should be four gospels:

          The Gospels could not possibly be either more or less in number than they are. Since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is spread over all the earth, and the pillar and foundation of the Church is the gospel, and the Spirit of life, it fittingly has four pillars, everywhere breathing out incorruption and revivifying men. From this it is clear that the Word, the artificer of all things, being manifested to men gave us the gospel, fourfold in form but held together by one Spirit. As David said, when asking for his coming, ‘O sitter upon the cherubim, show yourself ‘. For the cherubim have four faces, and their faces are images of the activity of the Son of God. For the first living creature, it says, was like a lion, signifying his active and princely and royal character; the second was like an ox, showing his sacrificial and priestly order; the third had the face of a man, indicating very clearly his coming in human guise; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, making plain the giving of the Spirit who broods over the Church. Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these.    Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.11

          The gospels seem to have been written in sequence with each trying to improve its predecessors in order to replace them. The “improvements” end up being problematic when they are combined.

          The Epistle of James appears to be a response to the Epistle to the Galatians. Romans and 1 Corinthians appear to have some responses to the Epistle of James. Now that they are canonized together, Christians must deny the conflicts and reconcile the books.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I’m certainly convinced by Irenaeus’ unimpeachable reasoning.

        • Greg G.

          Look at all the evidence he brings to the table to support his premises!

        • Michael Neville

          Irenaeus forgot several other proofs: the four humours, four suits in a deck of cards, Three Four Stooges (Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp, Curly Joe was not a real Stooge), four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, four Mutant Ninja Turtles, four seasons, four years of high school, four chambers of the heart, four members of a string quartet, the list is almost endless.

        • 28 Howard Johnson’s flavors, 2 all-beef patties, Heinz 57 varieties–I can find solid support for anything.

        • Kuno

          Ah, but there were six members of Monty Python! Checkmate!

        • Well, yeah–there are just 4 directions. I can’t see any way around that.

        • Lark62

          Yep And clearly three of those diections are nearly identical.☺

        • skl

          They didn’t think anything in it was problematic. Many verses only become problematic when combined with passages in other books through canonization.
          … The gospels seem to have been written in sequence with each trying to improve its predecessors in order to replace them. The “improvements” end up being problematic when they are combined.

          I’ve read that the scholars say the first gospel written was Mark. You seem to be saying that Mark, taken by itself, has no problematic passages. Bob S. and commenters here appear to be saying otherwise.

        • Greg G.

          You seem to be saying that Mark, taken by itself, has no problematic passages.

          You seem to have taken too many drugs.

          I said, “The gospels seem to have been written in sequence with each trying to improve its predecessors in order to replace them.” Irenaeus influenced that there to be four gospels and those four specifically.

          The collection of Christian writings that they had were a mess of contradictions and absurdities. There were many Christianities based on the tales of so many texts so nobody knew what to believe. So they got a bunch of scholars (who didn’t know where the sun went at night and thought Irenaeus was a genius) to canonize certain texts to reduce the number of problematic verses. If their goal had been that, they would have succeeded but their goal was to eliminate them completely. They failed.

          Get some Ehrman books. If you order Misquoting Jesus, Lost Christianities, and Forged, you should be able to get free shipping.

        • skl

          It’s a wonder they didn’t leave the problematic passages of
          Mark
          on the cutting room floor when they were putting the bible together.

          Good night.

        • Greg G.

          The canonization process was supposed to separate the sacred from the unsacred. If you have to cut stuff out, it’s not sacred so it shouldn’t be considered at all.

          It’s not like they were doing science. They had a few centuries to work out the details and that’s the best they could do.

        • You seem to have taken too many drugs.

          That, or get back on his meds?

        • Conflicting passages might’ve been kept because they couldn’t get rid of favorite stories. Why have two Goliath stories? Because no one wanted to lose either one (or each one had proponents).

        • skl

          Right now I’m more interested in the problematic NT
          passages you listed above. For example: “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

          Given the heavens and the world still existed hundreds of
          years and many generations later when they were piecing the bible together, they could have excised that conflicting-with-reality verse.

        • Lark62

          The books were well known and well liked. It was easier to delete entire books than to chop selected passages.

        • ildi

          For example: “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

          Given the heavens and the world still existed hundreds of years and many generations later when they were piecing the bible together, they could have excised that conflicting-with-reality verse.

          The obvious answer is that by the time the New Testament was codified hundreds of years after the generation passed away and nothing came to pass as literally promised, the interpretation became what it is now thousands of years later: generation was not meant to be taken literally (or meant something different back then or it’s a mystery, or whatever the current apologetics is).

        • Lark62

          And two creation stories,
          And two flood stories,
          And two sets of ten commandments,
          And multiple feed the multitude stories,
          And four different last words of Jesus
          And two different dates for the crucifixion
          And, and and

      • Michael Murray

        Presumably no pork barrels being traded though.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          How about pork *bellies* ? 🙂

    • Joe

      Why? Only a privileged few were allowed to read the Bible at the time. In any case, who’s to say that they didn’t?

    • Michael Neville

      There were whole books left on the cutting room floor. Is the Gospel of Thomas, the Vision of Ezra, the Apocalypse of Moses (also known as the Life of Adam and Eve) or the Lives of the Prophets in your Bible?

      • Or the Gospel of Mary, where Mary Magdalene is presented as Jesus’ most loved one and second to Him. Given Paul’s mysoginy and it being a gnostic text it’s understarable it was left out.

        Who knows what others will have been lost to history.

      • Heck, I wonder if the books of Maccabees are in skl’s Bible (because two of them are in the Roman Catholic Bible).

      • Even Adam’s FIRST wife Lilith gets little bible mention! So, we have a second creation story to re-write the record!

        Lilith: Lady Flying in Darkness

        https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/lilith-lady-flying-in-darkness/

    • Michael Murray

      You mean the ones where Jesus kills children ?

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

      • skl

        The ones noted by Bob S. above.

      • Jesus was just a little rambunctious. What kid hasn’t killed one of their friends?

        • Michael Murray

          I blame the parents. Crazy hippie lifestyle with two fathers one of who thinks He’s all high and mighty. All this forgive and forget rubbish. Nothing a regular stoning wouldn’t have sorted out. No surprise how he ended up.

        • So you’re a “stone them first and ask questions later” kinda guy. I like the cut of your jib, sir.

    • Which does what to eliminate the problematic passages in the Bible?

      • skl

        That sounds like some kind of trick question, but I’ll play
        along.

        Well, it leaves them on the cutting room floor and outside
        of the bible.

        • You’re speculating about a problem-free Bible. That’s not what we have.

          You’re trying to salvage the Bible by puzzling over why the editors left in the problematic passages. That’s fine, but it’s a tangent. We have a Bible with problematic passages. Deal with it.

        • skl

          You’re trying to salvage the Bible by puzzling over why the editors left in the problematic passages. That’s fine, but it’s a tangent. We have a Bible with problematic passages. Deal with it.

          What I’d like dealt with right now are the problematic NT
          passages which you listed above, for example: “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

          Given the heavens and the world still existed hundreds of
          years and many generations later when they were piecing the bible together, they could have excised that conflicting-with-reality verse.

        • Well, you can just puzzle away on that. Let us know what you come up with.

          A skeptic like yourself should be focused on the traits of the Bible that make it look like it was manmade with no divine intervention.

          (Or should I have put quotation marks around “skeptic”?)

        • skl

          Well, you can just puzzle away on that. Let us know what you come up with.

          I had hoped you would come up with something.

          A skeptic like yourself should be focused on the traits of the Bible that make it look like it was manmade with no divine intervention.

          Right now I’m focused on your OP. And I go back again to my first post and the subsequent ones.

        • Right now I’m focused on your OP.

          You’re going off onto a tangent. Thanks for the suggestion; I have nothing to add.

          Now, if you want to talk about why the Bible is full of idiocies that make it look manmade, I’ll have more to say.

        • skl

          I don’t see it as a tangent. I see it as drilling down
          further on the very point of your OP.

        • ildi

          skl comments are like Groundhog Day but no Bill Murray to make it funny and no happy resolution

        • MR

          Even Bill Murray learned from his mistakes. When skl is confronted with his mistakes, he just says good night.

    • Lark62

      There wouldn’t have been much left.

      The men who voted on which books to keep still had to deal with public pressure. The gospel of John was very popular even though it contradicted the 3 synoptic “plagiarized from each other” gospels in numerous places. Including minor stuff like which day Jesus was bumped off.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Jesus realized that power had gone out from him” and demanded to know
    who had touched him. Oddly, Jesus’s power is treated as a limited
    quantity,

    Need more manna potions! Where is that alchemist!

    • Joe

      Alternatively, take an overnight rest at an inn.

  • Lex Lata

    I see. So Jesus is less of a carpenter and more like a cable guy.

  • RichardSRussell

    Oh, for goodness’ sake! Why are they still talking about the 2nd coming of Christ? The very people promoting this idea are apparently incapable of reading their own holy book (Matthew 24:30-34), where Jesus clearly says he’ll be returning during the lifetime of his own disciples. But guess what? He didn’t! Didn’t come back then, hasn’t come back since, isn’t back now, and won’t be coming back in the future.

    And why not? Because he’s DEAD, you fools! Dead, dead, dead! Dead and gone. Dead and buried. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a rock. Dead as a dodo. Flatlined like Kansas. Belly-up like a dynamited carp. Dead and never coming back!

    It’s been TWO THOUSAND YEARS, people. Time to get over it. I’ve heard of slow learners, but this is ridiculous. Sheesh. Grow up and face reality.

    • Lex Lata

      Ah, but don’t you see? If you keep guessing the year of the Second Coming wrong, eventually you’ll guess right! Just like if you keep rolling the dice, sooner or later you’ll get a royal flush.

      • Greg G.

        Just like if you keep rolling the dice, sooner or later you’ll get a royal flush.

        I nominate that for Chez Watt of the Month, like we did on talk.origins.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Yeah, but your correct percentage takes a *serious* hit 😉

    • Kuno

      Nah, he’s just pining for the fjords.

    • With apologies to M.T.A. by the Kingston Trio

      But did he ever return?
      No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
      (Poor old Jesus)
      We may read about him forever ‘wean the pages of Bible fable
      He’s the New Testy-ment demigod who never returned

    • “Mythological events do not intersect the historical timeline.” — Dale C Allison

  • Brian Curtis

    Pointing out factual errors is fun, but ultimately not very persuasive to diehard believers. Heck, many of them will confidently declare “Every single prophecy in the Bible was fulfilled. EVERY ONE.” And then, when you ask for an example, you discover that they don’t actually know any prophecies; it’s just something they heard from a preacher, and why would a preacher lie?

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      Even the ones that aren’t prophecies!

      • I’m on the lookout for some random passage in the OT that can be spun as a prophecy with as much validity as many of the claimed prophecies today’s Christians point to. It’d make a good comparison–“You don’t think this one’s a valid prophecy? Then why think the others are?”

        • Greg G.

          I saw a Jewish website somewhere that listed prophecies Jesus didn’t fulfill.

        • Good suggestion, thanks.

          What I think would be more interesting is using a non-prophecy. After all, Isaiah 7 is not a prophecy about some distant savior. (It was a prophecy of sorts, but that was fulfilled in 10 years or so.)

          Think of what passes for a prophecy in Matthew–2:18, for instance.
          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+2%3A17-18&version=NIV

          I haven’t thought about this much, so what would be a suitable passage is admittedly confused.

  • epicurus

    And on top of Paul thinking the end was coming soon in Romans 13:11 he says it’s “even nearer” than first believed. So even sooner than within a generation? Yet here we are 2 thousand years later. No wonder so many apologists are out there. It’s a big job convincing Christians that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says.

  • Excellent overview! Here’s a vid I did: Was Jesus an Apocalypticist? featuring Ehrman, Collins & Stuckenbruck from my flick about Harold Camping that can be summed up Mark 9.1 to May 21.

    https://youtu.be/cMJj59bA8-E

    • Greg G.

      At the last major intersection on my way home for work, there was a billboard that said “You will meet the Lord when you die!” and had lots of fire around the edges. On the other side of the street was a billboard that said, “Jesus is coming on May 21.” I always thought, “Oh, maybe I won’t have to die to meet him after all.” Oh, well, maybe the first billboard was right.

      • Harold Camping was able to unify both atheists & Christians. Both groups hated Harold. Atheists hated him for being another End Times charlatan & stealing people’s cash, and Christians hated Harold because he embarrassed them. Harold was a unifier! Since I’m a PR team of 1, Greg G, here’s the trailer for my film Apocalypse Later. It’s free on Amazon Prime, a few bucks on YouTube & iTunes, and free (with commercials) at TubiTV.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6zEUCiyFqg

    • epicurus

      First few minutes look good. Got ‘er bookmarked, will watch later in week when I have more time.

      • epicurus

        Oops, meant this to be a reply to your later comment about your longer documentary. Not that this one doesn’t look good as well.

      • un-humbled & blessed. Thank you.

        • epicurus

          Just finished your Camping documentary onTubi. Great stuff, I really enjoyed it. He seems like such a nice guy I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for him, as opposed to an obnoxious knob like, say, John Haggee. I’ll give him credit for admitting he was wrong, even though he of course was only going to go a step or two down the road of questioning what he believed. Interesting how he dodged the question of his earlier belief of churches still being run by Satan since 1988. Anyway, Well done!

        • Thank you for checking it out. Please rate it where possible (IMDB, Amazon Prime, iTunes) & I’ll send you a Thanksgiving dinner invite. I think a lot of the anger directed towards Camping is misdirected. To me, the real issue is the perpetuation of the idea of a Second Coming. No Second Coming, no Harold Campings. And if reporters of religion told folks that many scholars think Paul was wrong about the timing of the end, and ditto Jesus! that might change the discussion & reaction to End Times predictors. End Times excitement was likely one of the foundational elements in the birth of Christianity. From that view, Harold is a natural outcome.

        • Greg G.

          And if reporters of religion told folks that many scholars think Paul was wrong about the timing of the end, and ditto Jesus! that might change the discussion & reaction to End Times predictors.

          But they would scoff at anybody who tries to tell them that. I have seen how many of them refer to Bart Ehrman for pointing out the problems with the New Testament.

          End Times excitement was likely one of the foundational elements in the birth of Christianity. From that view, Harold is a natural outcome.

          Josephus says that the Jews got into the war with the Romans because of their prophecies and signs they saw (including Halley’s Comet) which made them think the Messiah was coming and would defeat Rome. (See Jewish Wars 6.5.2-4, IIRC) Josephus tells of a false prophet encouraging soldiers to fight to the end because the Messiah was still coming.

          The early Christians were on the same page with that but were reading the Suffering Servant as a long, hidden mystery. For example:

          Romans 16:25-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
          25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—

        • epicurus

          Well, reporters telling folks that many scholars think Paul and Jesus were wrong would fall on deaf ears I believe, because the people who go for the end times/second coming/ apocalyptic business tend to be protestant evangelical (with a few exceptions of course) and most of them are well trained to dismiss “liberal” scholars, and tend to only acknowledge scholars who are in the conservative evangelical tradition (again with an exception here and there). And those evangelical scholars are not going to say Jesus could make a mistake. They just have to say he meant something other than was a plain reading would give. It goes the other way as well – I’ve subscribed to Bart Ehrman’s blog for several years and he used to just say “Scholars” believe x y and z until people brought evangelical scholars views which he dismissed as not being from “serious” scholars. Then some people listed some evangelical scholars Ehrman knew and said he respected and he then said that yes, in fact, they were legitimate scholars. Since then he often will often qualify things by saying scholars who teach in top unversities, or that conservative scholars may disagree, or generally admit that there is a divide between the views of scholars, even though I assume that as an ex Christian he probably doesn’t really respect evangelical scholars that much.

    • Doubting Thomas

      I love the theologian’s quote:

      “Part of the problem of thinking about Jesus as an apocalyptic thinker and player is that Jesus’ expectations of the kingdom of god coming about never happened.”

      That’s not a problem of Jesus as an apocalypticist. That’s a problem of Jesus being wrong.

      Leave it to a theologian to overlook the obvious answer.

      • In fairness to Stuckenbruck, I think Jesus being wrong is inferred in his answer. Yes, Stuckenbruck is finding a less offensive way to say it, but at least he’s dealing with the issue.

        • ephemerol

          Still, in total contradiction of Stuckenbruck’s main point, it’s as problematic to think of gospel-Jesus as an аpocаlyptic thinker as it is problematic to think of Hіtler as a ɴаᴢі.

          That gospel-Jesus was factually wrong in his thinking in no way mitigates the fundamentally аpocаlyptic nature of it.

    • Brother Camping as an Apocalypticist? That’s an interesting idea, but he did predict an imminent end. He just didn’t have the common sense to be vague about the date.

      Unlike Brother Hagee, whose laughable 4 blood moons prophecy came and went with nary a word of apology from the great man himself.

      • I think any “this generation” predictor should be on the same date-setter lists as Camping. In an LA Times article from 1950, Billy Graham said The End would come in 2 years. Jesus, Paul, Billy Graham, their predicted times have come and gone. Whether it’s “this generation” or “in the next 2 years” or “May 21, 2011” — those predictions are all equally wrong. Date-setter pages allow Christians to ignore the plank of Paul and Jesus in their own eye.

    • Great video, BTW. I’ve read The Apocalyptic Movement by Schmithals. It was an interesting time.

      Do you want to point us to a Youtube channel of yours?

      • Thank you, Bob. The only pointing I’m doing is towards the trailer for my flick. I already posted it further down the thread. The film is called “Apocalypse Later: Harold Camping vs The End of the World” and it’s available on AmazonPrime, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, & free (with commercials) at TubiTV. The film features scholars Bart Ehrman & John J Collins. Please check it when you have time. And again, great article. The apocalyptic Jesus is the most overwhelming case for the historical Jesus.
        https://tubitv.com/movies/286022/apocalypse_later

        • The apocalyptic Jesus is the most overwhelming case for the historical Jesus.

          Because a historical Jesus would be a product of his times, and apocalypticism was a popular worldview at that time?

        • Aye. I’m only parroting one of the dominant views in biblical scholarship: that Jesus was a Jewish apocalypticist. The main thrust of Albert Schweitzer’s (& Weiss) original argument has stood the test of time. I’ve heard Ehrman argue it, “The beginning and end are the keys to the middle.” The beginning: Jesus was baptized by an apocalypticist (John). After Jesus’ death (the end), the early church was heavily apocalyptic. Lots of arguments among the early church fathers about the makeup & composition of dead bodies. Like WTF? Well, The End was coming! Otherwise, who’s gonna argue that subject? The general resurrection, likely smuggled in from Zoroastrianism, was a central feature in Jewish and later Christian apocalypticism. So (1) Jesus was preceded by an apocalypticst, and (2) He was followed by a church full of expectant apocalypticists. And (3) Jesus is the link between those two… It’s highly unlikely that He was not also an apocalypticst. Paul clearly thought The End would arrive in the 1st century, we have his letters saying just that. For Jesus, the earliest gospel of Mark has Him making many failed prophecies about the timing of The End. There are apologetic ways to get around it. The NT Wright position, preterism, which is as old as the church itself. Or the Crossan position: the failed prophecies in Mark were not made by Jesus, but that the early church in its apocalyptic fervor wrote those prophecies onto Jesus’ lips. That position (Crossan’s) admits that, yes, in the earliest gospel we have, Jesus makes failed prophecies, but that He didn’t say them. Any scholar of the historical Jesus has to deal with the Apocalyptic Jesus in some way.

        • Nice summary, thanks.

          I’m on board except where you’re saying that this supports the historical (rather than mythical) Jesus. Why couldn’t the reverse be just as true?

        • Do you mean the mythicist position? That Jesus never existed?

        • Right. You’re saying that the Jesus story and the apocalyptic element supports the historicist rather than the mythicist position. Seems to me that both are equally supported by that.

        • Hmm, I don’t know. Just making a snap-judgment, it would seem not to. Even though the criterions (multiple attestation, dissimilarity, etc.) have taken a beating the past decade, the one criterion I still hold dear is the criterion of embarrassment. I’m thinking of John baptizing Jesus here. From a historical Jesus position, rather than the mythicist position, John baptizing Jesus does not appear to be something that Christians would want to preserve. Should not the spiritual superior be doing the baptizing? And in the gospels Christians indeed had to answer for the “memory” of John baptizing Jesus. So they come up with John’s reluctance (“I should be baptizing you.”). In the same vein, would Christians want to maintain a tradition about Jesus predicting an end that never came? If you’re starting from a purely mythicist position, a Jesus making faulty End Times predictions would not be a character-building trait. What we have in the gospels is Jesus making false prophecies, and then later texts trying to wrestle/reinterpret those false prophecies (i.e. Mark 14:62 vs Luke 22:69). In sum, showing Jesus to be wrong about something seems on its face to support an historical Jesus, not a mythicist Jesus. I’ll add, since I’m not an actual scholar, just a fanboy of scholars, I tend to defer to whatever the consensus is among scholars. The mythicist position is still a huge minority position. Outside of the brilliant Richard Carrier, I don’t know of any other big-time scholars who are outright Jesus mythicists. You could include Hector Avalos. Avalos is “agnostic” on the question of Jesus’ existence, but says if Jesus did exist, the apocalyptic Jesus is the most likely scenario. I sympathize with the mythicist position, because the historical Jesus, if there was one, is layered in myth upon myth upon myth. Scholars of the historical Jesus say there are likely only three things we can know about Him. That He was a follower of John the Baptist, He lived in Galilee, and He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. That’s it! Three tiny nuggets of history covered over by endless theological flavoring. Jesus does stuff in the gospels not because He did stuff. He does stuff so later writers can score theological points. So I get the mythicist position, since most of the stuff about Jesus is mythological in nature, but I still think it more likely He was a typical Jewish apocalypticst, like Paul, who thought the End Times would come during His generation.

        • Here again, I don’t see how the mythicist or the historicist side is strengthened by the criterion of embarrassment. In both cases, you have people decades removed from any actual events (in the historicist case, they’d be removed enough that Jesus as a real man or not wouldn’t be relevant) trying to cobble together an accurate version of their church’s story. They could be acting 100% as a journalist, or there could be some deliberate tweaking of the story to conform to the Jewish scriptures.

          As for the criterion of embarrassment in general, the trick IMO is to see if it really is embarrassing. In the case of the 3 denials of Peter, for example, that’s not embarrassing if you don’t like Peter, which might’ve been the case if the Paul faction felt friction with the Peter faction.

          I agree that the consensus view being strongly in favor of the historicist position is important, and that’s why I don’t much get into that debate. On the other hand, keep in mind my recent argument that scholars who’s signed doctrinal statements committing them to a certain position can’t actually claim to be real scholars.

          Robert M. Price is another well-known mythicist who’s written a book on the subject.

          Scholars of the historical Jesus say there are likely only three things we can know about Him. That He was a follower of John the Baptist, He lived in Galilee, and He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. That’s it!

          A problem with the historicist position argued by a Christian NT scholar is that their argument doesn’t just conclude with (say) these three points. Bart Ehrman might be able to stop there, but the Christian scholar’s analysis leads to far more than that–empty tomb, resurrection, son of God, and so on.

          They might stop at just your 3 points just to argue the historicist case, but that’s an artificial stopping point. If a skeptic would disagree with their empty tomb, resurrection, etc. conclusions, why would he accept your 3 points when it all comes as a package?

        • Robert M Price. Good call, thank you. Hector Avalos calls biblical studies an “ecclesial-academic complex.” ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) requires that folks sign on to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. So clearly those dudes ain’t doing anything beyond dressed-up apologetics. SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) does not have a doctrinal line, although Avalos’ book The End of Biblical Studies makes the SBL out to be not much different or better than the ETS. Yes, I agree that most scholars in biblical studies are ultimately defending whatever faith tradition they come from.

        • Greg G.

          From a historical Jesus position, rather than the mythicist position, John baptizing Jesus does not appear to be something that Christians would want to preserve. Should not the spiritual superior be doing the baptizing? And in the gospels Christians indeed had to answer for the “memory” of John baptizing Jesus. So they come up with John’s reluctance (“I should be baptizing you.”).

          Epistle Jesus is not a preacher/teacher from Galilee. Everything the early epistle authors wrote about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. Epistle Jesus is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 3 who was a nobody on Earth but was resurrected, plus some Psalms and other odd verses.

          Mark’s Jesus was like just a dude getting baptized but was like the one millionth customer with the skies opening up and a voice from heaven. There would be no embarrassment because nobody thought of him being special from birth.

          It was not embarrassing for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist until they started inventing the idea that Jesus was special from before his birth.

          In the same vein, would Christians want to maintain a tradition about Jesus predicting an end that never came? If you’re starting from a purely mythicist position, a Jesus making faulty End Times predictions would not be a character-building trait. What we have in the gospels is Jesus making false prophecies, and then later texts trying to wrestle/reinterpret those false prophecies (i.e. Mark 14:62 vs Luke 22:69).

          After Mark was written, there was no going back to Epistle Jesus. Mark probably knew he was writing fiction since he was writing for Romans but the other gospel authors probably didn’t realize it.

          Were they doing the math back then? They had no idea about when the events in Mark were supposed to have occurred. Matthew, Luke, and their readers had no idea how old that generation would have to be. They didn’t number years back then. They measured time by what year it was of the emperor’s reign. One would have to know every emperor and how long each held the position to work it out.

          In sum, showing Jesus to be wrong about something seems on its face to support an historical Jesus, not a mythicist Jesus.

          Jesus could be no more correct than his authors. If the readers are buying that Jesus was pre-existent of born of a virgin, they were probably not convinced that Gospel Jesus was wrong.

          That He was a follower of John the Baptist, He lived in Galilee, and He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. That’s it!

          That is an assumption that the Gospel of Mark was not a fictional story. We can throw out a lot of Mark because they are miracle stories or we can throw them out because they appear to be miracle stories of Elijah, Elisha, Hermes, and even Vespasian. But then we should toss out the non-miracle stories that appear to be taken from other stories, like the things that aMark seems to have borrowed from Jewish Wars. Mark only gives “Pilate” as the name of the governor and that is how Josephus referred to him in Jewish Wars. Luke uses the name “Pontius Pilate” as it appears in Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus described the Sicarii and Judas of Galilee in close proximity in Jewish Wars. Mark could have easily invented Judas Iscariot by transposing two letters and adding that to Judas.

          He was a typical Jewish apocalypticst, like Paul, who thought the End Times would come during His generation.

          Paul traveled around the Mediterranean Sea. Mark had Jesus travel around the “Sea of Galilee” with “sea” being an exaggeration, before going to Jerusalem. Paul shows disdain for Peter, James, and John in Galatians 2:6, 9, but Paul makes them Jesus’ three main sidekicks.

        • I’m not gonna passionately defend the historical Jesus, even though I think it’s likely He existed, and He was a Jewish apocalypticst. There’s no silver-bullet (boom, on theme w/ the title of the post) evidence to support my claim. We can’t know whether or not He existed. And the fact that biblical scholarship only recently came around to the idea of a fictional Moses, and a fictional David, shows fully well that there has long existed a huge blind spot in assuming the historicity of many biblical figures, Jesus included. What I’m mainly interested in is the apocalyptic element in Christianity. That the early church was heavily apocalyptic needs no historical Jesus. I’m interested that many of the same End Times characters (Gog & Magog, antichrist, Jesus) also star in the Islamic script for the End Times. I’m interested that Matthew Sutton has defined fundamentalism as “radical apocalyptic evangelicalism.” Is the apocalyptic a defining characteristic of American Christianity, and is the apocalyptic intertwined with many of the problems we face today? I think it is.

  • Douglas Bailey

    “Only the father knows”, and we know what a lousy communicator he is.
    Do christians ever question:
    Why did god create the “world” if he planned to destroy it? I know some children like to build things and then play crashing and blowing up.
    Did god create pain and suffering just so his “son” could show off his powers? Why not avoid in the first place, or have Jesus heal everyone, not just those who happened to be near?

    • Doubting Thomas

      If god didn’t create the world with all its pain and suffering, then how else would he figure out which 144,000 of his children were worthy of not being tortured forever?

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Worthy? Are you suggesting that THEY did something to earn their salvation? Heresy!

        • Doubting Thomas

          Of course. They won the ass-kissing olympics.

    • Did god create pain and suffering just so his “son” could show off his powers?

      God prolonged the Pharaoh’s rejection of Moses so God could maximize his slapdown. I guess even gods like to brag among each other.

      • Michael Neville

        Besides, according to the propaganda God loves to smite people. “Damn, if I harden Pharaoh’s heart then I can kill a whole bunch of kids. Gotta go for it.”

  • Mythblaster

    I try to read this stuff in the bible, but seriously, who the eff can make any sense out of it? it’s all horse-puckey. Give me a good old murder mystery spy thriller any day. This bible stuff is BORING…

  • Luka

    Every. Single. Religious.
    Claim. CANNOT. Be. Tested.
    every. ONE.

    So why are we protecting a method that ensures the inevitably of confusion?

    Why is religion a protected
    right?

    Are we really giving people permission to be confusing intentionally?
    If you haven’t noticed,
    religion is associated to a heck of a lot of problems.

    • Lex Lata

      “Why is religion a protected right?”

      [Lex dons +3 Hat of Insufferable Pedantry.]

      The principal historical reason is that the folks who wrote and ratified the Constitution were overwhelmingly religious, and viewed the freedom of conscience as a fundamental individual liberty in which the federal government should not interfere, in large part because of their take on Europe’s history of religious strife and oppression. The practical reason today is that an effort to eliminate the Free Exercise Clause is a political non-starter, certain to be opposed not only by this country’s religious majority, but also by Madisonian unbelievers like me who aren’t keen on the idea of the government legislating matters of personal religion (or irreligion).

      “Are we really giving people permission to be confusing intentionally?”

      Dunno how intentional it is. But yes, our system of liberties–freedom of expression, the press, conscience, association, etc.–necessarily includes, in many situations, a corollary right to be wrong.

      “If you haven’t noticed, religion is associated to a heck of a lot of problems.”

      Sure, but also some good things, as with most human enterprises. And governments that make anti-theism an official element of law, policy, and practice have correlated to a heck of a lot of problems, as well. 🙂

      The current research seems to indicate that, when all other factors are controlled for (an important qualifier), there’s actually not a huge difference in the prosocial behaviors of believers and nonbelievers. We’re basically all just goofy primates–good, bad, and ugly–who are inclined to engage in roughly the same levels of charity, kindness, dishonesty, fidelity, violence, etc.

      • Luka

        Strange. If we gave supremacists the same leverage we give religious institutions, we get the same problems…
        and here you are defending a methodology that functions on ambiguity…because you are really interested in progress
        -not.

        And lets not mention the fact that religious indoctrination has brainwashed generations of people into thinking it’s not
        preferable to criticize and challenge religious beliefs.
        The court of public opinion will eventually stomp out this cancer, as we are witnessing an exodus of believers who recognize organized religious beliefs are a huge part of all the problems we are facing

        • Lex Lata

          No objections from me if people leave religion because of discourse in the court of public opinion–a forum that the First Amendment was expressly crafted to protect. If actual courts were used to enforce laws requiring nonbelief, then I’d have a problem.

          Which gets me to a question. Just so I’m clear, are you advocating that the US government outlaw religious belief? You seem to be implying that with your concern about rights, but I might be reading too much into your comments.

        • Luka

          Whatever makes you feel better about defending liars

        • Luka

          To be clear, I want religious beliefs to be regarded as superstition
          I never mentioned legislation you did…a bit of projection it seems

          You are part of the problem as you obviously have a problem with people criticizing faith based claims

        • Lex Lata

          “I want religious beliefs to be regarded as superstition
          I never mentioned legislation you did…a bit of projection it seems”

          No projection, that’s why I genuinely asked for clarification of your position. You asked why religion is a “protected right,” which suggested that you might think it shouldn’t be–a notion with potential significant legal consequences. Glad we’re on the same page.

          “You are part of the problem as you obviously have a problem with people criticizing faith based claims”

          Nowhere have I stated that I have a problem with “people criticizing faith based claims.” In fact, I engage in such criticism myself, and believe it’s a healthy aspect of that court of public opinion we both like. I would have a problem, though, with government deprivation of the right to religious belief (and nonbelief, of course).

          Cheers!

        • Luka

          No no no no no.
          You APPROACHED my CRITICISM of RELIGIOUS BS as if I were advocating for legislation against it.
          My first response should have made REALLY clear what I am advocating for…
          I get it, you’re brainwashed

        • Doubting Thomas

          You come across as a bit of an asshat. If you want to be taken seriously here you should be civil, read for comprehension, and avoid the caps lock.

        • Luka

          Thank you.
          Apparently you didn’t take into consideration that I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me…
          The truth of the matter:
          religion poisons everything

          Now hop on your scooter Sparky

    • Gary Whittenberger

      People should have the right to be mistaken as long as such does not lead to doing harm to others, correct?

      • Luka

        No. People do not have the right to pretend when it comes to a civil discourse. I thought progress involved sorting out social ills??
        Am I crazy for admitting religion ONLY brings confusion to the table?
        Yes of course we have the right to
        be mistaken, but to willfully be mistakened is deceit.
        Clearly you can see religion has its hands in EVERYONES cookie jar

        • Gary Whittenberger

          But most religious people are not lying; they are delusional. They have a right to be deluded. We should not punish them for this.

          When they are lying, that is a different matter. It is often difficult to prove.

        • Luka

          I was referring to you.
          Being a part of a machine that perpetuates ignorance is advocating for deceit…Liars prefer an easy target

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Oh, well that is an uncivil remark, out of place here. Try to stick to the topic of the essay.

        • Luka

          as if advocating for ignorance is civil…Please

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Disagreeing with you is not uncivil I disagree that I am advocating for ignorance. But for you to claim that I am perpetuating ignorance and advocating for deceit, that is uncivil. This discussion is not about me or you. Try to stick to the topic of the essay.

          Some religious people are lying when they make religious claims, but most of them are just delusional. People should have a right to be delusional as long as their delusions don’t produce harmful behavior.

        • Luka

          You approached me because I was criticizing religion. My charge still stands…And I didn’t say disagreeing with me is uncivil I SAID ADVOCATING FOR IGNORANCE IS UNCIVIL you sniveling mosquito

        • Gary Whittenberger

          There you go again — making another personal insult. Your argument is weak. That’s why you resort to personal attacks.

        • Luka

          You approached me because I was criticizing religion. My charge still stands…And I didn’t say disagreeing with me is uncivil I SAID ADVOCATING FOR IGNORANCE IS UNCIVIL you sniveling mosquito

        • you sniveling mosquito

          You’re kind of an asshole, aren’t you? Or are you just constipated today, and you’re actually a decent person?

        • Luka

          Oh look!
          It’s a troll eating its own feces

        • Oh look!
          It’s Santa. And he’s brought something special for both of us for an early Christmas.

        • Doubting Thomas

          People most certainly do have a right to pretend when it comes to civil discourse. The mature way to handle it isn’t to negate someone’s right, it’s to ignore, discuss, or openly mock them.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Because a state that polices thought crimes is infinitely more problematic.

      The problem isn’t that religion is a right, the problem is that it is put on a pedestal. Eliminate the latter and the former wouldn’t be an issue.

      • Luka

        You brought up the state, not me.

        I was speaking of the court of public opinion.

        Ooops

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          A “protected right” is necessarily government related; that term has no meaning otherwise. If you meant to say something different you might want to clarify your position.

        • Luka

          I believe I clarified it already…besides,you’re protecting religion and the Government had nothing to do with it.
          Shame on you

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Perhaps you clarified to someone else, but it’s not my responsibility to follow other conversations. Your second sentence makes no sense, so I am at a loss how to respond.

        • Luka

          4 posts above this demonstrates I was talking to you…Are you feeling well? Running a high fever…I mean really what is your problem with someone criticizing religion…are your feewings hoit?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I feel fine, but apparently I made the mistake of anticipating a productive dialog. It won’t happen again.

        • Luka

          Ha! yes it is a mistake to expect a civil discourse when one party is fond of religious nonsense…Sod off

  • Alex Voon

    Prophesies of God (Yahuah) are true but man does not have the understanding from Him, thus man failed to interpret the Bible.
    No one know who is the son of God before Yeshua (Jesus) was born on planet Earth. Only time will reveal the truth of the prophesies of God.
    This Child, Yeshua (Jesus) is born by a virgin who is not married, not by any man.
    A child born by an unmarried woman would be shameful but this is the sign from Elohim (God) for us to identify His Son.
    Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    Yeshua (Jesus) was born a human being lower than the angels like us, thus he is not omniscience as he is a man like us.
    Hebrew 2:7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
    9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    New Testament Bible is not 100% full proven accurate as there are no witnesses (true successor / disciples from apostle Paul or the rest) to prove them (due to persecutions and forgeries and distortion and Translation errors).
    We need to go back to the origin of the Bible’s writers, the Hebrew language and customs of Yeshua, besides the Jews, every other races have no understanding of the law of Moses, scriptures and the prophets. Ancient Gentile Christians do not have the Truth and how are they able to translate and interpret the scriptures without understanding, let alone today’s Christians? Unless they learn from the Jewish believers of Yeshua.
    Even the Jews messed up the Torah with their Talmud and their own doctrines.
    The Jews are the only race on planet Earth chosen by God to hold custody the Tanakh (Word of God).
    With that said, the Christians today are largely confused.

    • epeeist

      Let’s put it bluntly – the bible is the mythos of a minor Middle Eastern tribe. There is no reason to accept it as any more true or authoritative than any other mythos.

      • Alex Voon

        There is no reason to accept it if it is not real. But it is real!
        Many have been healed of sicknesses like AIDS and Cancer by Yeshua which I have seen and they can testify.

        • Otto

          Ahh…do it at a children’s hospital. If you could repeat that under observation you might have something. But you people always have an excuse, I will wait for yours.

        • Zeta

          Verifiable documented evidence please. Show them here otherwise such empty assertions just show the emptiness of the person who claims them.

        • Alex Voon

          Dr Michelle Strydom conference on sickness and healing by God (How Christians in many churches are healed by Yeshua).
          Dr michelle uses her back ground training to explain whats going on and to get sleepy heads to see not everything is how it seams.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTXG2mQtaQY&feature=youtu.be

        • epeeist

          But she isn’t a doctor is she? She has an MBChB qualification, which provides sufficient knowledge and clinical skills required to train as a doctor but it doesn’t make you a doctor.

        • Zeta

          I managed to listen for about 3 minutes and I am not going through 1 hour and 15 minutes of proselytizing.

          Where are the documented and verifiable cases of healing by Jesus. Genuine medical histories please, not unsupported claims by Christian preachers. If there are such cases of cures of serious illnesses by Jesus, there must have been peer-reviewed academic publications in prestigious medical journals. Cite them please.

        • epeeist

          Many have been healed of sicknesses like AIDS and Cancer by Yeshua which I have seen and they can testify.

          Now this is despicable, snake oil selling fake remedies to desperate people. As for your testimony, there have been numerous cases where the failure of “faith healing” has been documented

        • Alex Voon

          Yes, there are a lot of exposed false prophets faking miracles in USA. But there are a lot of real healing miracles in the churches that I know in China.

        • epeeist

          But there are a lot of real healing miracles in the churches that I know in China.

          And yet you don’t mention any. I presume you have a causal warrant to show that it was Jesus who was responsible for these supposed cures.

        • Alex Voon

          “And yet you don’t mention any.” Well I (and many in the church) can testify I have seen a dying Christian healed by Yeshua of AIDS. Will this suffice? I think not, you will have to personally come to meet the person.

        • epeeist

          Well I (and many in the church) can testify I have seen a dying Christian healed by Yeshua of AIDS. Will this suffice?

          Why should I accept the word of a random person on the Internet? As it is I would want some initial evidence that the person who was undergoing the cure actually had the disease to start with, did not have the disease at the end and actual evidence of Jesus intervening and a causal warrant to link the cure to the actions of Jesus.

        • Alex Voon

          You can go to some the churches in your country and check with them if it is true that Christians are healed by Yeshua.

        • epeeist

          Still offering no actual examples I see.

          A couple of things. When we went to Madagascar we went to see a shaman, he definitely wasn’t Christian. However he too claimed that he could heal people by faith. Now supposing your “doctor” did her thing with a sick patient and that patient got better and the shaman that I saw did whatever he does with a sick patient and that patient got better. How can we distinguish between them? How come the shaman’s patient got better when he didn’t believe in Jesus?

          Secondly, when it comes to medical trials the researches go to great lengths to eliminate bias, not only in the patients but in the people administering the treatment. What did your “doctor” do to eliminate such bias?

        • Zeta

          Wild and vague claims such as those in your comment above have no place in a blog with lots of well-educated and well-read skeptics who expect better quality contents. Provide details or cite credible sources. If you are not able to do so, please don’t waste the time of readers here. Look for a site for like-minded people who need to seek confirmation of each other’s similar beliefs.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, there are a lot of exposed false prophets faking miracles in USA. But there are a lot of real healing miracles in the churches that I know in China.

          China needs more skeptics willing to expose false prophets.

          If someone prays to Jesus and gets better, that person will tell the story as if Jesus loves them. If the person does not get better, you don’t hear stories about them getting better or praying. I a person does not pray but gets better, you do not hear about the praying part. So, if you hear someone say they prayed and got better, take it with a grain of salt. Usually, it’s just because they went to a real doctor.

          The Templeton Foundation tries to link science and religion. There are many studies done in the USA about prayer being successful but every one of them had problems that made them unreliable. So the TF sponsored a study that eliminated sources of bias and a large sample size. Patients were randomly assigned to three groups: one was prayed for by church groups and notified that they were being prayed for, one was prayed for by church groups but not told that they were being prayed for, and one group was not prayed for and not told whether they were being prayed for. None of the groups fared significantly better than any other group but the one that was told they were being prayed for was near the range of being significantly worse than they others.

        • Otto

          In China….you remind me of a teenager who claims he has a girlfriend but she lives in Canada,

    • Lark62

      Every prophecy in the Harry Potter books was fulfilled in the books. Likewise Lord of the Rings. Likewise Watership Down.

      Prophecy is fulfilled in fiction all the time.

      Meanwhile, Jesus’ supposed prophecies that he would return while the audience was still alive and that his followers will be unified are epic fails.

      Read your book. We have. It is nonsense.

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      Prophesies of God (Yahuah) are true

      I’ll have to stop you right there.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Even the Jews messed up the Torah with their Talmud and their own doctrines.

      Translation: The Jews changed some of the Babylonian stories they were stealing.

      • Well if we just go by the Torah, there’s no eternal reward or punishment anyway! The Sadducees didn’t believe in that because it was unscriptural!

    • Greg G.

      but man does not have the understanding from Him, thus man failed to interpret the Bible.

      If “man does not have the understanding”, then it is the fault of man’s creator. If “man failed to interpret the Bible”, then the source failed to sufficiently communicate with man.

      We need to go back to the origin of the Bible’s writers, the Hebrew language and customs of Yeshua,

      If the Greek Septuagint was good enough for the New Testament authors, why is it not good enough for readers of the New Testament?

      every other races have no understanding of the law of Moses

      What you need to understand is that Egyptian archaeology finds no trace of a large population of Jews in Egypt during the supposed time of Moses. Israeli and Christian archaeology finds no trace of a large population ever living in the Sinai. Israeli archaeology finds that there was no big change in culture when the israelites were supposed to have committed genocide on the Canaanite tribes. What they find is many sites with similar cultures except some have pig bones and some do not. It would make no sense for a tribe to wipe out other people because of their culture, then adopt the same culture except for a certain type of meat. It shows that the Israelites were just another tribe of Canaanites with a slightly different diet.

      No Israelites in Egypt means no Exodus and no Moses. The Bible is a fictional history.

      • Zeta

        Alex Voon should read
        The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision Of Ancient Israel And The Origin Of Sacred Texts
        by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman

        Highly recommended.

        • MR

          Sigh. Fine. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a year at least. I’ll take your advice and start on it. I need something to break up Plotinus, anyway.

        • Greg G.

          May I “borrow” it when you’re done, please?

        • MR

          Of course!

      • MR

        Oh, Lordy, how whackaloonical do you have to be to become a Jew for Jesus? You really gotta twist yourself in knots.

        If “man failed to interpret the Bible”, then the source failed to sufficiently communicate with man.

        I always find this victim blaming interesting. It can’t be God’s fault, right? One of the ongoing problems we have at work is communication. My boss sent out an email today that he “moved the workflow.” What the hell is that supposed to mean? Be precise, use your words, don’t make me have to come back to you for details. An omniscient God would know that imprecise words are going to fail. An omnipotent God could ensure that doesn’t happen. If you have a message for mankind, why hamstring it in a message that only Hebrew scholars can deliver? Seriously? And after two to three thousand years are they really getting the message right? Hell, parents can’t even understand their own children’s texts.

        I don’t know why they can’t see the simpler explanation: it’s not God’s fault because God doesn’t exist. It’s flawed because the whole thing is man made.

        Piling on layers and layers of excuses just makes the whole thing even less believable.

        • Jim Jones

          > My boss sent out an email today that he “moved the workflow.” What the hell is that supposed to mean?

          He’s having trouble urinating.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        If “man failed to interpret the Bible”, then the source failed to sufficiently communicate with man.

        As songwriter, I’ve learned that understanding is entirely my responsibility. If a specific message is important, then I need to take steps to make it clear. If alternate interpretations are ok, then I am free to use opaque imagery.

        I won’t pretend that I didn’t spend several years blaming listeners for not “getting it”…. but in the end the message finally got through. Funny that a lesson god has yet to learn can be picked up by a flawed songwriter in a few years.

        • Greg G.

          Then there is the problem of the listener hearing, “Lucy in disguise with diamonds”.

          Bible readers seem to have that same problem.

      • Alex Voon

        What archaeology cannot find simply means there are no proof of a matter which doesn’t prove the matter (many years ago) is false.
        Archaeology is not omniscience but God alone is. Man is limited to how much he knows for his life is short. The present Jews are descendant of Jacob (the ancient Israelites). The world tried to wipe out a little nation, Israel but could not because God prevented it. God had restored the nation of Israel as written in the bible. What is written in the bible (2 thousands years ago) had happened and more that is written will happen (future).

        1) If “man does not have the understanding”, then it is the fault of man’s creator? Not so, it is man who reject his creator.

        2) If “man failed to interpret the Bible”, then the source failed to sufficiently communicate with man? Not true, the early apostles and holy prophets were able to interpret the Bible. They were killed by the Jews, their own people.

        3) If the Greek Septuagint was good enough for the New Testament authors, why is it not good enough for readers of the New Testament?
        The Greek Septuagint translation is not perfect as Greek and Hebrew language are different (human errors, hard to translate to precision).
        And the New Testament is not 100% full proven accurate as there are no witnesses (true successor / disciples from apostle Paul or the rest) to prove them (due to persecutions and forgeries and distortion and Translation errors).
        We need to go back to the origin of the Bible’s writers, the Hebrew language and customs of Yeshua, besides the Jews, every other races have no understanding of the law of Moses, scriptures and the prophets. Ancient Gentile Christians do not have the Truth and how are they able to translate and interpret the scriptures without understanding, let alone today’s Christians? Unless they learn from the Jewish believers of Yeshua.
        Even the Jews messed up the Torah with their Talmud and their own doctrines.
        The Jews are the only race on planet Earth chosen by God to hold custody the Tanakh (Word of God).

        • Zeta

          You should come out of your bubble and look at the real world. Do read the book “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein & Silberman.
          From Amazon:

          In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts.

          Those stories are all fiction, so is your god who was invented in the Ancient Near East, first as a local tribal (Israelite) war deity who was later embellished and promoted by his believers (!) to be the creator god and the most powerful god in the Universe. His so-called omnipotence and other fantastic attributes were all bestowed on him by his believers! When one bible writer decided that he was not so powerful after all, your “omnipotent” god could not even defeat warriors riding iron chariots. Very funny indeed.

          Since the father god is imaginary, the son cannot be real also. Simple inference.

        • Alex Voon

          Nope. Who is able to prove that my God is not real?

        • Otto

          Not our job…that is on you to prove he is.

        • epeeist

          Who is able to prove that my God is not real?

          Who is able to prove that the god of the free-floating sentient gas-bags on an unnamed planet in IOK-1 is not real?

          What is it with you people? If you are making a claim then it is down to you to substantiate it.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I am! God does not exist and cannot exist.

        • Greg G.

          Nope. Who is able to prove that my God is not real?

          If you claim your god thingy is caring enough to not allow unnecessary suffering and powerful enough to do anything that is logically possible, I am able to prove your god thingy does not exist.

        • Greg G.

          What archaeology cannot find simply means there are no proof of a matter which doesn’t prove the matter (many years ago) is false.

          Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence. If a few million people wandered the desert for 40 years, there should be tons of evidence. It should be difficult to not find evidence. There should be tons of coprolite.

          God had restored the nation of Israel as written in the bible. What is written in the bible (2 thousands years ago) had happened and more that is written will happen (future).

          Humans restored Israel because it was written in that book, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

          1) If “man does not have the understanding”, then it is the fault of man’s creator? Not so, it is man who reject his creator.

          Again, that would be the creator’s fault.

          2) If “man failed to interpret the Bible”, then the source failed to sufficiently communicate with man? Not true, the early apostles and holy prophets were able to interpret the Bible. They were killed by the Jews, their own people.

          If only a few understood, then the source of the messenger did not communicate well enough.

          3) If the Greek Septuagint was good enough for the New Testament authors, why is it not good enough for readers of the New Testament?
          The Greek Septuagint translation is not perfect as Greek and Hebrew language are different (human errors, hard to translate to precision)….

          Even the Jews messed up the Torah with their Talmud and their own doctrines.
          The Jews are the only race on planet Earth chosen by God to hold custody the Tanakh (Word of God).

          Again, you are just emphasizing my point. The source of it all is a poor communicator. If the source was a bunch of humans, we know why it is hard to understand. They were just wrong and later generations desperately want to believe so they interpret events as being sorta like the prophecy and emphasize the hits and forget about the missing parts (or fill them in with exaggerations).

        • MR

          There should be tons of coprolite.

          A &#8203shitload, even.

    • Otto

      With that said, the Christians today are largely confused.

      Lucky for them you have it figured out. I suggest you talk to them about it, and please let us know how that goes.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      But you are ignoring the whole point of the article.

      1. If Jesus did exist and was divine, then he would have accurately predicted the timing of an apocalypse.
      2. But Jesus erred in predicting the timing of an apocalypse.
      3. Therefore, either Jesus did not exist or Jesus was not divine.

      • Alex Voon

        Yeshua (Jesus) is the son of God. He was born a human being lower than the angels like us, thus he is not omniscience as he is a man like us. As a man, He is unable to predict the timing of an apocalypse unless God reveals it to Him.
        This Child, Yeshua (Jesus) is born by a virgin who is not married, not by any man. He is born by God (by the Spirit of God) and that affirm He is divine (He is “The Spirit of God” that created heaven and earth).

        • Gary Whittenberger

          AV2: Yeshua (Jesus) is the son of God. He was born a human being lower than the angels like us, thus he is not omniscience as he is a man like us. As a man, He is unable to predict the timing of an apocalypse unless God reveals it to Him.

          GW2: If Jesus had been the son of God, he would not make bad predictions. God would not allow him to make bad predictions. But Jesus made at least one bad prediction. Therefore, Jesus was not the son of God.

          AV2: This Child, Yeshua (Jesus) is born by a virgin who is not married, not by any man. He is born by God (by the Spirit of God) and that affirm He is divine (He is “The Spirit of God” that created heaven and earth).

          GW2: Here you just repeat the falsehood – that Jesus was divine, when I demonstrated why he cannot be divine.

          GW2: Also, God does not exist and cannot exist. This has been rationally demonstrated by several people throughout history.

        • Alex Voon

          For your information, the New Testament is not 100 % accurate due to forgeries, distortion and fierce persecution.

        • epeeist

          the New Testament is not 100 % accurate due to forgeries, distortion and fierce persecution.

          https://gwendolynhoff.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/5adb6-06monopoly_getoutofjailfree_100.jpg

        • Gary Whittenberger

          For your information, I already had that information.

          But still, God does not exist and cannot exist, no matter how accurate or inaccurate the NT is.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Ahhh, the good ol’ “God needs a copy editor” excuse. It’s amazing that someone can write a coherent post while simultaneously claiming god’s inability to do the same.

      • David Cromie

        There is nothing coherent about the so-called ‘bible’, which would be obvious to you had you ever read it. This is because your so-called ‘bible’ is a mish-mash collection of syncretically concocted myths, legends, and folklore, based mostly on Pagan sources.

        In any case, where is the irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence that your favourite supposed ‘god’ actually exists? Without this evidence, all of your scribblings on the subject of your favourite supposed ‘god’ are nothing other than complete and utter deluded, superstitious, balderdash.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I’m hoping this rant was intended for someone else.

    • Jim Jones

      Jesus never existed.

    • Ficino

      You keep writing “Yeshua,” but you dare to write “God” and not “G-d.” You are messed up. No reason to listen to you.

      • Alex Voon

        Ficina, we are in this thread where Christians call Elohim (in Hebrew) as God because most Christians are not willing to listen to us. Our Elohim should not be called God or G-d, a translation which is not proper in regards of honor and reverence towards Him.

        • Greg G.

          You haven’t established that your god thingy exist. Then you should provide evidence that it deserves honor and reverence.

        • Zeta

          Alex Voon: “most Christians are not willing to listen to us.”

          Please elaborate on who are supposed to be the “us” in the above. What kind of believers are these “us”? Aren’t you a Christian?

          Please also explain why Elohim cannot be called “God”? What else do you call Elohim? Many names of god are found in the OT: Yahweh, Elohim, El, Elyon, El Shaddai. Are they the same god?

        • David Cromie

          I recommend ‘Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible’, by Van Der Toorn, Becking, and Van Der Horst, Eds., 2nd Edition, 1999, Brill, for a thorough investigation, and an enlightening evaluation, of these names, in Egyptian, Akkadian, .etc. folklore.Such study shows that the syncretic nature of the so-called ‘bible’ is exposed for all to see.

          Another study, ‘Inventing God’s Law – How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi’, by D. P. Wright. 2009, OUP, along with a reading of the Epic of Gilgamesh, also throw much light on the syncretic nature of the so-called ‘bible’.

    • Most of the atheists here used to be Christian. We know the Christian arguments (they suck).

      • MR

        And the problems reach back into Judaism as well. It was studying the Old Testament where my own belief really began to fall apart. I remember deciding I needed to start at square zero and seriously study the Bible. It wasn’t far into Genesis that I realized that God’s Words don’t match God’s Works. And then of course the contradictions. I just came across yet another interesting deviation in Adam’s genealogy that I hadn’t noticed before thanks to @disqus_R6czVqjQYW:disqus ‘s recommendation to read “The Bible Unearthed.”

        • Can you point us to the deviation? Or summarize it?

        • MR

          In the introduction of “The Bible Unearthed,” the author mentions “two quite different genealogies of Adam’s offspring” in Genesis (4:17-26; 5:1-28). A check shows that Genesis 4 arbitrarily follows the line:

          Adam > Cain > Enoch > Irad > Mehujael > Methushael > Lamech

          While Genesis 5 reboots the story from scratch and doesn’t even mention Cain (or Abel) and follows a line of:

          Adam > Seth > Enosh > Kenan > Mahalalel > Jared > Enoch > Methuselah > Lamech > Noah

          The book is highlighting the differences between the two traditions of the ‘J’ and ‘E’ sources.

          Now, the Christian me would take things literally, that the lines are simply two distinct, but valid lines. The non-Christian me questions, Why the reboot? Why no mention of Cain (or Abel) in the reboot? Isn’t it curious that we have similar names in the lines (Enoch, Methushael/Methusaleh, Lamech) when a) this isn’t common and b) it isn’t highlighted in the text (e.g., “…not to be confused with Enoch, Methushael, or Lamech from Cain’s line….”)

          Now from what I know in my short life of stories and traditions and myths we often see slight variations in the details, and this is exactly what that looks like. If I didn’t have a vested interest in Christianity being true, the assumption I would make is that these are simply variations, just like we have variations in Greek or Egyptian mythology (e.g., was Venus born from the severed genitals of Uranus or was she the daughter of Zeus and Dione? Did Set trick Osiris into getting into a coffin and slamming it shut on him or did he cut him up into pieces and scatter them about?)

          Of course, the True Believer™ is going to take things literally and hand wave “appearances.” But remove the need to be right and I think most scholars would see those discrepancies as simply variations in the tale.

        • MR

          So, was doing some more research on this and found that the names in common are not just the names I bolded, but the entire list. (Irad=Jared and Mehujael=Mahelalel). And I was wrong about the sources being ‘J’ and ‘E’, they are ‘J’ and ‘P’.

          Scholars have noted similarities between these descents: most of the names in each are variants of those in the other, though their order differs, with the names of Enoch and Mahalalel/Mehujael switching places in the two pedigrees. It is “as if they were different versions of the same underlying tradition.” This has led to speculation that representations of a single original genealogical descent had diverged, only to have two variants brought back together and put to different purposes when the Book of Genesis was compiled from its Jahwist and Priestly sources. Genealogies of Genesis, Wikipedia

          [see chart in separate post]

          Elsewhere there are also comparisons with the Sumerian Kings list and North Arabian genealogy. Here they mention the Cainite list being tied to the ‘J’ source and the Sethite line to the ‘P’.

        • MR

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da0c9c44b546bd07d1b356a2d5964d260693f0625d2c1c6c829adf0186eb7083.jpg

          Genealogies of Genesis, Wikipedia

          (Sorry for the confusion of posting, I couldn’t get the image to post the way I wanted. I’m just going to put it here.)

        • Interesting, thanks.

  • Phil

    Jesus din’t know much about the universe considering he/it/them supposedly created it. “and the stars will fall from heaven”

  • Paul included himself among the ones expected to never die (“we who remain”) — until near the end of his life. In II Timothy he’s saying “well, I’m going to die soon, Timothy, but you keep on preaching!”