really bad Christian t-shirt idea: “iTithe”

really bad Christian t-shirt idea: “iTithe” October 5, 2013
itithe christian t-shirt idea by nakedpastor david hayward
“iTithe t-shirt” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

Maybe someone has already said this. With conviction. I wouldn’t be surprised. Funny thing is I created this tee as a joke but there a lots of people who would wear it proudly.

Because it is faithfully and frequently taught in the churches and at least practiced and people are reminded weekly. Even yesterday Pat Robertson was told by an elderly woman that her husband has such high medical bills that they need to use the money to pay those. He told her that if they were faithful tithers and rebuked the Devourer, then they wouldn’t even get sick and have medical bills.

Even though I had tithed for decades, I never believed in its magical powers. And I certainly never taught it.

I do believe in the power of generosity though. I do believe that when we are generous we live in a more generous universe.

Please don’t ask for this t-shirt. It’s a joke.

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  • Aviatrix

    Yes, the old pyramid scheme, dressed up in righteous garb. Just another way to control the flock and line the coffers by instilling fear and worry. It’s the doctrine of “not my problem!” a/k/a “blame and shame”.

  • ragingrev

    Maybe someone has already said this with conviction? C’mon…you know better.



  • Well I KNOW this idea has been said, but I’m not sure of these very words, which I think is ingenious, if I must say so myself.

  • And I can guarantee you that if you give ZERO percent (0%), you will get the exact same 100% back. Save money!!

  • Caryn LeMur

    To me, this is part of the witchcraft movement that has spread into evangelical Christianity. People long to control the spiritual world… few wish the spiritual world to control them. Witchcraft is the muttering of certain incantations (sacred words), the casting down of certain sacrifices (10% is a sacrifice; every Sunday attendance is a sacrifice), the hiding behind masks and hoods (never revealing your true self), and the undying and unquestioning obedience to the leaders of the coven (‘trust your leaders’).

    God is above any incantations. Other than salvation to the one that requests it, I know of no other guarantee. ‘Speak only positive words’ and ‘stand on His promises refusing anything but His best’ – are excellent incantations. However, our power is like the privilege of entering the Oval Office and having the ear of the President of the United States – we were not given the right to force his hand in a certain direction.

    The world of sacrifices was turned upside down by Jesus when He spoke of His judgment of the world – ‘whatever you did to those that were sick, in prison, needing food, needing water, homeless, or needing clothing – whatever you did to the least that believed, you did to me.’ Sacrifice does not matter much at all… the end receiver matters greatly.

    When Jesus stated, ‘the seed that grew fell into a good and honest heart’ – He was advocating honesty. When the apostle wrote, ‘Confess your sins/faults one to another, that you may be healed’, he was advocating a normal practice of equal transparency. Without honesty and equal transparency, spiritual growth is like a root-bound plant in a pot far too small. Too many elders and pastors no longer are growing….

    Jesus obviously questioned the motive of many leaders. Matthew Chapter 23 is filled with His observations of poor leadership style. Paul the apostle rebuked Peter the super apostle (‘pillar of the church’) for falling into separatism, and not eating with the Gentile believers. Paul did this rebuke publically – ‘before all of them’. We need to respect our leaders, yet question them and their actions against the standard of the scripture. We need to remind our pastors to eat with the believing homosexual community, the illegal aliens that are brothers in Christ, and the believing homeless that live in tents in the woods – lest we or our pastors fall into the sin of separatism. Our pastors should be having lunch with the pastors of other denominations, at the very least. Without such unity demonstrating a forgiveness that transcends all boundaries and lifestyles and creeds, then we can state like Paul that ‘the Messiah died for nothing’.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Al Cruise

    Here’s a guarantee. Give much more than 10 percent to the Church and you will attain great power in that Church. Probably make it into leadership, you then will be able to abuse your power and get your way like a little cry baby. If you get caught sinning against someone the rest of leadership will rally around you and make sure your victim is blamed. You will be able to commit adultery and your inner circle will keep it quiet for you. You will get to go to retreats and conferences, all paid for with other peoples money, all the while being revered as a great man of God.

  • angangang

    This started my day out with a huge laugh. Yes, I can laugh about it now. I tithed AND gave to a NAR church for nine years. That was until I realize the pastors cohorted to lie, cheat and deceive me out of tens of thousands of dollars. They always told me how much they loved me and how generous I was. And I was; I love to give. But I don’t like to be used and abused.

    I was in leadership and it was a requirement that the leadership tithe. Huh, interesting concept! Now, not only do they require that the leadership tithe money but they have to give up their mind (agree to cooperate) and their time, talent and treasure too. Don’t you love it!!!??? And they SIGN a contract!?

    * Do you affirm the vision and mission of Lighthouse and agree to cooperate with the pastors and elders of the church?
    * Do you agree to support the vision and mission of LIghthouse through the faithful giving of your time, talent and treasure?

    We need duct tape to put over some pastors mouths and PR isn’t the only one. Then we can know they won’t be lying.

  • Dawn Marie Christiansen

    This idea that if we pray enough, give enough and are righteous enough and God will bless us financially and keep us in perfect health is SUCH A LIE! This idea of prosperity has permeated the church in a despicable way! The problem with that is that for one, it isn’t true. Why in the world would we think that the ONLY way God would bless us is in corruptable way like money! Yes, He sometimes uses money to bless us, but what a greedy and ridiculous idea that God’s entire will for us is money. That is just pathertic. look at Joseph, Job, and the apostles. they went through considerable hardship, but God blessed them because of it!
    Secondly, it has facilitated an attitude about those in need! “Well, if you were TRULY being obedient and ACTUALLY trying to please Him, then God would bless you. You wouldn’t even HAVE this financial need. You are living with the consequences of your sin, and the judgement of God. Who am I to interfere with God’s chastisement to bring you to repentance?”
    As if God couldn’t do a single more thing with poverty that to use it as a cosmic club. Are we so small minded that we can perceive a single other way to use a person’s need? That is puting God in a box! Don’t we realize He cannot be contained? What if His intention is to richly bless the GIVER!?
    I hear it all the time about those people on food stamps, “Well, they shouldn’t HAVE kids they cannot afford to feed!”
    The circumstances are differing and there is valid need. if Christians were busy meeting the needs of these families instead of viewing it as God’s righteous judgement there would be no need for food stamps at all!

  • Organizations that rely on people voluntarily giving them money utilize various means to coerce people to give them money. There is, of course, guilt, shame, altruism, and of course “getting something greater back than what you put in”. Churches also sometimes utilize other approaches as well.

    I remember sermons in my old church where the pastor said what a great deal tithing was in that God only asked for 10%. He said God could have easily asked for 90% but because God was omniscient and omnibenevolent He knew exactly what people could afford. The pastor also talked about (and gave examples of) people in need tithing and then having good things happening like a relative dying and leaving them some money. The trick was to view anything good happening as a result of God paying you back for tithing and just ignore or don’t think about the times good things don’t happen or when bad things happen.

    Yes the main tools churches use are shame, guilt, levering good-will, as well as arguments from authority and confirmation bias…

  • Disguisted at the disrespect

    When you don’t believe in something it’s hard to see the rewards. It’s unfortunate that you are telling people things like this with pastor behind your name. I know that it’s hard to understand and as a single mom on a very limited budget I know that when I am faithful to God, He is faithful and provides for me. It has nothing to do with anyone else but my relationship with God. Nothing we have is of our own doing anyway so He only asks for 10% and we can keep the rest

  • Disguisted at the disrespect

    But you’ll never have anything multiplied either

  • disqus_cfBevsr42L

    I have one word (ok, phrase) for the teachers of prosperity theology: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I would genuinely like to hear some who teach that financial, social and physical blessings are correlated to faith, therefore if bad things happen to you, you are receiving punishment/must not have faith/havent declared the word/whatever else they teach, fit the persecution of the early Christians into their framework. For that matter, the immense poverty of most of the world…..

  • Except that Churchianity teaches God wants 100%.

    Tithing (as taught in modern churches) is legalist. It is bondage to money. It makes a mockery of the finished work of the cross. It makes people arrogant and boastful (which, according to scripture, is debarred). It teaches that God’s blessings have to be purchased, which is WRONG. It encourages greed. It is obsolete (notice how no one in the NT taught tithing?).

  • disqus_cfBevsr42L

    i used to believe this too,but again: Job. or Foxes Book of Martyrs. How do I know that losing my home and becoming indigent is NOT Gods plan for me? What if it is? Faith that is dependent on my interpretation of Gods intentions and promises is a weak faith. Faith that depends on my understanding of how things work is weak.
    Meanwhile, have so little money that we have been paying our expenses with credit cards for 3 months now. Since tihe is 10% of income, and we are getting a negative income, shouldn’t I be getting like a 10% credit or something? 😀
    The Bible says the church should care for the poor/needy etc, but honestly, it is never going to happen. I do my utmost to conceal my level of need from my church, so that I may retain my dignity as a human being. I dont care to be treated as the church treats those in need. So why are they collecting tithes? I use my tithe to help people in need, independent of the church. (when I have money, haha)
    I believe that God is good, no matter what happens to me. I am a pragmatist though. Bad things happen to people all around me, regardless of their faithfulness to God, regardless of their amount of faith. Bad things will happen to me too. Good things happen unexpectedly, too. But I dont think it is part of a transaction where I get provision through my faithfulness.

  • Al Cruise

    I work in street ministry and I advise people on limited funds to take care of their families with their money, that IS GIVING TO GOD. God is not a slot machine were you put in a coin and he spits a little back, and if you you keep doing it he might pour a jackpot on you. God is about common sense, raising your family in a loving environment. Recognizing the culture your in and raising your children to be able to live in that culture in a healthy responsible way. If you want to tithe that’s fine, but do not make it a requirement that it is the way to receive favour from God. That is totally false. I have done street ministry for 40 years and have seen many families turn their situations around by being responsible to their families, and receiving true blessing from God without ever tithing a penny to a Church.

  • Hey David, where can I get one of these shirts! Oh wait… sorry…

  • Jeannie Boen

    I know churches that so strictly enforce tithing they won’t let people be involved in the church if they are not tithing. Single moms and others may live on very limited budgets and have found there are other ways to be generous that don’t involve dollars.

  • You are right: I will won’t all that magic power that is promised me if I pay for pastors and heating bills for exclusivist who spread nasty exceptionalism — think of all that multiplication I will meet:
    — disgusted at the disrespect for disrespect

  • Gary

    Actually He NEVER asked us for 10%. The tithe was never for intended for the church. This is false teaching and totally contrary to the truth of generosity in love.

  • Gary

    The ignorance of Pat Robertson, and so many recent posters in David’s blog, amazes me. The tithe is not only a false teaching in the church, it promotes guilt, shame, and a host of goofy magical thinking. Since I left the church (and my faithful practice of giving) I have been much more generous to those around me in need. Before my dollars went to pay the church bills, the pastor’s daughter for a job she left long ago, the pastor’s salary, and a host of programs full of false teaching. Now I give to those in need out of love and find much fulfillment in doing so.

  • Gary

    When you hide behind a phony made up name simply so you can attack it is not only disrespectful…it is what defines a troll.

  • @ Gary,

    Do you have a link to your blog where you tell us about this “false teaching” that so many Christian churches teach.

    Heck, am I mistaken, didn’t great fear seize the whole church after the Holy Spirit killed two folks who didn’t pay their fair share — Acts 4:32-5:11 ?

    The New Testament, new dispensational Yahweh still sounds pretty scary.

  • jdm8

    It’s hard to respect a model of giving that is routinely used to guilt trip and extort money out of the flock.

  • Agreed!

  • So Jw/oB, since Gary has not gotten back yet, can you tell me who as Acts 4:32 etc intended for. Any links on how to interpret the tithing parts of the NT “correctly” and not listen to “false teachings”.

  • klhayes

    At some point, the tithes need to be used to help people in need. Tithing does not protect someone from medical problems and that can ruin someone financially. The church should be helping her since they are supposedly so much more efficient than government.

  • klhayes

    These stories prove time and time again that charities and churches will never step up and help the less fortunate if all social safety nets were eliminated.

  • Gary

    Since I know you know full well I do not write a blog(as if that would give some sort of credibility) I can only assume your comments are meant to be condescending. I will provide a link to a decent evaluation of the whole tithe issue for starters, if you are genuinely interested. However, if you wish to engage me you will need to drop the smugness.

  • Caryn LeMur

    Gary: very interesting link. After reading the link, I lean towards the tithe is a very minor good thing to do. However, I am not so certain that the tithe is an evil work that automatically places a giver ‘under the law’ and not ‘under grace’.

    Yet, I must admit that most teaching I have heard on the tithe is to give it to the church, and ask no questions… not ‘give it to the poor’. I think I find the end use of the tithe more repulsive than the actual teaching of the tithe.

    Just my thoughts. Blessings to you; Caryn

  • Caryn LeMur

    Dear Disgusted: I read your remarks, and then Al Cruise’s remarks, and Al appears to be teaching the concept that Jesus taught concerning ‘Corban’ (Mark Chapter 7). That is, withholding from the family in order to tithe is deep disrespect towards the higher priority commandments and an offense to our Jesus.

    I certainly admire your faith and your discipline, by all means. If it wounds your conscience to NOT give the church 10%, may I suggest that you give it directly to the poor that you know? After all, Matt 25, Parable of the Sheep and Goats allows you that higher path of giving directly to the hungry. Using your tithe to buy groceries for your poor neighbors will bring many of them into your circle of friends.

    May I also suggest giving 10% of your work week to the poor/homeless/those in prison/those sick (4 hours a week) to satisfy your conscience, and then setting aside that 10% cash in savings for emergencies for your family?

    This link explains Corban quite well. You are most likely not a Pharisee, by any means… but the principle Jesus is showing is that family is to be honored above gifts/tithes to God… and that Jesus wishes the family in need to be honored with items set aside for God – whether gift or tithe.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Gary

    I don’t go so far as to say it is an “evil work” either. However, it is clear to me that the tithe has no application to the NT church. I believe it is clear that there is no scriptural basis for seeking to enforce the tithe today. (Not that I blindly submit to scripture anyway)

  • Gary
  • Caryn LeMur

    cfBevsr: you wrote,

    ” I do my utmost to conceal my level of need from my church, so that I may retain my dignity as a human being. I dont care to be treated as the church treats those in need.”

    wow… simply wow.

    Thank you for your honesty. Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Roy Blizzard III

    Tithing was a Jewish thing. It wasn’t just 10%. A Jewish tithe started at 33 1/3 and went up to 66 2/3% and was never money. The tithe was to take care of the widows and orphans and the poor and needy fellow Jews-their relatives. The priests and levites were considered poor and needy because they were not allowed to own land but were to perpetually serve their brothers and sister Jews. The tithe was also only for the Jews to observe and only when they were in the land of Israel. When the Temple was destroyed the Tithe ceased. Giving is different than tithing. All the Christian teachings on the tithe are erroneous and are designed to shake down the believers who are kept too stupid to now better. Roy Blizzard III

  • That passage has nothing to do with tithing; it has everything to do with what happens when someone lies to the Holy Spirit. THAT is why Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead. Personally, I believe if they were honest and said, “We sold our property for $x; here’s a percentage of the proceeds,” they would have been fine.

  • One more reference on the issue…

    I do believe that present-day theology on tithing is legalistic, and that it’s a form of bondage. And since its basis is in Mosaic Law, I also think that it puts a tither under the law, based on Galatians 3.

  • I think what those churches enforce is ridiculous. 🙁 Your ability to serve a group of believers should NEVER be dependent on whether or not you give 10% of their income regularly. It’s classist (for reasons you’ve noted), it’s abusive, it’s exploitative.

  • Also: Only those who kept crops and animals were required to tithe. Those who made money via the work of their hands didn’t tithe at all.

    Also x 2: During the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the seven-year cycle, they took the tithes (food & drink) to a particular location and had a massive party! Third and sixth years, if my understanding is correct, the tenth of the tenth went to the equivalent of the government to assist the poor.

  • Exactly like myself, Tim (Jesus without baggage) believe that the Bible is not in and of itself more inspired than other books
    So there can be theological mistakes in the act of the apostles (for instance) like there are mistakes in the books of Luther or Wesley.

    My best guess is that it is the position that most people self-identifying as progressive Christians hold.

    Lovely greetings from Lorraine/Lothringen (France), unapologetically.

  • Really? Wow — was it a myth/parable to teach that you “don’t lie to the HS”? Because it was Peter who was lied to. Peter was the Pastor. God speaks through the pastor. So is you lie to the pastor, you die!

    Powerful story.

    I think I liked it better when I thought it was about tithing! 🙂

    At least no one would feel compelled to tell the truth to a naked pastor.

  • I do like the progressive Christian stance as you describe it – that there may be error in many of the books of the bible – but that people, even with our limited minds, can strive to see a more perfect vision than what was written.

    Although perhaps we differ on our beliefs whether there is a supreme Being who intended to communicate certain Truths, we share an operational understanding that there is work left to do for us humans to do in the world. We still need to observe the facts of the conditions on the ground and try to make the best decisions for going forward – and we can’t have our options frozen (and fixed) by exactly what was written down be people from long ago. We can work together for the common good. I may just call it the common good. You may also call it what God wants for us. As long as the methodology is the same in “getting there” it may not really matter what we call it.

    The fundamentalist, though, has a different methodology. Their methods rely on authority about what was written and there can be no progression to anything better. They are stuck in time.

  • Wow, that “Bible Life” site is intense! Is that one of your go-to-it apologetic teachers? Thanks for the link.

    I actually don’t know anything about this tithing controversy. I’ve seen it treated different ways in different churches but never thought about it. So it is fun to see all the theological spins: either arguing scripture variants (verse battles) or undermining literalism variants (what is literal, what is culture bound, what is limited human thinking, what is real Jesus …). You seemed to link to a Verse Battle site which puts the Bible all-together through dispensationalism. Interesting.

    Oh yes, ignoring your gratuitous psychobabble again, I keep hoping you build a blog so you can link to opinions like this and where we can see your particular flavor of universalism in the progressive or neo-liberal spectrum of Christianity (or however you’d label that dispensationalism — to me, it was always neo-conservative but liberal vs conservative is a silly dichotomy — as you show us.)

  • Wow, lots more “Get the Bible Straight” sites — fascinating. I have collected them in a file and will do reading on the various spins on “Tithing” in the future. To me, of course, the story is about the spin — not about, as your two sites say, “is Tithing Biblical” (verse battles) or “Managing God’s Money”!

    But how various Christians deal with their holy anthology is just as fascinating as I see Muslims wrestle with their Qur’an or Hindus wrestle with the Mahabharata (which I actually follow in the news). People amaze me at the efforts they make to guard their printed traditions.

  • Thanx for yet another link. As I google around, I see lots of anti-tithing sites. Fascinating.

    So being curious, I looked and have found lots of pro-tithing verse-battle sites too full of this “false teaching” or as Gary’s site says “Tithing is the foundation for apostasy”. So here are just some of the many:


    anyway, you get the point. Each certain that THEY understand the Bible’s REAL meaning and what counts as “apostasy” and “false teachings” — arghhhh, when I hear those words, I know where it is going.

  • From the links Gary and Shelly supplied, I don’t think they totally agree with your pick-and-choose attitude toward Christian canon. Just shows the huge spectrum of even self-proclaimed “liberal” or “progressive” Christians.

    You post is well written. I disagreed with several points, but your general attitude toward these works is better than the vast majority of doctrinal Christians, I think.

  • But, Jeff P, it is not just the fundamentalists at all. Even progressives run to Verse-Battle (should be a video game) to determine the truth. Even if they hold a slightly different view of scripture, they treat it as an epistemological fortress (see David’s previous drawing). On one hand, they seem open but the next minute, verses are flying across the battlefield.

    It seems an inescapable problem/challenge that causes the wide spectrum in self-labeled “Progressive Christians”.

  • I strive for what all Christians would consider apostasy. Then I figure I must be doing something right. 😉

  • Indeed: Apostasy is a Virtue (it seems)

  • Hey David,
    On Disqus, is there a way to remove options for viewing comments as “Oldest”, “Newest” and “Best”. And instead, just make it “Oldest”. I think that would stop several problems. I find it very hard to come back here and view comments. The hierarchy is hard enough — then add in those various viewing options and …..
    Maybe I am just old!

  • Gary

    Not a go to site at all. I simply save resources that provide some analysis on subjects I am interested in. Have actually never used their site other than the one article. And just because I link a site it does not mean I agree with them overall, or even necessarily on the issue at hand. Sometimes it is to simply provide another resource to the issues surrounding the debate.

    I challenge your statement in your reply to JeffP about progressives running to bible verses to defend their positions. It is clear that fundamentalists use only the authority of the bible to attack and to defend their own views. Of course their views on scripture are as fallible as anyone elses. We could respond by saying that we reject the bible al together (not entirely true) and wait for the barrage of judgment and warnings of hell. Or we could attempt to point out that their proof texts have alternative understandings. The first approach may end the conversation…but the 2nd has the chance of freeing a mind trapped in closed mindedness. (As mine was) Hence we most often use verses to dispute a closed minded and narrow interpretation. Since it is only the bible being used against us…sometimes it makes sense to show the biblical error incorporated in the attack.

  • Hi Sabio,

    Sure, I don’t have any blog posts on the issue of tithing because I don’t think it is one of the most pressing baggage issues in today’s Christianity. But I will address it here.

    You ask about Acts: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”

    Nowhere does it say this was a requirement; apparently it was not the practice outside the Jerusalem church; and it does not seem to have worked well.

    In fact, the Jerusalem church became a poverty church. This is why Paul organized a financial relief effort for the Jerusalem church among the Gentile churches he had established.

    All the statements by Paul in his letters about giving relate to this relief effort. They have nothing to do with tithing or supporting the ministry or local church.

  • Right, if it didn’t work well why the HS kill someone for lying about its injustice. Or was God just experimenting, killed a few folks and said, “Screw it! These damn humans, first it is Eden, and now my brand new Spirit Filled Church”.

    Maybe we are in for yet another dispensation.

    But thanx for the history — I didn’t know that. ‘Tis helpful. Do you take the Annais story as literal, though, or just a nasty object lesson fit for readers at that time?

  • Ah, well, that is why I asked, isn’t it? Duh.

    So, your apologetic text of reference is obtained by clicking “open all Bookmarks” in your Chrome browser when searching on an issue. Oh how the world is changing! 😉

    I admire the fight against fundie literalists and think you and others do a marvelous job. Nonetheless, the odd tension of what counts as authority for yourselves still runs a colorful spectrum. Unavoidable, I’d imagine. Like I said, I see Hindu and Muslim liberals do the same — when you see it done very similarly in camps that are very different, the game becomes much more clear.

  • Frankly Sabio, I find the story of Ananias puzzling. I don’t think God killed him or his wife, and the text does not say he did.
    And I don’t think the couple withheld part of the money as a protest against injustice, because Peter told them that giving their money was not a requirement, even after they sold their property. They were free to keep part of it or all of it.
    So what happened? This is my speculation: Barnabas sold a field and gave the proceeds to the church. This probably created a stir–after all, it is mentioned in the Bible. It must have produced a lot of admiration from the group–he was a hero!
    Perhaps Ananias and his wife wanted some of that adoration; they wanted to be a big-wig leader like Barnabas, but they did it under false pretense. They lied about giving all the money.
    Peter called them on it and they died. Perhaps it was out of fear, I really can’t say. But the passage does not say that God killed them or that Peter did.
    What do you think happened?

  • Roy Blizzard III

    Part of the problem in Christianity is a lack of understanding of the terminology of our “Faith”. All the words used in Christianity are drawn from Hebrew. Without a proper understanding of the Hebrew words behind our “Faith” then we will never be able to properly understand our relationship with God or anything else in our “faith” for that matter. Just take the word faith, it is a noun not a verb, but in Judaism faith is a verbal noun. That means an action must precede in order for the noun to exist. Faith doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, we don’t even have faith, Jesus himself said so, when he said IF you had faith… The only faith that we have is the faith found within the existence of God when we exist within his existence. What we can have is faithfulness, which is the root word that the church tried to translate as faith and tries to shame us when things go awry in our lives and then they say well good buddy, you just didn’t have enough faith. Maybe you need to give more to the church. The issue is that the Church doesn’t want its subjects to understand the Hebrew because then they wouldn’t have any subjects to extort money from. God only requires two things from us and that is to walk with him and talk with him. Now knowing how to do this may require some adjustment of our thinking processes that have been wrongly taught, but that is the truth. Here is one of my short articles explaining some of the errors taught in the name of God.

  • Roy, the NT is in Greek — and weren’t the writers probably reading the Greek Septuagint (Jewish Scriptures – ? 200 BC). So the “faith” thing back then had tons of Greek influence, I’d imagine. So I was puzzled when you said,

    “All the words used in Christianity are drawn from Hebrew. “

    I think there are lots more reasons to doubt this too — but I am not a scholar like you.

  • Thanks!

    I am picking and choosing in the same way you pick and choose from the secular books you read, as I explain here:
    However I definitely have to change the format.

    As soon I have time I’ll visit your own blog 🙂

    Liebe Grüsse.

    2013/10/6 Disqus

  • It depends about whom you are speaking.
    For as you well said, there is a wide spectrum of progressives and liberals out there.

    I quote Biblical verses in the same I quote passages from a book of C.S. Lewis.
    Or in the same way French rationalists would quote Voltaire for that matter.

  • It’s certainly shocking and I have no idea if it truly occurred or not.

    But this is not what shock me the most in the Bible.
    If their pain lasted several minutes and they live eternally that is more than billions and billions of years in God’s presence, I would say this is not such a (huge) problem for me.
    It is the doctrine of eternal hell I find LOGICALLY incompatible with God’s love.

  • Yes, yes, Lothar. You did not subtract from my point. I get that you quote all over. All I am saying is that self-labeled progressive vary greatly in how they value the Bible as an epistemological fortress.

  • @ JWB,

    Yep, it does not say the Holy Ghost killed them or that Peter used magic to kill them, but boy, it sure implies it. And then the passage said that “great fear came over the whole church”.

    Do you think they knew this passage from Malachi 1:14:

    “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

    Whatever it is, the writer of Acts (?Luke) wanted to use the fear of the Lord to get people to do something — maybe only the readers know and it will remain a puzzle to us. But whatever it was — it was manipulative and scary. It is the type of church to avoid.

  • @ Lothar,
    My previous point is that I read lots of religious and secular books — if I am picking and choosing, it is from all of them. Do not try to dismiss me as only a secular reader. That would be grossly incorrect.

  • This is really not what I meant, I mentioned that as an example :=)

    2013/10/6 Disqus

  • Donna Yancosek Blizzard

    Ah yes, here is a perfect example of the problem I’m faced with every day Sabio. Terrible misinformation spread in the name of “scholarship” when there is no truth at all within it. Here is the issue. Jesus was a Jew as were all the Disciples and Apostles. They all taught and followed normative Judaism of the 1st century. They all spoke 4 languages, Hebrew 1st if they came from the Galilee, Greek 2nd, Latin 3rd and to a certain extent Aramaic depending on if they dealt with the Jews or merchants from the East towards Babylon or North up into Damascus. But, Aramaic and Hebrew are very similar languages and Mishnaic Hebrew of Jesus was busy absorbing many Aramaic words into their culture as also Greek words. Now here is the crux of the issue. Almost all of the NT is talking about the OT which was all Hebrew/a smattering of Aramaic in Daniel and Ezekiel. The Septuagint while used occasionally, was still speaking of Jewish ideas formulated in Hebrew. So if you didn’t know Hebrew, you don’t understand the text. Same with the NT. Roy BLizzard III

  • Yes, Sabio, I think it will likely remain a puzzle to us. However, just like the selling of one’s property to give to the church, this was an incident from the earliest days of the Jerusalem church.
    I don’t see a number of elements from that period continuing in the rest of the New Testament experience.

  • Yeah, I agree. And it is a good thing that Jerusalem-Peter effort failed as did the Mayflower Compact. Both bad Christian ideas — I wonder if the Mayflower thing was inspired by Christians seeing the Acts story as God’s way — I think lots of Christians have over the millennia.

  • Roy, are you using your wife’s account or did she just forget to log out? 🙂

    Maybe we disagree on who wrote the Gospels — I think they were not written by his disciples. And I wouldn’t be surprised that some of them were native Greek speakers and perhaps did not know Hebrew — but I am not sure.

    Nonetheless, I know that the knowing three languages thing is controversial. If you have a blog, you might want to update your Disqus profile to point at it.

  • Gary

    Actually I totally agree with picking and choosing. The only alternative is to either reject all or accept all and neither is a position I agree with.

  • Right. So the question is the methodology. (“hermeneutics”, I think they call it)
    How do you decide what is valid, useful or whatever.
    And there is great variance on that.

  • Gary

    I’m curious how YOU decide what is valid, useful or whatever. The methodologies in the search for truth I would think would be universally applicable. I personally seek to educate myself through research, seek to remove bias, seek to employ common sense, and as a believer attempt to be open to the leading of the Spirit. Apart from the last one, I imagine you seek to employ similar approaches.

  • Yep, that “believer” part and “leading of the Spirit” are two I don’t use — they make a big difference when it comes to reading ancient texts.

  • Gary

    They were one not two. (The leading is a result of being a believer…they are not seperate criteria) Ancient texts or everyday life…I see no difference. If there is a Spirit to lead…the leading is in all things.

    Point being we all pick and choose. This is a part of life we all share in common.

  • We all pick and choose: rather vacuous, actually, in that it is a truism.

    We all have different methods. Being a “believer” and feeling “lead by a Spirit” and completely different methods. These differences are well known. No pretending that all picking an choosing is the same.

  • Gary

    I submit they are the same. After your final evaluation you make a choice. When the choice is not clear from your methods of evaluation you rely on instinct, or gut feeling, or simply what seems right. So does a believer. The fact that some believe there is a Spirit to guide to the right gut instinct changes nothing actually. In truth either the believer falsely assumes there is a Spirit which at times guides their gut feelings, instinct, or what seems right, or the atheist falsely assumes there is no Spirit guiding their gut feelings, instinct, or what seems right. Either a Spirit leads or there is no Spirit to lead, and the end result is that both the believer and the non-believer use the exact same methods, albeit one of them in ignorance.

  • Well, it is a matter of weighting in their methodology.
    We can only shed light on the different of methods by watching them be applied to specific decisions. Otherwise, we waste our time talking in abstractions.

  • BTW, Gary, there are lots of psychological studies showing the difference in thinking between religious believers and non-believers. So we know there are differences. Of course, since they are studies of populations, they show tendencies and don’t show the same difference exists in every individual.

    Nonetheless, there are differences in the way believers and non-believers tend (an operative word) to think. I trust that you don’t deny all those studies.

    I contend that due to these differences in thinking , there is obviously a tendency in difference of choosing.

    As I said, this varies from individual to individual — but though we all choose, believers (in general) choose differently than nonbelievers. You can read Tomas Reese’s site “Epiphenom” if you are interested in the science (he reviews articles that study religion): here is one of hundreds: Religion is halfway between fact and opinion.

  • Gary
  • @ Gary,

    When trying to have a meaningful discussion with “studies”, it is important to:

    — not get sucked into media articles and believe their word-byte headline

    — look at the study itself and evaluate it the way scientists evaluate studies: Tom Reese’s site does this.

    You actually only linked to media write-ups on the same
    article: Harris MRI study in 2009 with n=30.

    Here is Reese’s review of your first article showing its limitations and what it does not say.

    Looking at many studies, shows difference for certain things. “Here’s a study too.” response does not work without analysis — and certainly not just throwing two media links to the same article.

  • Gary

    My point was that selectively posting links to studies is about as much of a final proof as is proof texting bible verses. Researching others opinions and “studies” is certainly a great place to begin one’s search for truth…but it most certainly is not the end of it.

  • Gary

    BTW – Of course your link was also not to the actual study, but rather an individual’s take on it on their blog. Very much like what was in the media links it seems to me. Differences of opinion.

  • BTW, I am noticing this is a waste of time. You have the last word.

  • Gary

    Now THAT’S funny. I love the way you decide to flee when you can’t control the discussion or set the rules. grin

    As for being a waste of time…yeah I realized that the moment you needed to proof text in order to claim some sort of authority for your view. Funny thing is…that is typically a fundy tactic. But of course…I do see you as a hard line fundamentalist so I guess I should not be surprised.


  • *nods*

  • Roy Blizzard III

    Yeah Sabio, I used my wife’s account on my last reply. The only time you’ll find any controversy on the 4 language theory is here in the States where Biblical research is hopelessly mired in denominationalism and not truth. In Israel where most of the really good research is being undertaken, the four language theory is not theory, but fact. It is a fact that the Galileans spoke predominately Mishnaic Hebrew, then Greek, then Latin, then Aramaic or Syriac. What we’ve come to realize about the Gospels is that what we have in the synoptics has been heavily redacted-chopped up and reworked. However, John has not. There was probably first an oral tradition and that was quickly written into either Matthew as a long singular account or Luke. Mark followed these and changes certain words into similes. This would be like changing sofa to chaise. Whether or not they were written by the disciples I can assure you what we have was not, but what the originals were no one can know, but they were probably all written down prior to 50. The Gospel of John flatly states that John was not the author, but he was probably telling the story to Paul in my honest opinion as John exhibits marked similarities to Hebrews and Romans which are clearly Pauline.

  • Roy Blizzard III

    Like I’ve been trying to explain to you Sabio, while what we have been handed in the NT has is written in Greek script, It is terrible Greek and has almost ZERO meaning. It is a transliteration from an earlier text that was either a written or oral Hebrew Text. While some use of the Septuagint was made, the Mishnaic Hebrew in the 1st century was a vibrant living language and the Jews in Israel made more use of it as opposed to the Septuagint. Nothing in the NT had a greek influence unless you are reading it in English and misinterpreting the text. While you may have doubts about the Hebraic influence in the NT, you just haven’t studied enough, especially in Israel. Maybe you should read a copy of my book, The Gospel of John, An Actual Translation. What the Hebrew text says and what the English and Greek texts say are totally opposed.

  • Is it important to study this “in Israel”? I don’t get that.

  • After reading this comment I looked at your book on Amazon and read some of the introduction and part of John chapter 1. I am sorry, but I do not find the argument convincing.
    There are many New Testament scholars who read Hebrew as well as Greek. Can you mention any other scholars who hold a position similar to yours?