First things first. I do recommend that anyone who is possibly offended or emotionally upset by this Page and its poignant scrutiny and its implications about Christology, before commenting PLEASE read my page Professor’s Netiquette for simple, easy guidelines for codes of conduct. Thank you.
“We are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.
Ignorance is not just a blank space on a person’s mental map.
It has contours and coherence, and for all I know
rules of operation as well.
So as a corollary to writing about what we know,
maybe we should add getting familiar with our ignorance.”
— Thomas Pynchon
Written or verbalized language like absolute truth, or 100% certainty, or infallible and immutable, or faith used in the same sentence with truth or trust… these words and phrases make my skin crawl. They cause me sharper suspicion when expressed to me. They suggest to me some possible/probable attributes about the author or speaker, and how they perceive themself, their existence and/or yours or mine, and their knowledge about it all. Let me stop here and allow you to listen and watch this 9-min video:
Did you answer for yourself all the questions asked? If not, I recommend replaying the video and answering half the questions, if not all.
This page (and series of posts) will be my comprehensive and exhaustive counters to why Christianity, when unveiled, thoroughly scrutinized, and shown its plethora of problems, inconsistencies, bad history, and erroneous, fictitious stories and myths, will always fail. It can no longer be held as ultimate divine truth or incomparable spiritual inspiration. Like Peter Pan or Sasquatch, Christianity is sociopolitical folklore. Here’s why.
∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼
The Human Condition
The human body is a highly complex organism. Our brains are perhaps the single most complex organism in the entire Milky Way Galaxy! Couple that with the very complex human body and all its parts, it is an unimaginable work of art—from the tiniest subatomic elements to the grand finale head-to-toe—the human form is the ultimate paradox. One of the most baffling, most unpredictable paradoxes of humans are the disconnects, the oft juxtaposition of the heart and brain, or emotions and reasoning. This applies to ALL human beings without exception, including the religious and Christians past, present, and future.
Imprecise Perception and Cognition by Humans
Emotions often make us uncharacteristically vulnerable, gullible, and distort our perceptions of reality. Those same emotions can tell us just how alive we are or metaphorically dead we are and all points in between. Reasoning can help us learn, memorize, find patterns, and consider a possible future. No other animals on Earth (as far as we know today) can perform these higher brain-functions of abstract time and concepts. We are walking, living, conglomerates of paradoxical moments in spectacular brilliance and spectacular ignorance at any given time. Perhaps the biggest reason why this ebb and flow happens within us is due to just 12.6-watts average of metabolic energy. That is what the human body and surrounding environment must supply the brain for one “normal” day. The rest of our body organs and functions demand and hog everything else! This limited and highly demanding set of metabolic-environmental restrictions make our human brains susceptible to deceptions, memory errors, silly superstitions, and ambiguity. This is especially true under extraordinary and/or regular traumatic circumstances no matter what time in human history is considered. Extraordinary and/or traumatic was present in and during the height (Golden Age) of the Roman Empire, as it was during World War II and the Holocaust, as it is during the Syrian and Rohingya-Myanmar Crises today. Human perception and cognition can be flawed. Let’s consider four examples.
What is apophenia? In modern psychology, apophenia is the perception of connections and meaningfulness in unrelated things. Apophenia can be a normal phenomenon or an abnormal one, as in paranoid schizophrenia when the patient sees ominous patterns where there are none. A popular example of this is the story and 2001 film of John Nash, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, called A Beautiful Mind. Those are abnormal cases, but what are normal cases? I will quickly list Wikipedia’s five examples of normal apophenia:
- Gambler’s fallacy
- Hidden meanings
- Confirmation bias
Klaus Conrad defined these as possible early signs of schizophrenia saying, they are “unmotivated seeing of connections [accompanied by] a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness.” However, these signs or symptoms can improve or worsen depending on the precipitating stimuli intensity and frequency changes.
Human Biases: EMT and Halo-Effect
EMT (Error Management Theory) is a perceptive and cognitive bias theory which proposes that psychological mechanisms are designed to be predictably biased when the costs of false-positive and false-negative errors were asymmetrical over evolutionary history. In simpler English, smoke alarms provide an illustrative example of error management as a general principle of engineering. Smoke alarms are deliberately set to go off what might seem to be ‘too often’ (sometimes they go off when you burn your toast), but this is only to avoid making a much worse error in the other direction (failing to go off when there is a real fire). Because there is uncertainty in the signal (the aerial particulates might appear similar to the smoke alarm in the two cases), the only way to make sure all genuine fires are detected is to set alarms to be extremely sensitive – we give them a bias. We might think the alarm has been set to be ‘too sensitive’, but they are set to go off just the right amount, given the available data on the dangers of real fires.
The central message of EMT – that is, the application of error management principles to understand human judgment and decision-making – suggests that occasional ‘mistakes’ are to be expected, and where they occur, they can betray adaptive, not maladaptive, behavior. An evolutionary perspective also offers ways to identify and predict cases of ‘mismatch’, where error management biases that evolved to deal with environments of our evolutionary past are likely to cause damaging behavior in the modern environment. The probabilities and costs of decision-making errors in any given domain are likely to be very different between the past and present.
In essence, we have a converging theory of the evolution of error. Developing a framework to study this counterintuitive logic can increase our ability to understand, and improve, the way we balance personal, social, economic, and political risks. Error management might therefore help us to avoid the costly mistakes that have plagued human history, while also taking the risks that have driven remarkable feats of human endeavor.
The Halo-effect is a particular cognitive bias where a person’s initial assessment of a person, place, or thing is presupposed to be wrong or doubtful based upon their own knowledge or experience which they believe to be unequivocally true. This 5-minute video explains…
The Placebo-Effect on Humans
A placebo is anything that seems to be a “real” medical treatment — but isn’t. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of “fake” treatment or performance. What all placebos have in common is that they do not contain an active substance or a Wizard in the Land of Oz meant to affect health or mood. Sometimes a person can have a response to a placebo. The response can be positive or negative. For instance, the person’s symptoms may improve. Or the person may have what appears to be side-effects from the treatment. These responses are known as the “placebo-effect.” And some of the studies of the placebo-effect — I wrote a post “Mind and Matter” about this phenomena — have shown that results of placebos are due to a person’s positive or negative expectations. Add peer-pressure or peer-assimilation and humans have a supercharged extraordinary or traumatic effect that often changes their life significantly, long-term or permanently, for better or worse. This brings me to my last tricky human perception and cognition…
Mob-Herd Mentality (or Performing Orthodoxy) by Humans
Because most humans are social creatures in need of acceptance or belonging, support, affirmation, and social-interaction for survival and increased meaning/purpose, peer-pressure or peer-assimilation is a powerful human tool or phenomena. And due to the aforementioned human conditions of gullibility, misperception, and flawed cognition a type of performing orthodoxy, as I put in parenthesis above, can also be a non-violent, policed dystopia. Consider these historical examples…
The French Revolution. In the late 18th century radical social and political chaos swept across France and throughout their colonies which removed the reigning King Louis’ absolute monarchy in bloody fashion. The new “Republic,” as it was called, was pretty much anyone who wasn’t clergy or aristocratically associated with the monarchy. As a result of the people’s Republic whipped up into a frenzy, vigilantes and farcical trials, between 40,000 – 50,000 French heads rolled from the guillotine’s blade. Some 300,000 Frenchmen and women were arrested by “public” prosecutors and thrown into dungeon cells to die. Even some of those prosecutors later received the guillotine from other prosecutors!
Sports Fans and Their Teams. An entire warehouse could be filled from floor to ceiling with the records and reports of sports fans turning rabid. Here is a very quick, very short-list:
- Nika riots in 532 CE — Constantinople; 30,000 deaths.
- Oregon v Oregon State “Civil War” football game in 1972 — all out brawl on the field between opposing fans.
- Atlanta Braves v San Diego Padres “Beanball” game in 1984 — police riot squads in full gear protecting both team benches.
- Juventus v Liverpool European Cup Final riots in 1985 — 39 deaths.
- Liverpool v Notts Forest FA Cup semi-final match in 1989 — 96 deaths, 766 injured.
- FIFA 2002 World Cup qualifying match in Zimbabwe — 13 deaths.
- Numerous rioting American sports fans and events; too many to list here.
- Egyptian Football League match and riot in 2012 — 74 deaths, 500+ injured. After sentencing 21 fans that ignited another riot leaving 30 dead, 400+ injured.
The next four cases of Mob-Herd Mentality I am going to briefly summarize and provide links for further reading and information should you be interested.
The Salem Witch Trials. The Devil’s magic and manipulation threw an entire small Massachusetts Puritan town into mass hysteria and paranoia. More than 200 people were arrested for witchcraft and 20 were executed.
The Holocaust. Some 24,000 members of Hitler’s Schutzstaffel, the SS or Death’s Head Unit were running the Nazi concentration camps. Tens of thousands more Germans claimed they didn’t know anything about the many camps or that millions of Jews were being rounded up and disappearing. Following the orders of just a few Nazi leaders, some 6-million people were exterminated.
The McCarthy Communist Hunts. Known as the Second Red Scare, Senator Joseph McCarthy began his bizarre hunts for communist spies in every aspect of U.S. government and the public. McCarthy managed to rile up other government officials and committees so much they completely disregarded the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
Mountain Meadow Massacre. This massacre took place in 1857 and was one of the most explosive episodes in the history of the American West—not only were 120 men, women and children killed, but the U.S. government and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints almost went to war. No Mormons were ever brought to trial except one: a Danite called John D. Lee.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of examples. Many scholars and psychologists would include all religious wars, like the Crusades. There’s just too many and too much history to cover it here. But how malleable are humans? Owing to cognitive bias, lack of broad quality education, and elevated hormones, there is little denying that from these above cases and factors human beings are and can be quite susceptible to blinding herd-mentality and/or dramatic performing orthodoxy. Puppets, if you will.
Historical Judaism vs. Late Christology
There exists one major misconception, backrooms of hostile takeover, of facade and concealment, and spectacles of Imperial power and glory that mainstream Christians today are unaware, avoid, or deny about the roots of their religion. It starts with 6th century BCE Judaism and ends with 5th century CE Roman hemorrhaging. What follows is from my March 2018 post, The Incarnation of G-Man.
Hellenist Anti-Semitism (and more)
Long-time Hebraic principles had moved more and more into esoteric obscurity for one big reason: foreign powers, subjugation, and exiles. With Second Temple Judaism there existed unique principles and philosophies distinct from old Israelite Judaism (polytheism) and compared to other Near and Middle Eastern religions of the time. The Hebrew word Mâšîah or Messiah, could mean priest, prophet, or king. During the 6th-century BCE while exiled in Babylonia, the ancient Jews began hoping for, wanting, and anticipating a special Anointed One to restore them into Israel. Then in 539 BCE the Persian king Cyrus allowed them to return to Israel. In the early stages of the 1st-century BCE, Jews were once again conquered and suffered harsh repression at the hands of the Greco-Seleucid Empire. Bitterness, rebellion, and hope for that special Anointed One rose again desperate for an independent Jewish kingdom.
To continue reading, go here.
The conclusion of that blog-post reads a bit like this… If there is no divine, miraculous God-man called Jesus Christ as shown by the full history, then there is no Christianity, only retrograde Christology or Hellenist Apotheosis.
Divine Revelation? Divine Participation?
General Revelation. This is indirect, and available to everyone. Some truths about God can be revealed through reason, conscience, the natural world, or moral sense.
Special Revelation. This is direct revelation to an individual or a group. This sort of revelation includes dreams, visions, experience and prophecy like manifestations of “tongues.” It also includes holy scriptures like the Old and New Testaments or the Bible.
For the multi-thousands or millions of human beings that are not born into and raised in any sort of active Christian home, it is completely reasonable to ask at some point, “Where is this (Christian) God? Show it to me so I might perceive this (Christian) God too!“
There’s one critical problem with claiming exclusive rights to divine revelations. Most non-Christian religions, the major ones in particular (e.g. Islam and Hinduism), also claim their God(s) is/are proven by these two forms of divine communication. With Islam 1.4 billion people commune daily with Allah! With 900-million Hindus they commune regularly with their Gods. At least 1.1 billion other religious people commune with their God(s)! Who is right? Who has or who is the one God, assuming there is just one? Are 2.1 billion Christians right and 5.4 billion others all wrong? How does one determine the answers? How do we determine the best questions? These questions and answers themselves presuppose a base of knowledge in order to determine. Even still, what is “knowledge” exactly? Better yet, what is knowledge without ignorance?
In last year’s 4-part series Games of Unknowledging, I widely covered the subject of knowledge and ignorance. In order to distinguish what is knowledge, reliable knowledge, one must recognize and understand ignorance. Otherwise, knowledge is merely an illusion, or an inconsistent hodge-podge of some relative facts and experiences. This makes the discipline of understanding ignorance, Agnotology, equally as important as knowledge! Even more so…
Ignorance is generated in many various forms. Naivety, neglect or apathy, myopia, secrecy, disinformation, extinction, censorship or suppression, faith, and forgetfulness. They are all sources and surrogates of ignorance. By it’s very definition it permeates many recognized and unrecognized domains.
Hence, it is strongly advised that you gain at least some basic skills and tools to recognize and understand ignorance because it is the ugly and/or undesirable twin of knowledge that will never go away. That said, let’s return to the two typologies of divine revelations, in particular the problematic and failing Christian divine revelations.
∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼
General Problems and Failures
What do other theistic religions say or criticize about Christianity’s claims? Why does it matter? One significant reason it matters is because Christianity is a derivative of Judaism and Judaism is a derivitive of other earlier religions. Over periods of time mutations and errors seap in while external factors, like foreign commerce, cultures or invasions and annexations, inevitably morph one thing into another as I have pointed out above and in my post The Incarnation of G-Man and others like Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ. For the sake of time and space the criticisms of Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam will be on separate pages. Click on their hyper-links if you want to know some of their contentions with Christianity. I hope you will.
From Judaism — their criticisms.
From Hinduism — their criticisms.
From Islam — their criticisms.
From a non-theistic viewpoint the problems, critiques, and failures of Christianity are plenty. Here are some.
Secularist and Non-Christian Critiques
Before going into the many logical secular reasons against Christianity, I want to cover in chronological order six historical figures and their arguments and challenges to the religion’s validity. One theme that seems to surface in their contentions is the attraction of Christianity to the uneducated, illiterate(?), and hence, those prone to
hysterical passionate intuition… renamed “faith.”
Another theme that surfaces is just the many numbers of non-Christian writings that are lost, banned, or destroyed leading up to the beginning of the 4th century CE as Rome’s emperor’s and the early Church Fathers made Hellenist Christianity the Law. We only know enough about these opponents due to fragments they selected and the great length many ancient Church Fathers and Christian Apologists spent to refute them. As such, these six persons are not an exhaustive list and I have only picked out from their work what I find most compelling.
Celsus (2nd century CE) — drawn from Origen’s Contra Celsus:
Celsus addresses a doctrine of Jesus’ followers, or their recruitment invitations to ignorant or uneducated numbers in ‘blind faith’: “Let no one come to us who has been instructed, or who is wise or prudent (for such qualifications are deemed evil by us); but if there be any ignorant, or unintelligent, or uninstructed, or foolish persons, let them come with confidence. By which words, acknowledging that such individuals are worthy of their God, they manifestly show that they desire and are able to gain over only the silly, and the mean, and the stupid, with women and children.“ […]
“…only foolish and low individuals, and persons devoid of perception, and slaves, and women, and children, of whom the teachers of the divine word wish to make converts.“ […]
“For why is it an evil to have been educated, and to have studied the best opinions, and to have both the reality and appearance of wisdom? What hindrance does this offer to the knowledge of God? Why should it not rather be an assistance, and a means by which one might be better able to arrive at the truth?“ […]
“Again, if God, like Jupiter in the comedy, should, on awaking from a lengthened slumber, desire to rescue the human race from evil, why did He send this Spirit of which you speak into one corner (of the earth)? He ought to have breathed it alike into many bodies, and have sent them out into all the world. Now the comic poet, to cause laughter in the theatre, wrote that Jupiter, after awakening, despatched Mercury to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians; but do not you think that you have made the Son of God more ridiculous in sending Him to the Jews?“
Regarding unoriginality of concepts: “Many of the ideas of the christians have been expressed better — and earlier — by the greeks, who were however modest enough to refrain from saying that their ideas came from a god or a son of god. The ancients in their wisdom revealed certain truths to those able to understand: Plato, son of Ariston, points to the truth about the highest good when he says that it cannot be expressed in words, but rather comes from familiarity — like a flash from the blue, imprinting itself upon the soul… But Plato, having said this, does not go on to record some myth to make his point (as do so many others), nor does he silence the inquirer who questions some of the truths he professes; Plato does not ask people to stop questioning, or to accept that god id like such and such… Rather, he tells us where his doctrines come from; there is, in short, a history to what he says, and he is happy to point to the sources of his knowledge, instead of asking us to believe that he speaks on his own authority.“ […]
“Not only do they misunderstand the words of the philosophers; they even stoop to assigning words of the philosophers to their Jesus. For example, we are told that Jesus judged the rich with the saying ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god.’ Yet we know that Plato expressed this very idea in a purer form when he said, ‘It is impossible for an exceptionally good man to be exceptionally rich.’ * Is one utterance more inspired than the other?“
[*Plato, LAWS, 743A] […]
“You christians have a saying that goes something like this: ‘Don’t resist a man who insults you; even if he strikes you, offer your other cheek as well.’ This is nothing new, and its been better said by others, especially by Plato, who ascribes the following to Socrates in the Crito…’Tis never right to do wrong and never right to take revenge; nor is it right to give evil for evil, or in the case of one who has suffered some injury, to attempt to get even.’ “ […]
“Christians, needless to say, utterly detest one another; they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching. Each sect brands its own, fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense.“
For more writings of Celsus and many more from Ancient history, click here.
Galen of Pergamon (c. 130 – 210 CE) — from a few of his writings: “One might more easily teach novelties to the followers of Moses and Christ than to the physicians and philosophers who cling fast to their schools.“ —De pulsuum differentiis, iii.3
“…in order that one should not at the very beginning, as if one had come into the school of Moses and Christ, hear talk of undemonstrated laws, and that where it is least appropriate.“ —Op. cit. ii. 4
“Most people are unable to follow any demonstrative argument consecutively; hence they need parables, and benefit from them… just as now we see the people called Christians drawing their faith from parables [and miracles], and yet sometimes acting in the same way [as those who philosophize]. For their contempt of death [and its sequel] is patent to us every day, and likewise their restraint in cohabitation…“ —Plato’s Republic Summary, Arabic quote
“If I had in mind people who taught their pupils in the same way as the followers of Moses and Christ teach theirs — for they order them to accept everything on faith — I should not have given you a definition.“ —Arabic quote, c. 189 CE
Porphyry of Tyre (c. 233 – 305 CE) — was arguably one of the most learned opponents of early Christianity having studied under Cassius Longinus then Plotinus. Porphyry was so respected throughout the pagan Empire that many generations of Christian apologists were obliged to dedicate much of their time to his attacks. Constantine and Theodosius II banned and burned most of Porphyry’s writings. Wikipedia’s brief account discusses his most controversial attack on fulfillment of prophecies claimed by Jews and Christians.
Sossianus Hierocles (284 – 305 CE) — Hierocles and Apollonius of Tyana go hand-in-hand with regards to Jesus. Both were regarded as “Divine Men” in the 1st century CE. Not only did Hierocles argue that the Jewish Tanakh and Christian New Testament possess many contradictions, but he also wrote in Lover of Truth that Apollonius had more valuable doctrines of truth than Jesus. Furthermore, in Hierocles opinion Jesus was overly boastful, arrogant, and claimed to be more than the Jewish Messiah/King according to his followers.
Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (330 – 363 CE) — when Emperor Julian inherited the Western Empire (Constantius II in the East at Constantinople), Julian saw the rise of Christianity as a descendant of sectarian Judaism which helped contribute to Rome’s internal decline and split. Christians refusal to perform pagan or Jewish ceremonial sacrifices deemed them unworthy of civil rights. Julian banned Christians the right to teach or learn their scriptures (School Edict in 362 CE) and hold worship. He also argued that there was no evidence of Jesus’ Messiahship in the Jewish Tanakh.
Guibert Of Nogent (1055 – 1124 CE) — had serious issues with his contemporary church officials claiming to have relics of saints. One monastery nearby to Guibert claimed to have a toddler’s tooth of Jesus Christ. When the Cathedral of Laon burned down in 1112 CE he wrote:
“It engaged a preacher to seek alms for repairing its loss. this man, after a long and exaggerated discourse on his relics, brought forth a little reliquary and said, in my presence, “Know that there within this little vessel some of that very bread Lord pressed with His own teeth; and, if you believe not, here is this great man” – this he said of me – “here is this great man to whose renown in learning ye may bear witness, and who will rise from his place, if need be, to corroborate my words.” I confess that I blushed for shame to hear this; […]
What shall I say? Not even monks (not to speak of the secular clergy) refrain from such filthy gains, but they preach doctrines of heresy in matters of our faith, even in mine own hearing. For, as Boethius says “I should be rightly condemned for a madman if I should dispute with madmen.” “
Shady, unethical claims and relics were so excessive across medieval Christian Europe that he concluded:
“Fraudulent deals are frequently struck – not so much in the case of whole bodies, as in the case of limbs and parts of the bodies – and common bones are this distributed to be venerated as the relics of saints. These things are clearly done by those who, according to the apostle, ‘suppose gain to be godliness’ and turn those very things which should serve for the salvation of their souls into the excrement of bags of money.”
No Medical-Scientific Foresight — The Jewish Christian God is said to be omniscient and compassionate, granted in finicky ways. Yet, the creator of the Universe did not reveal many basic truths and laws about life and the Earth such as bacterial germs and infections which would have relieved countless centuries of horrific suffering, including for children, and for millions upon millions of people. Instead the Genesis creation myths are in totality wrong and could have never happened as narrated. The omission of correct science and medical clues demonstrates the Bible was composed by flawed, naïve men and not divinely inspired from an omniscient [sic] God.
Tunnel-vision in an Astronomical Cosmos — It is very well-known that the non-scientific community did not accept the proven Heliocentric Model until 1822. For over 3-millenia or at least 3,500+ years religious human beings believed the entire Universe revolved around Earth. When the Bible was composed everyone, especially the Christian world-view, believed everything in the sky, every single star, planet, our moon, the Milky Way, and our Sun rotated around us. It was all made for us. In fact, the Christian and Jewish world-views were centered strictly on one tiny part of Earth, starting with the Levant, a bit further with the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, then westward in the Roman Empire — only about one-tenth of the Earth’s total land mass — compared to our Solar System, the Milky Way, and the rest of the Cosmos. That was “God’s” tiny scope. Think about that! Furthermore, in terms of actual elapsed time, the Bible teaches or implies about 10,000 years of life on Earth in comparison to the actual age of 4,540,000,000 years in a 13,800,000,000 year old Cosmos. The math is right. The Bible’s math wrong.
Here is something more harebrained to consider. If the Abrahamic God created all of existence as a test on the human race, then it begs at least five further questions:
- If God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, then why is His creation in so much disarray, diseased, volatile, extinction-events left and right, and ecologically damaging, and these conditions supposedly caused by one of His own created angels (Satan)?
- Why did God wait more than 9.2-billion years after creating this insane/Satanized Universe to construct a chaotic/Satanized Earth?
- Why did God wait some 9.1-billion years after creating the Earth to create bipedal human beings?
- Why did God wait some 100,000 years after creating bipedal human beings before making any contact with them as described in His Bible?
- Why did God allow some additional 3,500 years to elapse — after initial contact with humans — before his “Holy Word” had spread world-wide? Why not just drop it in the lap of several civilizations on all continents?
Why this extremely tiny, miniscule stage on Earth in an astronomical Cosmos, for a split second in time, only to watch benevolently as humans struggle painfully for good, evil, or helplessly to microscopic calamity after calamity? The answer is quite simple.
Gender Inequality — Due to Adam being created first and Eve second as a helpmate, according to God’s Bible, it was assumed by God’s small, nomadic, “chosen” people whose men were superior to women. This was the case with other patriarchal societies at the time. Read Proverbs 31:10-31, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 for starters. However, in modern progressive societies women have the right for equal status and opportunities. Marriage is a team-effort, 50/50, as opposed to antiquated social-norms of hierarchy: man = master and woman = subservient. Yet again, an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God did not foresee this social movement and evolution worldwide.
Sexual Ambiguity & Orientations — Biblical Christianity is completely locked into a binary sexual system, a black-n-white of heterosexuality only, nothing else. Many passages in the Old and New Testaments confirm this hardfast rule. Should any Christian church (that strictly follows Scripture, God’s Word) allow homosexuality or non-binary orientations inside their doors and on their staff are then conceding the Bible is wrong. As the science continues to prove unequivocally that sexual ambiguity and orientations are clearly an embryonic development, not post-natal, churches that hold firm to biblical teachings will find their numbers and memberships dropping with each passing year. Humanity is a genetically, embryonically, and neurologically complex, diverse species, not in all cases binary, and certainly not socially black or white.
I have covered this topic extensively in several blog-posts and blog-pages: Sexual & Gender Ambiguity: My Once Gross Ignorance, Compos Mentis: Rationality Prevails, For Now, Toss the 2-D Glasses, A Supreme Decision, Influences Upon the Majority, and Untapped Worlds – Reside. From the animal kingdom and Nature, this post and two pages: The Nature of Love, Whiptail Lizards, and Homo sapien Cousins.
Either way, Christianity and Judaism lose regarding the truth of genetic, embryonic, sexual ambiguity-orientation versus what their God’s Bible claims.
Delimitation of Eternal Life — Many Jews and Christians accept the modern evolution of 4.5-billion years of life on Earth. But this causes a problem with when God’s eternal life or damnation started for living organisms and humans. If eternal reward or punishment began 4.5-billion years ago, even single-celled lifeforms would be in heaven. A litany of animals too would be in hell or heaven. No matter where the line is drawn, this problem persists.
Ovum, Zygote, Embryo, or Fetus? — A majority of Christians believe human life begins at the moment of conception or fertilization as a zygote. This view, however, poses a problem. If for some uncontrollable reason a zygote does not enter the uterus, i.e. a miscarriage or stillbirth, does the zygote, embryo, or fetus go to heaven? When is life worthy of eternal heaven or hell and why? There is no sensible, fair way to resolve this biblical conundrum.
Age of Accountability — Some Christians believe that children who die or are killed at a young age get a free-pass into heaven. They believe this applies especially to those children born with severe mental and/or physical disorders/deformities. Unbelievably, however, the Bible is clear about original, inherited, and imputed sin/damnation no matter the age or mental condition of a human or animal (Psalm 51:5). The problem is further convoluted by the New Testament or New Covenant. See Romans 1:20; 1 John 2:2; Acts 1:8; 2:38–39. Hence, for many hardcore, intuitive, fundamental Christians this means dying at a young age is much more preferable for a guaranteed spot in heaven rather than risking a fuller long-life and being snagged or tricked by Satan and subsequently condemned to hell. Many deluded, psychotic Christian parents have exploited this loop-hole as justification to murder their young children into heaven. This link here demonstrates the still ongoing (for 2+ millenia), psychotic confusion at the expense of infants, toddlers, and children. Read the bottom paragraphs in the first green box.
Unaccountability or Passing the Buck — Imagine O.J. Simpson or Timothy McVeigh persuades you or a gullible teenager to serve a lifetime prison-sentence or death-sentence for their committed murders while they go free. Millions of Christians have accepted this rationale for multiple centuries and still today embrace this rationale, yet in almost all civilized countries around the world no judicial system allows it. This leads to the next serious problem…
Mindset/Words over Action/Deeds — What is held in highest regard in Christianity, thinking and words, or lifestyle and behavior? Jesus said “go and sin no more” (behavior: John 8:3-11). Paul said later “it is by grace through faith” (thinking: Ephesians 2:1-10). For over 2-millenia Christians still cannot unanimously agree if it is one or the other or both. Yet, while many inmates wait on death row for execution, some of them find and get God’s mercy and heaven according to the Bible despite their action and deeds. With this Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card ideology, it advocates and nurtures all sorts of crimes against humanity and civilization with the real potential of still gaining eternal life in heaven.
Praying — This is no debate, praying is (externally) ineffective in repeated statistical probabilities and measurements of coincidence. Paralyzed individuals, amputees, the terminally ill, and all those who pray not to have natural disasters or catastrophic weather on themselves and/or to their properties in varying degrees usually fail — no one wants to pray for their
random turn to occur for these horrible events, right? It is going to happen to some/many and it won’t happen to some/many. However, Christian Scripture doesn’t teach this humble wisdom: Matthew 17:20. Also, Mark 11:24, James 5:16, John 14:13-14, 2 Chronicles 7:14, and Jeremiah 29:11-15. When the data-testing is accumulated and considered, there is no consistent results whatsoever that demonstrate the advantage of prayer when so many millions of others are hoping (or praying) for different results, let alone what Nature will do on her own. If anything, data shows it is a possible/probable individualized Placebo-effect.
Double Standards & Mutable Grace with Time — As was noted above with the problem of Age of Accountability, some Christians believe that young innocent toddlers who die or are killed do not go straight to heaven. This includes zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. Based on their exegesis of the Bible — and this link contacted the renown Billy Graham about this conundrum — they believe:
Children who die in their innocent years will make this decision after being resurrected as mortals and reaching maturity following the Second Coming of Jesus.
But here is the problem with this theology or interpretation of canonical Scriptures. If we all have a second (third?) chance in another holding-dimension of existence, then why be so overly concerned about “unsaved” non-Christian lives right now, in this life? Furthermore, with second chances at death, if this ends up to be true, then it is fact not faith that determines one’s eternal fate. Absurd? You bet it is! It is a dancing circus-magic show to cover all bases over 2-3 millenia in order to be the one and only superior world-view.
Contortion, Fragmenting and Disunity — Is there one single Christian church? Do all the billions of Christian churches have one identical name with one identical mission statement? Is there one identical Bible throughout the entire world that was passed down from 40 CE until today? No, of course not. Not even Second Temple Judaism, of which Christianity was/is an offspring, was completely united with one identical synagogue. Sectarian Judaism is a huge reason why the Roman Empire and authorities had very little patience and swift punishment on Jewish dissenters or aspiring “Kings.”
Most all parts of human society and its rising civilizations occurred because of human partitioning, human specializations, humans adapting to demands of circumstances and environment within a fluid network of language and communication. Errors or unanticipated factors or natural catastrophes also contribute or disrupt the rise of the culture or civilization. This too occurs within many animal species and their group infrastructure. One society, culture or civilization is NOT exactly identical to another. The needs and demands are all different because of location and timeframe. The inability for a civilization or society to adapt, morph, flex, change, contort, etc, to fit the present needs/demands will decline and ultimately go extinct. But here is the problem. Jesus apparently stated:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” (Matthew 23:8)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
Today, there are at least 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural Christian mega-blocks, some 40 major divisions from those, and easily well over 2,500 various denominations (if not a lot more!) all with different church names and different mission statements. Christianity is obviously a man-made ideology.
Natural Causes – Not Moody, Finicky Tantrums — Since at least the Renaissance and especially over the last century humanity and science have increasingly better understood and have begun to control laws of Nature, human health, disease, and well-being, and many of Earth’s species and ecological systems. Many things about all of these natural disciplines science will improve, perfect, and discover new ones. With time, wisdom, and wide-open learning minds humanity will only continue to explain everything from Natural laws and science. During the eras after the Renaissance, humanity and science has learned there is no evidence or efficacy for interventions of gods or a God, angels, demons, or a devil. Natural disasters, mass extinctions, mass shootings, wars, mental-illnesses and birth-defects, or plagues, are better understood as Natural causes, interactions, and consequences. Not from an altruistic, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God. If that were the case, then this “God” is more psychotic, or finicky and quite moody to torture and play games like these on miniscule humans and animals. Besides, without a supernatural guardian that means WE HUMANS (together) have the/some power and brilliance to change it or tweak it a bit!
Lack of Independent Sources — There are at least 41 known Pagan and Jewish authors/historians during Jesus’ lifetime or within less-than 100 years of his life that aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author (Josephus), and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers (Pliny the Younger & Suetonius), there is no mention of a Jesus Christ. Nor within a century of Jesus’ life do any of these authors/historians make any mention of the later disciples or apostles. They are:
Why the Literal Hiding? — This argument was proposed by Dr. Theodore Drange in his book Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the nonexistence of God. Basically it says:
…there is no good argument or evidence for God’s existence. […] Even theists sometimes say such things as “God is hidden” or “the world is ambivalent or ambiguous (as between being governed by God or being totally natural).” Whether such a statement is made in terms of “hiddenness” or “ambivalence” or “ambiguity,” it runs counter to Saint Paul’s (General-revelation) idea, expressed in Rom. 1:20, that “God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” So if it is a statement made by Christian writers at all, they would not be Calvinists or evangelical Christians, but rather Christians of a more liberal persuasion.
Drange goes on to explain why arguing from a position of non-belief is much more reasonable and sound than from a position of lacking evidence (or LEA):
Argument from Nonbelief:
- (A) Probably, if God were to exist, then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world.
- (B) But there are many nonbelievers in the world.
- (C) Therefore, probably God does not exist.
The term “nonbelievers” as it appears here can be taken in various ways. Let us take it to refer to nontheists. Since that class includes not only atheists and agnostics but also deists, pantheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless other individuals throughout our planet who do not believe in a single Supreme Being, it actually contains close to half the earth’s population… a well-established empirical truth, given a suitable definition for the term “nonbelievers.”
I recommend reading Drange’s full contrast and comparison on The Secular Web here at Infidels.org.
Confounding Slippery Judgment — Related to the above words vs. deeds and ovums, zygotes, and embryos, Christianity’s doctrine of final judgment after death can be interpreted as incomprehensible, cruel and confounding in terms of its justification. Jim Jones, cult leader of the People’s Temple, and self-proclaimed Christian and by his followers and the Disciples of Christ denomination, and eventually responsible for commanding the mass suicide of 913 followers, including 276 children, could have grasped in the final minutes of his life and those of his followers, his highly risky supervision and directive in the eyes of God and just before shooting himself in the head, confessed all sins upon Jesus. According to Christian doctrines of salvation, Jim Jones would have entered Heaven. The murdered children under the age of 5-7, who knows. In contrast, the approximate 6-million Jews of the Holocaust who never accepted Christ as their Savior/Messiah are sent to eternal Hell. What could be more irrational?
Ted Bundy, a popular serial murderer of at least 28 women, probably more, and rapist-murderer of a 12-year old girl, confessed his sins according to the Bible just before his execution and therefore entered Heaven.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, a renown philanthropist, humanitarian, and secularist/agnostic, i.e. non-Christian, has given more than $50-billion to global charities of education, development, and healthcare. Yet, according to mainstream Christian biblical doctrines he will be sent to Hell for eternal damnation while Ted Bundy and perhaps Jim Jones are in “Heaven.” Want to try to explain that jurisdiction from the bible? I invite you, please.
∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼
Specific or Biblical Problems and Failures
Nowthat we’ve covered many of theism’s and Christianity’s proposed general revelations of authenticity and shown them to be highly problematic and frankly many to be failures, let’s look into its special claims of authentic revelations, particularly within their 4th century CE canonical Bible.
Plagiarized/Common Miracle Stories — The first step Christians must take in order to wrap their heads around this reality is to gain a good (above average) understanding of historical methodology and complimentary disciplines of historical social sciences, particularly philology, and those of cultural studies, especially ancient Rome, Greece, Arabia, and Persia, historical or ancient sociology, social psychology, and ancient anthropology. Most fundamentalist or zealous Christians flatly refuse to learn these valuable sciences in order to understand why the claimed “miracle” stories in the Gospels are indeed common throughout the ancient world. They are also found as a patchwork from all the world’s four other major religions and some minor ones. Nonetheless, eccentric Christians still deny, and perhaps will always deny any historical archetypal Savior resembling their Christ of the Gospels. Despite their heartfelt yearnings for Jesus’ miracles to be incomparable, unmatched, it’s simply a pipe dream. These predate Jesus with their god and religion:
- Remarkable foretelling of deity — Osiris/Dionysus
- Virgin birth — Horus, Osiris/Dionysus, Buddha, Krishna
- A guiding star — Horus, Osiris/Dionysus
- A nativity visit by royalty — Horus, Osiris/Dionysus, Krishna
- The baby God threatened by jealous ruler — Krishna
- Manifesting extraordinary wisdom in childhood — Horus
- Turning water into wine — Osiris/Dionysus
- Walking on water — Horus, Buddha
- Enabling lame to walk — Krishna
- Healing sick — Buddha, Krishna
- Raising dead persons — Horus, Elijah (1 Kings 17:18-24), Osiris, Attis, Persephone, Dionysus, Odin, Tammuz, several others
- Restoring sight to the blind — Krishna
- Allying storms on the sea — Indra, Set, Zeus, Jupiter
- Casting out devils — Kali and Hindu Vedas, Jewish Essenes
- Communion by holy meal representing the God’s body — Mithra
- Being put to death — Horus, Mithra, Buddha, Krishna
- Rising from the dead — Horus, Osiris/Dionysus, Mithra, Buddha, Krishna
- Ascension into heaven — Osiris/Dionysus, Buddha, Krishna
- Providing salvation for mankind — Osiris/Dionysus, Buddha
This is only an introductory list.
Hellenist-Roman Bias — If one is to recognize and understand this noticeable slant of the canonical New Testament, then one must leave and go beyond strictly traditional Church Father Christian sources while also expanding your Judeo-Christian sources. Between 60 CE and 74 CE practically every Jewish sectarian, in particular the outlying zealous, pious sectarians like the Baptists (John the cousin), Essenes (Qumran), and Sicarii (at Masada) that were typically part of the turmoil inside Jerusalem and the Temple as well as outside the walls of Jerusalem, were wiped out by Emperor Titus and his four Roman Legions. These were the “eyewitness” to any rebel-reformer named Jesus. Naturally, anyone who publicly did not ally themselves with those groups/sects, Rome spared. This included the Roman citizen and Hellenized educated (Hillel school) Saul of Tarsus, or Paul.
These Hellenic influences and background most definitely were more favored by pagan/Roman/Gentile converts during Paul’s evangelism of the Empire and more so in the following centuries as they evolved after Paul’s death. However, when the earliest “The Way” reformers (followers) of post-Jesus, then later those of Jesus’ brother James in Jerusalem — the roots of what is today conspicuously called Judeo-Christians — did not see eye-to-eye with Paul’s “new” doctrines and theology. In fact, there were several heated disagreements, Galatians 2:11-14 (c. 50-60 CE); Acts 15:13-40; 21:17-26 (c. 85-90 CE); James 2:17 vs Romans 4:1-16 (c. 55-58 CE) & Galatians 3:6-9; countered by James 2:21-24 (c. 62-100 CE). And the authorship of James and Ephesians on these confrontations are unclear, the vague names and unspecified introductions of authorship were perhaps at later times done intentionally by copyists.
What becomes quite clear regarding increased distinction from Judaism toward anti-Semitism arrives for us in the form of the later written (c. 85-90 CE) canonical Gospel: Matthew. Jesus supposedly salutes a Roman centurion for exhibiting more faith than all of Israel (Matthew 8:5-13). Why make that blunt distinction unless there are anti-Semitic undertones by the author(s). Then the anti-Semitism or Hellenist-Roman bias is glaringly confirmed with Matthew 27:24. With the mainstream Roman-Hellenist anti-Semitism gradually spreading, by default it endorsed Trinitarian imaginations from the 2nd – 5th century CE Hellenist Church Fathers such as Theophilus, Ignatius, and Polycarp, to Tertullian up to Gregory Thaumaturgus and enforced by Emperors Constantine to Theodosius II. By then there were no longer any serious Jewish or earliest Judeo-Christian contenders or Messianic critics remaining to challenge Rome and most assuredly the Hellenist Roman Church.
No Fact Checking — Most biblical scholars agree that the Gospel authors were not actual eyewitnesses to Jesus and his reform movement. Neither were they historians the way we define historians today. On the contrary, the Gospel writers were average to modestly good, smart storytellers borrowing from oral traditions and sparse written manuscripts. However, by extensive comparative philology and linguistics biblical scholars are quite certain these Gospel writers inserted myths and exaggeration as they saw fit. Why not? There were no opposing sources of information, especially not Roman, and if anything were untrue or modified with every passing year and decade of the 1st century there were less or no survivors to testify against the fallacies. See table above of all known 1st century historians/writers that say nothing significant or at all of a Jewish reformer named Jesus.
Gospel Contradictions — Many Christians assert the books of the Bible are inspired or directly breathed by an infallible God onto ancient papyrus. Many of those same Christians believe that all the human scribes/writers over multiple centuries rigorously copied down, word for word, letter for letter, exactly what God spoke. Has it ever changed? Do all printed Bibles today or any extant manuscripts/Bibles going back to ancient Rome or Antiquity have the exact same words, cover to cover, today? Take a look at this wonderful website on this controversial topic: The [Western] Holy Bible.
Let us take the four Gospels of the New Testament that Christians and Apologists claim describe the same events. Here are just four significant contradictions about Jesus’ Messiahship and the supposed events after his execution.
- The Joseph genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke differ greatly after King David, which is apparently about 28 to 42 generations to Jesus, a serious error while “claiming” or being anointed the prophesied Messiah.
- Following both Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels as to where Jesus was born is unclear, confusing. Was he ever called Jesus of Bethlehem (Judea) anywhere in the New Testament? No, he was always referred to as Jesus of Nazareth (Galilee). Keep that in mind. This birthplace problem is due to the gravity of Micah 5:2, a popular Jewish prophetic verse regarding their saving, expected Messiah. But Matthew 2:21-23 contradicts Luke 2:4. Both passages infer that Nazareth in Galilee was Joseph’s and Mary’s home. Matthew says Joseph and Mary were fearful of living in Judea (Bethlehem). Why then travel so far to a place the parents are petrified of going… unless there is some sort of hindsight of Micah 5:2 and later retro-fitting the Gospels after the older 30-something year old Jesus had been executed? Unknowingly by the Gospel writers Luke is focused on the Bethlehem prophecy while Matthew is focused on Jesus being a Nazarene from Nazareth. However, that is a problem as well. “He will be called the Nazarene” is embarrassingly nowhere in the Old Testament books of the prophets. Ever since, the word-games and exegesis Christians play with Nazarite, Nazorene, Nasoraen, etc, only further complicate the problematic contradiction. This later discovered birth-place problem decades after the execution of Jesus, suggests the Gospel scribes (e.g. Luke) and earliest Church Fathers attempted to rectify this problem (unsuccessfully) with the Roman census of 4 BCE, covered in the next section below Luke’s Roman Census.
- Who exactly found Jesus’ tomb empty is another Abbott & Costello Who’s On First, Who’s On Second circus routine.
- In Mark the first written Gospel — Mary Magdalene, James’ mother Mary, and Salome discovered no body.
- In Matthew — Mary Magdalene and some other Mary(?); no body.
- In Luke — a group of women following Jesus from Galilee, which included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James’ mother Mary, and two others; no body.
- In John the last Gospel written — only Mary Magdalene, unsure about a body, and only the stone/rock cover removed before she ran away. Why wouldn’t an infallible God get His facts straight, for all of time?
- What was found at the tomb by whom is equally an Abbott & Costello skit. The Gospels give these confusing accounts:
- In Mark — one man wearing a white robe was sitting inside the tomb.
- In Matthew — outside standing on the moved stone-cover was an angel.
- In Luke — two men wearing remarkable clothes.
- In John — one of the Mary’s, Peter, and an unnamed disciple find the tomb merely empty. Peter and unnamed disciple enter empty tomb and find only cloth wrappings. They both leave. A Mary gazes in and sees two angels in white. She quickly converses with them, turns around to see Jesus.
These contradictions and many, many more throughout the New and Old Testaments can be adequately explained in a combination of ways as such:
- The scribes/writers and editors made significant errors in dictation and copying.
- The original authors/copyists were not inspired, much less watched, by an infallible God. The Gospel accounts do not line-up and cause confusion rather than divine clarity.
- Ulterior motives are in play. The accounts are intentionally changed around in order to fit personal and/or the superior’s beliefs and biases, or a cover-up. Whatever combination Christian Apologists drum-up, clearly God did not oversee is supposed perfect, divinely inspired Bible and New Testament. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not historically reliable nor a God-breathed infallible product.
For a little light entertainment about Bible contradictions — borrowed from the bible visuals website…
Luke’s Roman Census — Essentially almost all historical and biblical scholars unanimously agree that Jesus was born c. 4 BCE during the final 12-30 months of Herod’s reign and life in Syro-Judea, 37 BCE to c. 4 BCE. The Gospel of Luke claims Jesus’ birth-place was Bethlehem in Judea. Quirinius, the Imperial Legate of Roman Syria, was commissioned to complete a tax census of the newer province of Judea in 6 CE. But here is the major problem with the Gospel of Luke’s sketchy dates:
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. “(Luke 2:1-5)
With Rome’s obsession with meticulous records of everything within the Empire, especially concerning revenues, it was absolutely recorded, and as we do indeed have in thousands of extant Roman records, there was never a single census (tax, registration or otherwise) of the “entire” empire during Caesar Augustus. Never did any Roman census demand that people travel long distances to the birth-place of ancestors or their’s. Furthermore, the census of Judea (Bethlehem) would’ve never affected Joseph’s family, then living in Galilee (Nazareth). Dr. Nicholas F. Gier of the University of Idaho addresses in detail this unrealistic, very un-Roman policy here. He writes:
In Josephus’ account of the census in 6 C.E., he explicitly states that those people taxed were assessed of their possessions, including lands and livestock. In other words, the census takers were also the tax assessors. In Egypt these tax assessors went from house to house in order to perform their duties. With this in mind, let us look at a crucial error in Luke’s account. Luke has Joseph and Mary making a three-day journey away from their home in Nazareth to register in their alleged ancestral home Bethlehem. But an Egyptian papyrus recording a census in 104 C.E. explicitly states that “since registration by household is imminent, it is necessary to notify all who for any reason are absent from their districts to return to their own homes that they may carry out the ordinary business of registration….” Unlike Matthew, who does not mention a census nor Nazareth as Mary and Joseph’s home, Luke describes Nazareth as “their own city” (Lk. 2:39). If the rules of this Egyptian census applied to Palestine, then Joseph and Mary should have stayed in Nazareth to be enrolled.
Dr. Bart Ehrman also goes into depth here about Luke’s erroneous Gospel account of an unrealistic, very un-Roman, wrongly-dated “world wide registering census” (Luke 2:1).
If we assume all of this Gospel juggling of various Roman family members and time off jobs and wages to travel long distances to birth-places had actually occurred — rather than more pragmatically at living-work places — it would’ve decimated the provincial economy and Rome would’ve been irate. It simply did not happen as Luke portrays it and almost unanimously historical and biblical scholars agree on this.
The reason for this decades later trickery and diversion in Luke is that during Jesus’ teachings, reformation, then execution and later movements by disciples in Jerusalem and growing followers of Saul/Paul, though unimportant during his life it was assumed he had been born in Nazareth raised in Galilee. Problem. Prophecy says the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Therefore, in hindsight decades later this dead morphing Jew rebel-reformer turning Hellenist-Pauline Christ had to receive properly anointed Messianic credentials to bolster the a global title of Savior. Once again, where is the total inerrancy of God’s breathed Scriptures?
Non-Canonical Gospels — By the end of the 2nd century CE there were some 45-60 written gospels about the nature of Jesus. By the end of the first two Ecumenical Councils in 325 and 381 CE respectively, these bishops chose four Gospels out of 60 circulating testimonies. Only three of them sort of agreed on all borrowed details, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but John was theologically very different from the first three. What’s also quite interesting is that the 50-something other gospels discarded and considered heretical, don’t align much at all theologically with the four selected. The most significantly different non-canonical gospels were the Gospel of the Ebionites, Gospel of the Hebrews, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of the Nasoraens, Gospel of Peter, and the popular Gospel of Thomas.
What could all this mean? Some strands of truthiness lay scattered among the cumulative gospels and their varied, truthy and fabricated elements about Jesus. Exactly who he was may never be known; there’s simply not enough surviving evidence. Despite this comprehensive lack of evidence there is plenty to disturb an inquisitive Christian. These many Councils of human Hellenist bishops over a 429-year plus period, most certainly selected the Gospels and Epistles that favored pagan-Gentile Hellenist culture, flattering themselves, and whatever did not they decreed as illegal and had authorities and the Roman legions hunt them and destroy them. This undoubtedly glossed over the early Church history of what is now Greco-Roman Apotheotic Christology, not Jewish Messianism or Jesus’ reforms of Judaism as the much wider picture portrays.
James and the Jerusalem Church/Council — As mentioned, after Jesus’ execution there developed two diametric theologies/churches within earliest Christianity. First was the one in Jerusalem inherited and led by Jesus’ brother James and his Jewish disciples. The other was Paul’s and his Gentile converts. The Jerusalem Church did not believe Jesus was divine, much less equal to God. That would be horribly impious to Jewish traditions and Messianic doctrines. They thought Jesus would simply and possibly be the Messiah-Priest or Messiah-King-Warrior. Period. Done. But returning Israel to independence. Jesus was utterly defeated in these regards. That said, most Jews did believe in a resurrection, but not exactly the one proposed later by old Roman-Hellenist traditions.
Paul had an entirely different vision of salvation and resurrection greatly diverging from his abandoned Jewish heritage and that of the Jerusalem Church’s theology. It was also more suitable and attractive to Gentile Romans and how they understood gods. It most certainly had a much larger growth potential than the always bickering, annoying, disuniting sectarian Judaism and Messianism that seem to always disturb the civil peace. An added benefit Paul tossed in was the fact that in order to gain eternal salvation, one did not need to stringently perform works/deeds. Faith was all that was required. Enter the eventual Jewish-Roman Wars and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE followed by the siege and annihilation at Masada in 74 CE and Paul no longer has any opposition to his global Christ through faith. Once again, it isn’t historical facts that survive, but victorious Rome that stands unopposed and all-powerful, as she has always liked it.
Public Disturbances and Insurrection? — If you know important details about how the Roman Empire kept the public peace, how they governed and how intolerant they were with rebels, enemy spies, and insurrection, then you’d also know that Rome frequently had their own spies within the population. They certainly had many loyal, true Roman citizens willing to report suspicious, covert activities if it meant some type of societal or political gain. As astonishing as Jesus’ public miracles had to be according to the four Gospels, coupled with the rumblings and rumors of the Messiah has arrived, it is practically guaranteed that Rome, the Provincial Legates, Roman spies and loyal Roman citizens would have reported and recorded these wild, never-before-seen events. No question. The reality? Nothing at all, not even vague hints in any of the thousands of extant ancient Roman records report any of these miracles by Jesus prior to Josephus’ much later mention about his arrest and execution. That’s it.
If someone rumored to be Israel’s Messiah had taken two fish and five loaves of bread, then suddenly turned them into multiple loaves and fish that fed several thousands in Galilee (Matthew 14:13-21 also in John) and with these events appears to upstage the Roman authorities, Consuls, and Legates, I guarantee they would have recorded an investigation and quickly dealt with the potential insurrection. Yet, there are no such Roman records. None! The only sources or records anywhere in existence for these miracles are in the Gospels, nowhere else. The severe lack of independent corroborating sources, i.e. non-Christian or non-Judeo-Christian sources, in particular Roman records, once again makes the historicity of the Gospels enormously dubious and unreliable.
Multiple Messiahs — This subject and problematic Jewish history for Christendom I have covered at length in my blog-post The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus. Dr. Bart Ehrman covers the very misguided Hellenist (re)invention of the suffering Messiah here. Christians want to misinform us that the teachings, miracles, Messianic expectation and fulfillments were all unheard of at the time and never before seen or done. Jesus, they claim, was incomparable to any human being that ever walked the Earth and ever will. This is categorically wrong.
What is important to know is that during Second Temple Judaism, Messianism had several interpretations and expectations. It was not explicit nor in agreement in several fashions as to what Israel’s savior-king was to look like, arrive, or how he would bring about their independence. There were many Messiah-claimants during this time-period and at least four claimants prior to Jesus: Hezekiah the Zealot, Simon of Peraea, Athronges, and Judas the Galilean, by the way also born c. 6-7 CE during the Quirinius census (Josephus, “Antiquities” xviii. 1, § 1). One reason these Messiahs take a back seat to Jesus is the subject of my blog-post Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ. Hellenist Rome, Hellenist Saul/Paul, early Hellenist Church Fathers, and Emperor Constantine turn Jesus the rebel-reformer into a Hellenist Apotheotic Christ.
Cherry-picking and Ignoring Scriptures — We are all familiar with the many most inhumane, abominable and absurd Old Testament passages and laws reflecting the mental emotional state of Yahweh, the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic God. A few examples, touching the Ark of the Covenant, 2 Samuel 6:1-7; women accidentally touching a man’s genitals, Deuteronomy 25:11-12; incestuous rape is acceptable, 2 Kings 13:8-14; out right genocide is condoned, Joshua 6:20-21; children who might curse their parents shall be put to death, Leviticus 20:9; and if caught working on the Sabbath, death to you too, Exodus 31:14 and Numbers 15:32-36. Hardcore Christians defend these Godly acts by claiming Jesus and the New Testament supersedes the Jewish Old Testament making those atrocities and violence null and void. Yet, this isn’t at all what the Jesus of the Gospels taught, should we believe the Gospels to be correct and God’s wishes:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
And further still, numerous other New Testament passages and principles are ignored or twisted by Christians to mean other things the Holy Spirit among Believers
changes reinterprets or sets right by modern hermeneutics:
- Matthew 5:32, 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7 regarding marriage, the only two grounds for divorce, and grounds for remarriage. Despite these quite coherent admonishments and teachings, too many Christians ignore them and some divorce and remarry multiple times.
- Luke 14:12-14 regarding who and who not to invite to luxurious parties, luncheons, or festivals.
- 1 Corinthians 14:34 regarding the voice of and opinions by women.
- James 5:14 regarding how to treat Believers who are ill by oil and prayer.
- Luke 6:29-30 regarding passivity and non-aggression.
- Matthew 6:19 regarding wealth and opulent lifestyles or Prosperity Theology.
If true blue Christians, born-again and full of the Spirit, really believe the entire Bible, every single word, every single passage, principle, doctrine, was all inspired by God and directly breathed onto papyrus, then you either follow all of them or none of them. If these preconditions are not true, then we have among (confused) Christians exactly what we have and have always had with actual Christian behaviors.
Statute of Time-limitations for Precision — If Jesus of Nazareth had arrived (his 1st coming) in the 18th, 19th or 20th century when precision recording of major world events were eons more advanced than 1st century CE witnessing, reporting and recording, would the facts and details of his extraordinary incomparable acts, teaching, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection been more convincing, more believable than 40-80 years after the events? For an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God to purposefully design His grand plan of eternal paths in a time of very poor technology and generally illiterate masses doesn’t suggest much forethought or foresight by the designer.
Scholars are in agreement that the four Gospels were composed long after Jesus’ execution. Those four to eight decades are more than enough time for human inaccuracies, exaggerations, and personal biases to seep into the stories and corrupt the actual facts. This recording method would be similar to biographers today writing the biography of Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama who died in 1933 and using only his closest deceased colleagues’ descendants and friends still alive to gather the personal facts, stories, acts, and teachings of Gyatso then marketing the book as “Unparalleled Perfection.”
Palm Sunday/Good Friday Diversion — According to the canonical Gospels, when Jesus enters Jerusalem riding a donkey on Palm Sunday, he is welcomed by the crowds as a King. Others were asking why all the shouting, singing, and spectacle. Apparently Jesus soon starts teaching a new covenant, showing great wisdom, performing remarkable miracles, and healing the sick. This makes him an even bigger spectacle to the point that he is or should be on Rome’s radar and closely monitored. After only 5-days of all sorts of Messianic excitement, without any justifiable reason, Jesus is hated. The finicky Jewish people turn on him, so the story goes. When Jesus is brought to Pilate for insurrection, as is customary by Pilate during the festivals, he releases a Jew prisoner (Matthew 27:12-26). It’s at this point that things become decidedly problematic as covered also in the next section Anti-Semitism & Passover Prisoner Custom.
What most certainly happened instead was a retrograded exoneration of the Hellenistic Roman Christians compiling and writing the Gospels and placing blame on the Jews for Jesus’ death. This reversion makes much more sense because by this time, the last half of the 1st century CE, the focal point of the rising Jesus-Paul Movement was on Gentiles around the Empire. Due to the aforementioned Jewish-Roman Wars there existed no more Sectarian Jews to refute the role of Jesus-killers. A small handful of Pharisees and Sadducees probably survived because they were more aligned and favored by the growing Hellenist churches, but extremely weakened there was no viable reason for them to fight Rome anymore leading to their complete extinction.
Anti-Semitism & Passover Prisoner Custom — All four Gospels narrate the story of Jesus’ capital offense of sedition in front of Pilate. It is inferred that these details of Pilate’s pardoning a common prisoner over Jesus were provided by the crowd at the proceedings. Here is the obvious contradiction: Of the some 23-31 outer Provinces of the Roman Empire — the Italian Peninsula was not a province — and the some 14-25 inner Provinces of the Empire from Claudius (41 – 54 CE) to Domitian (81 – 96 CE), when the many Gospels were all collected, written and being written, nowhere in any of the Provincial governing records is there any prisoner-pardoning custom ever recorded.
This begs the question, what are the various motives at play here for the Hellenistic Gospel authors? For the intolerant Romans and their staunch Provincial governors the insinuation of such a practice is ridiculous. Seditious and militant Jews could then plan ahead their Messianic revolt and have a high-ranking leader released during Passover. Obviously, this is why no such pardoning custom existed in the outer Provinces like Judea or Syro-Palestine. This fictional addition to Mark, the first Gospel written, was done to shift animosity off the Romans and onto the weaker Jewish people. This political maneuvering is a long, well-known historical social tactic of Rome. There are also theological motives behind this Gospel courtroom drama. Read this short Boston College mini-course page; a historical reconstruction of these events.
Ten Fabricated Stories — For the Holy Bible to be the direct, true, and inerrant Word of God, it must at least reflect verified and factual history; verified via critical analysis. It is asserted by Christian apologists that this criterion of analysis was essentially followed when early Hellenist Church Fathers, with seven ecumenical councils over almost 500-years, selected what 50-60 gospels and epistles circulating all over the Empire would be put into the New Testament canon. Apparently a similar process was used for the Old Testament canon. Thus, if modern methods of critical analysis are no better, or worse, than those of ancient Roman bishops and ecumenical authorities, then let’s examine the stories intentionally left in the Holy, inerrant Bible.
- Garden of Eden (Genesis 6:9 – 9:17): With a sufficient understanding of paleontology, primatology, and anthropology (for starters) regarding earliest Hominids, the relevant scientific fields all show how our species began and entirely refutes the version in Genesis. For more information.
- The World Flood (Genesis 6:9 – 9:17): A single world-wide flood? No evidence for it whatsoever. Many, many flooded regions around the world all through historical cultures and civilizations? Absolutely. The Bible’s Flood story? Five serious contradictions:
- 7 pairs or 2 of each animal? (Gen 7:2 vs Gen 6:19-20, 7:8, 7:16)
- 40 days/nights or 150 days deluge? (Gen 7:4, 7:12, 8:6 vs Gen 7:24, 8:3)
- 7 days after or day of entering the Ark? (Gen 7:7, 10 vs Gen 7:11-13)
- Just rain caused flood or Rain & Aquifers? (Gen 7:4, 7:12 vs Gen 7:11, 8:2)
- Series of 3 doves or a raven one time? (Gen 8:8-12 vs Gen 8:7)
- Egyptian Enslavement (Genesis & Exodus): There is insufficient corroborating evidence that one specific epoch in “Egyptian” history having one origin of Judeans or Hebrews enslaved in mass or leaving in mass as portrayed in the Bible. Most modern Christians and probably some Jews too, are unaware that when the nomadic Hebrews were in Canaan (2nd millennium BCE, middle Bronze Age) and were treated harshly by them, Canaanites ruled Egypt as Amorite, Hyksos, and Hurrian/Horite rulers. By the late Bronze Age (c. 1550 – c. 1200 BCE) the region was dominated by Egyptians, but with assaults by marauders called Hapiru. All these various memories may have trickled into Egypt which included the Levant, and into a patchwork exodus story. Passover is an allegory of hope, not historical facts.
- Elisha’s Curse (2 Kings 2:23-25): This story is simply senseless and should be removed as ludicrous nonsense. Yet, it is in God’s divine spoken book.
- Tower of Babel/Balal (Genesis 11:1–9): To believe at any point of humanity’s evolution, which includes bipedal Hominids, that there was strictly one global language spoken sometime in our extremely distant past as Genesis imparts is to blatantly ignore other forms of human communication, like gestures, facial expressions, and even appearance that come from a person’s context. Advanced modern linguistics shows we will likely never know. However, to believe the Genesis version that this mother-tongue existed when humans were making buildings with clay bricks and tar for mortar (highly advanced techniques and tools) while the first hominid/humans were found in south-central Africa by paleoanthropologists and archaeologists are over 100,000 – 150,000 years old would be preposterous. These dates clearly directly oppose the biblical timetables of creation and humans.
- Archaeology of Camels (Genesis 24:11, 31, 61, 37:25 and more) Domesticated pack-camels did not arrive in the eastern Mediterranean any earlier than 10th century BCE. All of the historical contextual stories and places in Genesis and following books mentioning camels are set several centuries prior to the 10th century BCE. Now, for liberal faith-believing Jews and Christians they know it’s the allegory that matters, not historical facts. Evangelical-Fundamental Right-sided faith-believers for an inerrant Bible cannot embrace these proven, verifiable facts.
- Roman Census at Jesus’ Birth (Luke 2:1-5): As covered above, the Romans were near OCD and meticulous about recording everything which dealt with finances, taxes, legal-matters, conflicts, etc, and there were never any requirements of their citizens or provincial inhabitants to return to their birth-town to be counted. There was never any census done during Jesus’ birth (c. 4 – 1 BCE) as Luke’s Gospel erroneously narrates.
- John’s Adulterous Woman (John 7:53 – 8:1-11): The vast majority of textual-biblical scholars know and agree that this story was never in the original Gospel of John. In fact, they agree it was never in any of the earlier Gospels either (see Dr. Bart Ehrman). This is proven by the fact that all English versions of John have verses 7:53 thru 8:1-11 in special brackets or italics noting the late, late addition of the story to the Bible despite the commands of Revelations 22:18-19 not to do so. Scholars theorize it was added some 300-400 years later after John was written.
- Passover Prisoner Custom (Matthew 27:12-26): As covered previously, nowhere in any legal cases recorded by Rome and her Provincial Legates or Consuls was this a policy or custom. Any Roman official who would foolishly try this release would be immediately arrested himself.
- Walking Dead Everywhere (Matthew 27:52-53): An account of zombies or skeletons walking around everywhere in Jerusalem — an already volatile time-period with Roman authorities and guards surely on high-alert — talking with various people most certainly would’ve been recorded in Roman records, either soon after or within a few months. Yet, such a spectacle cannot be found anywhere by any contemporaneous authors (e.g. Josephus) except in the one biased account, the Gospel of Matthew. Despite that this did not take place as described in Matthew, why is it in God’s inerrant, divinely spoken Holy Bible and the Gospel of Thomas (more practical gospel) is not included?
A Violent Blood-Thirsty God — When considering the many violent, atrocious biblical commandments God made for Jews/Israel to annihilate and massacre tens of thousands of living animals and humans of all ages (1 Samuel 15:3), it is understandable why later Christians want to distance themselves
completely from that particular blood-thirsty “God” of the Old Covenant. However, Jesus was an undeniably keen student of the Old Testament and Talmud Halakha, he said so. He believed in it, and cautioned against ignoring or discarding the Halakha.
Jesus is also one part of the Triune Godhead, or rather God is Jesus, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is Jesus-God… or God-Jesus, or Holy-Jesus-God-pour-me-a-Spirit, the version which I am particularly fond! Assuming then that Christianity must be true, Jesus (in whatever form he was during the Old Testament) then committed all those atrocities too; he is the Father. Why didn’t the Jesus/Father of the New Testament stop those mass killings or explain that he and God did not really wipe-out thousands-millions of animals, humans, children, and babies? Remember, Jesus was God. He was in the flesh on Earth teaching vehemently from this Old Testament. If the Old Covenant/Testament was wholly wrong or partially wrong, then surely Jesus would have corrected this, right?
Between Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges God-Jesus slaughtered or sanctioned the slaughter of some 25,000,000 humans. If Jesus is not 1/3rd of the Godhead and one in the same, then this is the Old Covenant God he undeniably worshipped so much he also died for it/Him. In modern criminology, Jesus was an accessory to near 25-million capital murders. If Christianity wants or must associate itself with Judaism’s God—because they must utilize (hijack) their Messianic prophecies for validation of a Divine Savior-Kingship—then it could be reasoned that faithful Christians condone genocidal, infanticidal, filicidal, and pestilent serial murdering.
Hitler Has Nothing on God — If you place your full “faith” in Jesus, then you absolutely believe in Hell and eternal damnation for those who do not place their faith in Jesus. This is taught and determined unequivocally by the Holy inerrant Bible. Adolf Hitler sent Jews to their gruesome deaths merely for their religious-ethnic identity, and Jim Jones, as previously discussed, sent the People’s Temple to their Kool-Aid deaths merely for their blind faith in Jones’ message. Did any of those Jews or People’s Temple (little children in particular) deserve to die in those ways, much of it not immediately? But God-Jesus of the Bible, on that premise, is completely prepared to send gracious, talented, well-meaning people and children to everlasting torture for not believing in Jesus. Seriously? The God of the canonical Christian Bible, for all intents and purposes, is profoundly worse than Jones or Hitler.
One Nomadic Tribe Out of Tens of Thousands — During First and Second Temple Judaism (957 BCE – 70 CE), there were many large civilizations on the continents of Asia, North and South America, Australia, Africa, and Europe. But for some mind-boggling reason(s) God chose this little tribe. Of the millions and millions of people around the planet, God/Yahweh singled out one small nomadic tribe from all other cultures, spurning every one of them, then accommodating the Hebrew people in pillaging and slaughtering Gentiles nearby. All of these pagan/Gentile people still alive never heard anything about a dead, failed Messiah called Jesus. In most places it wasn’t until some 1,500 years later from his apparent crucifixion that they heard any stories. Think about this a moment. What is the point in waiting 1,000 to 4,000 years for Jesus’ sacrifice for all to be known? Was it to rack up billions and billions more corpses for a blood-thirsty God? And then billions and billions more to send to eternal damnation?
Eh, the more plausible explanation is found in sociocultural development and human nature: the Hebrews, Jews, and Christians contrived a God favoring their thinking and culture like all other cultures and civilizations have been doing since the beginning of time with their own God(s).
Incomparable Power and Wisdom? — Raising Lazarus from the dead and as we previously covered the adulterous woman brought to Jesus, are stories that characterize the nature of Jesus in the Gospels. The former implies his unbounded authority and the latter implies his ingenious, godly wisdom. At that time these stories would have spread through the region like wildfire. For these two things alone Jesus would have certainly gathered many faithful followers. And as the new movement apparently grew by leaps and bounds, even after his crucifixion and claimed resurrection, we find astonishingly that neither of these two stories are in the early Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke; the first three written). This is highly significant! Why?
Jesus’ approximate death is about 32 CE, give or take a year. Mark, Matthew, and Luke (in that order) were authored between c. 69 – 100 CE, some 37 – 68 years after Jesus’ death. The Lazarus story and the adulterous woman story appear only in the Gospel of John, written sometime between 90 – 110 CE, or almost 20-years after the Synoptic Gospels were written and at least 68-years after Jesus’ death. Why weren’t these two important stories included in at least one of the earlier Gospels? And remember that the story of the adulterous caught and brought to Jesus is not in the earliest, oldest John-copy in the 5th century CE. That’s about 400-years later! Why does it take so long for such never-before-seen acts of Jesus and his nature to be entered into one Gospel, the last gospel? This is not historical truths, much less stories from an inerrant God who breathed His words (over a 400-year period) onto papyrus. In a polite word: unreliable.
Retrograde Embellishments of Gospels — The majority of famous biblical scholars agree that John’s Hellenistic Gospel is not only the last/oldest, but also the more spectacular Greco-Roman progression of the four. It is why the first three are the Synoptic Gospels and John is traditionally associated in style with the book of Revelations and John epistles; more apocalyptic, or as I assert, more apotheotic. Here are some other telling facts and inferences:
- In Mark — no virgin birth, no resurrected Jesus finding his disciples to chat finalize things, except with the ending verses that scholars know were added much later.
- In Luke — now the virgin birth is added; good for apotheotic concerns.
- In John — now the Lazarus story is added and for the first time Jesus nature is elevated to the same authority and power as God Almighty. More Greco-Roman Apotheosis!
- The Devil/Satan advances in shrewdness and prominence from Mark, to Luke, and then Matthew. These are tell-tell signs of the classic growing fish tales. Over the decades they make for a more shattering, dynamic legend!
- Here is another illustration of growing fish tales in the Gospels with the same identical event:
- Great anguish, displeased, confusion, capitulation —
“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” — Matthew 27:46, 50
- Then poise, compliance, calmly concluded —
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” — Luke 23:46
- Lastly, expected, consummating, epic finale —
“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” — John 19:28-30
- Great anguish, displeased, confusion, capitulation —
All these problematic points suggest that with the passing years and decades more damaging questions were being asked by sceptics of the growing Jesus Movement and its ambiguous concepts. The gospel scribes had to make later counter-revisions to
embellish improve the nature and lure of Jesus. They needed to make it appear that in his last days Jesus perceived his crucifixion as a planned event and its consummation of his entire Earthly mission.
Judas Retrograded to Traitor — When closely reading Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John’s accounts all side-by-side regarding the supposed betrayal of Jesus by Judas (Iscariot), the four different accounts are replete with incongruencies and head-spinning complications. Compare and contrast the accounts paying close attention:
Mark’s version —
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time. (14:10-11)
As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me — one who is eating with Me.” They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, “Surely not I?” And He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” (14:18-21)
Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, *came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. They laid hands on Him and seized Him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” (14:43-49)
Matthew’s version —
And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (26:21-25)
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (26:45-54)
Luke’s version —
…and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (22:2-6)
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (22:47-53)
John’s version —
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (18:1-11)
There are at least three serious problems with these accounts.
- Unmistakably Judas did purportedly speed up the salvation of humanity by his own justifications, as Jewish and Christian Messianic definitions and purpose would imply. This is also fantastic news because of the utterly 17 wasted years, as rumors have it, in “Galilee” as a teenager and young man doing nothing. I will explore this bizarre time-period of senseless apathy below in Right Under Their Noses.
- Jesus was not under any concealment while in Jerusalem! There wasn’t a need to. Again, given what Jesus as Messiah was expected to be and do, in front of Roman authorities, there’s no logical reason for Judas to be a betrayer! Jesus had already been betraying both Jews and Romans, according to the Gospel narrative implications, and it seems doing a great job at it.
- More obvious from these four accounts is the fact that if we are to believe Second Temple Judaic-Messianism then too the spinoff Christian doctrines, Jesus knew exactly what his full mission was to be and it included his execution. Besides, all previous Messianic claimants received the same fate. Why falsely call Judas a traitor, TWICE — at the Last Supper and in the garden? This is supposed to be great proceedings for humanity!
Now, let’s leave all the retrograded theology and return to factual or highly plausible historicity. What most likely was happening is that 200-300+ years after Rome’s execution of Jesus and near annihilation of Sectarian Judaism, Rome wants to shift the adverse blame and nagging turmoil from killing Jesus, including his disciples, and put it firmly onto the weakened handful of Jews; the perfect scapegoats since most are dead. Judas as a traitor further solidifies this ultimate M.O. Another little known fact is that there was indeed a version in Second Temple Judaism of a Teacher/Priest Messiah that suffers (B. Ehrman) just before God intervenes miraculously to save him (the King) and restores Israel’s holy independence.
Slavery Yes! Slavery No! Servants, Forethought? — Here again we have seven cases of WHY are these passages still in the canonical Bible? And undeniably the Jewish and Christian Bibles approve slavery. Read for yourself (emphasis mine):
However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way. — Leviticus 25:44-46
But Hebrews are treated better than Gentile slaves and later released:
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he may serve for no more than six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave, he shall leave single. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife must be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave and they had sons or daughters, then only the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the [Hebrew male] slave may declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life. — Exodus 21:2-6
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. But if the slave’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter. If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. — Exodus 21:7-11
When someone strikes his male or female slave with a rod so that the slave dies under his hand, the act shall certainly be avenged. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. — Exodus 21:20-21
One today would think well after 2,800+ years these Old Testament passages would be removed for obvious human rights issues. Yet, they are all still in the canonical Old Testaments. One would also surmise that surely Jesus and his New Covenant would abolish any sort of God-sanctioned slavery. Nope. Jesus, Paul and God still, to this day, approve of human slavery and human trafficking. Read for yourself:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. — Ephesians 6:5
All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching. If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers who are well-loved. — 1 Timothy 6:1-2
From Jesus himself —
And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. — Luke 12:47-48
Beyond any doubt the Bible and Jesus approve of slavery as these passages indicate. God’s inerrant holy Bible goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can be sexually intimate with the female slaves. Many Jews and Christians attempt to side-step these immoral human rights violations by attempting to redefine or reinterpret in modern progressive terms the original ancient Hebrew Tanakh and Greek New Testament. No. This will not work because 1) the Old and New Testaments are canonized, and 2) then Jews/Christians are admitting that their God (and Jesus) is not omniscient, holy and perfect as claimed, and He (and Jesus) are without foresight or forethought to have resolved these revulsions. If this were the case, then humans today would be correcting God? Evangelical fundamentalist Christians won’t accept that!
Therefore, according to their Holy Bible these are the family values God and Jesus expect. According to the Bible, a man may buy as many sex-slaves as he desires as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and has satisfactory sex with them!
Fate of the First “Chosen” — If God first chose the Jews as his elite “Chosen People” — a fact necessary for Christianity to be Messianically authenticated — why did they suffer so many routs, exiles, and tribulations at the hands of their enemies for multiple centuries? The outcome of so many of their conflicts would make it appear that God chose the other side, or He sadistically enjoyed their defeats and suffering. This is best demonstrated by the bloody Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 CE. As I’ve already noted, the Roman Legions butchered the Jews all of the way from Jerusalem to the final stronghold of Masada. It makes no sense that the Israelites accompanied by an omnipotent God would fall victim time and time again to its unholy pagan enemies, much less in such brutal and compelling fashion. It would seem from any neutral onlooker that you DO NOT want your people/nation chosen by this sadistic God! Once again, where is the Godly foresight? Why so much spilled blood and suffering?
Still Gone, Still Limbo or Bust — The Gospel of Matthew reads:
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” — Matthew 16:28
The vast majority of old and modern biblical scholars, in particular the apocryphal experts, agree that the earliest Christians, Paul and the remaining disciples/apostles, even Jesus himself believed the End Times and the Kingdom of God (via the Messiah/s) were arriving within their lifetimes — see emphasis above in Matt. 16:28. Jesus shared other points of advice that clearly indicates his anticipation of the End Times around the corner, e.g. ‘don’t stock-up reserves’ and ‘take no one to court for stealing.’
As I tried to map out in my first trade book for a general audience, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, you can trace the tradition that the end will come in OUR generation to EVERY generation of Christians, all the way back in fact to Paul, and before him, to Jesus. The predicting of the end has been a noble Christian tradition since the beginning.
Contrary to a lot of skeptics, I don’t think that these demonstrably wrong predictions invalidate Christianity. Most Christians have never subscribed to such views. But if nothing else, one would hope that one day fundamentalists would start using their brains and start learning their history. — Ehrman, Bart, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, and When Will The End Come? from The Bart Ehrman Blog, accessed June 1, 2018.
Paul, following the traditions of his Hellenistic Judaism and Jesus’ teaching, advised his Gentile followers to not bother getting married. In 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18, Paul plainly believes that some of the people he was seeing and talking to would be alive for Jesus’ Second Coming. Now 2,200 – 1,900 years later and still counting… nothing. It is no stretch to say that Jesus, his disciples and earliest followers, Paul, and anyone since claiming the Second Coming or End Times are almost there/here were not even close to being right.
Many times over the years in various circumstances in person and here on WordPress I have stated that based on the full contextual body of all extant — direct, and indirect or inferred — information we have about Jesus the Nasoraen, it is demonstrably evident that he never intended to radically deviate from or dismiss the tenets of his Sectarian Judaism. Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University – Sacramento, and Cornell University educated, Dr. Stephen Harris encapsulates this popular Jesus misnomer:
Jesus did not accomplish what Israel’s prophets said the Messiah was commissioned to do: He did not deliver the covenant people from their Gentile enemies, reassemble those scattered in the Diaspora, restore the Davidic kingdom, or establish universal peace… Instead of freeing Jews from oppressors and thereby fulfilling God’s ancient promises — for land, nationhood, kingship, and blessing — Jesus died a “shameful” death, defeated by the very political powers the Messiah was prophesied to overcome. Indeed, the Hebrew prophets did not foresee that Israel’s savior would be executed as a common criminal by Gentiles, making Jesus’ crucifixion a “stumbling block” to scripturally literate Jews… — Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible, 8th Edition (2010)
According to the confusing Gospel accounts, it was rumored that Jesus’ body was gone from the tomb, likely moved, stolen, or hidden. As this news spread among his followers, it offered a bit of hope to the disciples for their executed Messiah. However, despite this slim prospect, had the disciples known earlier in Galilee or initially upon entering Jerusalem that there was not going to be any returning Kingdom of God and Jewish independence soon or within their children’s lifetime, they would’ve gone about their business as usual. Be that as it may, a new total stranger from Tarsus was NOT going to let this opportunity go by. Peter, James the brother of Jesus, and other disciples never aligned at all with Paul’s wacky concept of Jesus as God or the theological overhauls Paul was instigating (Galatians 1 & 2, Acts 9, 21 & 22, and from Irenaeus “Against Heresies” 1.26 and Eusebius, “Hist. of the Church” 3.27 when discussing the Ebionites). This is also born-out from the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran — Paul is theorized by several scholars as The Wicked Priest. The Jerusalem followers, on the other hand, knew Jesus quite well. Paul did not. And any such extreme inventions such as Paul’s Hellenist-Christology was antithetical to long-standing Messianic Judaism. Conclusion? Christianity and its Messiah-surrogate is an utter failure not based on reliable, consistent, verified history.
Only Ten Commandments Instead of 27-30 — Most firm, faith-filled Christians will assert that the Ten Commandments are the initial foundation of all human morality. Naturally, this assumes God’s omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence. These have been further refined by Jesus’ life, teachings, ministry, and sacrifice. Even so, today there are only about five that carry significant weight: Do not murder, do not steal, do not perjure, do not commit adultery (unless it is mutually consensual!), and honor your parents. Notice what isn’t present for a forward-thinking God? Now 2,800 years later and an entire litany of scientific advances and truer knowledge, one must add these:
- No slavery
- No child endangerment
- No bigotry
- No racism
- No sexism or harassment
- No classism
- No blackmail or bribery
- No discrimination against LGBTQ persons
- No incest
- No torture or terrorism
- No rape
- No mistreatment, exploitation, and relocation of native populations
- Do not treat animals inhumanely
- Do take care of the Earth’s environment and all ecosystems
- Do help others in need
- Do settle disputes peacefully and respectfully
- Do distribute the Earth’s resources fairly
It is quite striking that the Bible’s all-everything God had horrible leadership and clairvoyance, to put it politely, regarding humanity’s moral-ethical needs. Instead of sadistically allowing millenniums of unnecessary torment, suffering, and flawed discernment — which He designed in the first place — on all living species on Earth, why not set us on the more altruistic, peaceful trajectory? Why the need for such prolonged, agitating chaos? And if some reading this keep retorting “Evil, because of evil,” or said another way its valid reciprocal, the “Lack of Good,” my good friend and fellow blogger, as well as author John Zande at TheSuperstitiousNakedApe debunks that antiquated misnomer as well. The book? “On the Problem of Good” does way more justice on this ontological hamster-wheel of Judaic, Christian, or Islamic good vs. evil and its lunacy than I can do. Zande not only tackles this Cyclops, but makes it his show-pet. Read it and you will understand.
My following section is a personal experience of logic and reasoning for me and the insurmountable void I stumbled upon in God’s Holy Bible. While inside my 11th year of Christian ministry and 3½ years of reformed seminary, as well as co-director of our singles outreach program, I met a soccer/football teammate and former opponent in the summer of 1991. We made a deal with each other; perhaps for me it was a deal with the Devil. Hahaha! Nonetheless, he told me if I answer his question for me completely and accurately, or as accurately as was reasonably possible, in return he would attend our outreach get-togethers. His question?
“Tell me where Jesus-God was and what He was doing between the ages of 12 and 29.“ Being the faithful, heavily biblical student-pro that I was, thinking/confidently, knowing I knew the Holy Scriptures inside-out and sound grasp of the Hebrew and Greek originals, even some Aramaic context, I said to myself, “Baam! I got him now!“ It was going to be an easy slam-dunk, I thought, because my inerrant, infallible Words of God had ALL ANSWERS for ALL TIMES. What a moron I was. What a fool the God-Jesus-Holy Spirit was that breathed-constructed such a flawed, amputated, inconsistent, contradictive, and sometimes flat-out wrong… “Holy Bible,” which has been more than adequately demonstrated here so far.
∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼
Right Under Their Noses Near Twenty-Years?
I have written before on this puzzling, disastrous bit of Gospel omission and monumental theological blundering, but not on this scale, in this light or context, on such an enormous stage of problems and failures here. It deserves repeating now.
The sensationally botched oversight of 17-missing years of God-n-the-flesh cannot be fully appreciated or comprehended without realizing what Jesus of Bethlehem/Nazareth — according to the Gospels and the Old Testament prophets for the Messiah — and the feverish Messianic Expectation of Second Temple Judaism (in c. 4 BCE) given its long tormented history of vanquished and subjugated… was meant to be. And according to those scriptural (Greco-Roman) Gospels and prophecies previous and by the 4th century CE, the baby and boy Jesus was God in the flesh and all that embodies God in a baby and boy. Let us consider these astonishing, seemingly supernatural events before Jesus turns 13-years old.
Most Christians and certainly stubborn Christian apologists claim that Jesus fulfilled some 20-400 prophecies/predictions made 400 – 500 years before his birth. Apparently this is near impossible mathematically. Let’s assume for the sake of fairness this is correct. Of course this would be historically unheard of and for those who believe it… it is “proof” God was/is among us.
Pure, Holy Virgin Birth
Because God Almighty is pure, righteous, and holy He is without any sin. His one and only Son must be born by a pure virgin, not by contaminated evil men.
Under A Cosmic Astronomical Star/Supernova
Apparently, Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was lite by a bright, bright star (Supernova?) that could be easily seen by Magi/Kings from the east, that is approximately 500-miles away, and guided them to Bethlehem and Jesus’ manger. By logical deduction this extremely bright star would also be seen by neighboring cultures and most certainly by the rest of the world — and documented like so many other celestial events have been recorded in the pre-ancient, ancient, and antiquity. Hence, this can be easily verified by multiple sources, right?
Hyper-Heightened Messianic Expectation & Rumors
Rome and especially Herod the Great were superbly in tune with rumblings of insurrection against Roman authority and rule. As King Herod increasingly heard more rumors of a Jewish Messiah-King in his provinces, he deployed many loyal spies throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee to find and identify this potential Jewish Messiah-King. When apparently he was born around 4 BCE, he commanded, as the Gospel stories go, that all baby boys in Bethlehem be slaughtered. This is the scale, the magnitude the Messianic fever had reached. Hence, Jesus has barely been born and already he and his parents have a target-warrant on their backs, or in Jewish-Christian eyes a world-shattering divine Anointment.
Canny Wisdom Beyond Compare
When Jesus is around 12-years old and already highly accomplished in the Tanakh, Talmud and Jewish Sectarian culture, he didn’t just impress the Rabbis in the Temple, he astonished the crowds there by his Godly brilliance (Luke 2:41-52). Now at this point in his young life Jesus cannot go anywhere without being noticed — certainly by Jews, but Romans too — and without causing some abnormal degree of public excitement and/or disturbance. His wisdom from, and his behavior and passion for the Jewish Scriptures sets a solid precedent of Jewish admiration and Roman reward-money for his whereabouts and arrest. Rome is very well-known for these tactics.
Suddenly Jesus Vanishes from the Face of the Earth; Poof!
Not only does Jesus and his parents disappear into the proverbial woodwork (no carpentry pun intended), but by comparison the most remarkable, covert, full-proof strategies and tactics which by today’s standards would put the KGB, CIA, and any elite military black-op battalions to shame, Jesus somehow does it for SEVENTEEN YEARS without being noticed by anyone. Not even a hint, not even a peep. With all that youthful passion to serve and teach Yahweh/God, he doesn’t utter a word… that would find its way back to Roman spies and authorities? Impossible. Beyond impossible.
No, instead the probable or highly likely explanation of how Jesus did it, dodging Roman spies and nosy, impressed Jews desperate for their restoring Messiah… is that in reality, from the exhaustive bodies of verifiable histories and palaeography — or the lack of (reliable) history, particularly from the Gospels — was that clearly Jesus was NOT what the Gospels portray and embellish.
Naturalism is the New Definitive Paradigm, Hands Down
I will just parrot Richard Carrier’s debate on Naturalism vs. Theism. Without a doubt renown naturalist and entomologist E.O. Wilson and many other acclaimed scientists would agree with Carrier. He starts…
If we want all our beliefs to be more likely true than false, then we must proportion our beliefs to the evidence. So if our reasons to believe are few and unreliable, our confidence should be low, and if our reasons to believe are many and reliable, our confidence should be high, with an appropriate continuum between. That means if we have no reason to believe something, then we should not believe it, and if we have much better reasons to believe something than we have not to, then we should believe it.
His basic argument for Naturalism goes like so:
The cause of lightning was once thought to be God’s wrath, but turned out to be the unintelligent outcome of mindless natural forces. We once thought an intelligent being must have arranged and maintained the amazingly ordered motions of the solar system, but now we know it’s all the inevitable outcome of mindless natural forces. Disease was once thought to be the mischief of supernatural demons, but now we know that tiny, unintelligent organisms are the cause, which reproduce and infect us according to mindless natural forces. In case after case, without exception, the trend has been to find that purely natural causes underlie any phenomena. Not once has the cause of anything turned out to really be God’s wrath or intelligent meddling, or demonic mischief, or anything supernatural at all. The collective weight of these observations is enormous: supernaturalism has been tested at least a million times and has always lost; naturalism has been tested at least a million times and has always won. A horse that runs a million races and never loses is about to run yet another race with a horse that has lost every single one of the million races it has run. Which horse should we bet on? The answer is obvious.
I highly recommend reading his entire position and argument on this very sensible world-view here.
∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼
When this Page’s contents are considered in their entirety, and believe me this is NOT exhaustive, the conclusion isn’t rocket-science. Under complete microscopic examination, comparisons, contrasting, and exceptional methods of unveiling Hellenist Rome’s sociopolitical and military prowess along with Second Temple (Sectarian) Judaism and Messianism, the actual truth surfaces.
Christianity Always Fails no matter how many times, how many ways one might try other lenses, or twist other protocols. The results are the same.
Post script — I have extended several invitations to some verbose WordPress Christian apologists, evangelists, fundamentalists, and several have declined to come here and dialogue for peculiar “personal reasons.” I hope they’ll change their minds, or perhaps there’s nothing they can offer. Interesting. For the future, given my current busy schedule and multiple current projects, it may take me a day or three to respond to comments. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Live Very Well — Love Very Much — Laugh Very Often — Learn Again Always
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.