Who Actually Wrote the Bible?

Who wrote the New Testament?
Of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament only eight of them are probably written by whom they are ascribed to. Of the eight; seven are the undisputed letters of Paul, and the other is the Revelations of John, although we don’t know for sure which John it was.  In the nineteen that are of disputed authorship, some are hotly argued over, such as; 2 Thessalonians, James, and Peter, and for some there is scarcely any debate over they’re being forgeries at all, such as; 1 Timothy and 2 Peter.

Doubts about the authorship of some of the books that became the canon were expressed in early Christian times, but were mostly dismissed or suppressed. Starting in the early nineteenth century however critical analysis and scholarship on the Bible expanded greatly and some amazing facts started coming out.  One of which is the doubtful authorship or forgeries to be found in a book that heretofore had been almost universally accepted to be inerrant.

In the early Christian congregations there was no Bible to draw from, so they used letters and scholarly papers by followers or early converts to hold services and gain knowledge of this shiny new religion.  Anything written by Apostles or disciples was highly valued and even in those times there were people who would take advantage of “market conditions”.  Early scripture was passed from church to church so many people could see, hear, and learn from it.

Another phenomenon of the times was slightly diverse, or sometimes, hugely different understandings of what the Jesus revelation was all about, and many different groups with different understandings formed and expanded…all needing material to use in their services.  A large number of the books used in the new churches were in fact written by people who falsely claimed to be Apostles so they could deceive their readers to accept the views they wanted.

As a result of all this counterfeit and forged “Scripture” it took well over three hundred years for church leaders to decide on an approved book that all could use. Another thing being fought over was whose version of Christianity was the right one.  Was it to be the Ebionites or the Marcionites or one of the several Gnostic groups or the Proto-Orthodox?  Of course we all know that the Orthodox side was the winners, but many lives were taken and much blood spilt over very small theological differences in the meantime.

The Proto-Orthodox writers in those days such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian shaped our views of the emerging Christianity and turned the Proto-Orthodox into the Orthodox.  By taking divergent views from the Ebionites and the Marcionites they came up with Jesus being both man and God, instead of one or the other, and this became the Orthodox view.  It’s not known precisely where the concept of Trinity came from, although some think that Constantine first forwarded the concept.

There remain a number of early Christian writings left among us. Some of these are known as the Apocrypha and they didn’t have enough votes to be canonized and others are called Pseudepigraphical, they are known forgeries.  Many other papers and writings were suppressed or destroyed by the early church fathers.

Truth Saves

Texas Schools will Teach Religion in Science Classes

Well the Texas State School Board finally got to the final vote on whether they will allow Creationism to be taught in their school system…Sanity and truth lost out. The board voted 13-2 in favor of the new curriculum

The website “Institute for Creation Research” A religious organization that promotes inserting religion into state and federal funded schools science classes, and was part of the evil cabal behind the decision, has the story here.

“After months of hearing debates over Texas science education standards, the 15-member State Board of Education voted to remove the requirement for teachers to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories, such as evolution, and instead adopted a requisite for students to critically analyze and evaluate “all sides of scientific evidence.””

Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the pro-evolution lobbyist group National Center for Science Education said: “This is a setback for science education in Texas, not a draw, not a victory.”

“Having students ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’ is code that gives creationists a green light to attack biology textbooks,” said NCSE project director Josh Rosenau.  My emphasis

I guess the next thing we will see is new textbooks designed just for the state standards that feature pictures of Jesus saddled up on a T-Rex, rounding up the goats and sheep.  There will of course be “scientific” expositions and study guides on how all the earth’s history and geological data is condensed into 6,000 years, and how “The Flood” mixed up all the evidence, and explanations on how all the other US States science books are teaching Heresy…which will soon become a crime in Texas.

One underhanded example of things to be pushed in their future fights is that in a democracy, legislators vote on policy to reflect the will of the people who elected them. And according to polls on religion a significant number of Americans did not think evolution was the best explanation for the origins of human life. So it seems that teaching truth is sidetracked in order to teach what the churches want.

They’ll soon have no more controversy on matters of religion…the schools will teach about the Christian God and the Christian Bible, and independent thought will not be allowed. Religious people in Texas are scary, I’ve meet a few, you don’t want to mess with Texas religion their veneer of being a civilized people and tolerant is pretty thin.

It’s going to be fun debating the next generation of graduates from their schools. Also going to be a hell of a job re-educating them so they can go on to colleges and universities outside the state. I think if I were a responsible teacher in the K-12 Texas state school system I would be giving notice and looking for honest employment elsewhere.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Truth Saves

Adam and Eve Did Not Exist

Paul uses the story of Adam and Eve to form the basis for the Christian doctrine of Original sin. “Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” Paul of Tarsus wrote in his epistle to the Romans in about 58CE. However Chapter 3 of Genesis does not use the word ‘sin’ and Genesis 3:24 says they are expelled ” lest he put forth his hand and take also of the ‘Tree of Life’ and eat, and live forever.” (So Adam and Eve were not immortal at their original conception)

St Augustine of Hippo understood Paul to have said that Adam’s sin was hereditary. “Death passed upon all men because of Adam, in whom all sinned.”  The concept of ‘Original sin’, that all men are born in a condition of sinfulness and must have redemption became a cornerstone of most Christian theological tradition.  However Judaism, the Eastern Orthodox churches, Congregationalist churches, and the Mormons don’t share this belief.

Over the centuries Christian beliefs have come to say that the serpent that tempted Eve was Satan or that Satan was using the serpent as a mouthpiece…although there is no mention of this identification in the Hebrew Torah

Early church followers held that because Eve was the one who tempted Adam to eat the fruit she (Eve) and ALL women who followed her were the first sinners and especially responsible for the ‘Fall.’  Tertullian would tell his listeners in the second century CE that women were the devils gateway, and go on to explain that they were responsible for the death of Jesus.

We can see that the story of Adam and Eve is a pivotal point in Christianity. The exegesis of the early chapter is the basis for the theology of the New Testament. If Adam and Eve did not play out as Genesis says it did, then there is no need for Jesus to redeem our sins…indeed, we have no sins, as the original story mentions none. It is only Paul, writing some four thousand years later, who puts this whole fiction into action.  It is Paul who comes up with the idea and later writers pick it up and run with it and expand upon it.

Now what happens if we remove Adam and Eve from the mix entirely?  We have this book that was written by Hebrews, Jews, and later Christians over a period of perhaps 800 to a 1000 years.  By the actions and words of one man (Paul) who lived a few years after Jesus practically the whole world of Christian thought and theology hangs.

In the Biblical sense Adam and Eve did not exist. The story of men and women living on this earth far transcends the petty story found in the Bible. Adam and Eve were not the beginning of the human race; they are nothing more than a footnote in a fictive mythological story written by some of our ancestors. The story of humans goes back many hundreds of thousands of years and is spread over the whole earth. We did not come from two progenitors 6000+- years ago.  Our footprints, handprints, tools, habitats, art, and handiwork have been found all over the globe going back a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, and many more years.

We humans have a history that is told in archaeological artifacts and human bones and pottery and stunning artwork on cave walls.  We find finely crafted spearheads in animals that have not walked the earth for over 10,000 years, we find Homo sapiens skeletons superimposed with Neanderthal bones in Israeli caves from 50,000 years ago, we find 10,000 year old graveyards in the middle of the Sahara desert…relics from a time when the Sahara was green and home to ancient animals and human societies.

We humans also have sciences now that can read the ancient stories entwined in our blood.  The stories that are told there….are not the stories of the Bible.  We did not spread out all over the earth from “East of Eden” 6000 years ago. By that time humans were everywhere; in China and Southeast Asia, in Australia and Borneo, in North and South America, all of Europe, and many of the smaller ocean islands.

There is archaeological evidence of “us” all over the place and in time periods going back hundreds of thousands of years. The evidence is overwhelming, there are no doubts anymore. Adam and Eve as a Biblical truth…is not the truth.

Christianity, as well as Judaism and Islam, and all the other religions are relics of a time when we humans were making up gods…when we thought we needed them…when we had no way of ascertaining what was real in our world and what was myth.  Some of us still look and hope to find a higher being that they can lay their troubles on, someone who can make them happier and richer and healthier, while forgetting to look inside themselves and finding their own will.

Jesus was only needed to redeem our sins brought on by the downfall of Adam and Eve…our ‘original sin’ Most of Christianity relies on the story of Jesus as their basic reason for being. In fact if you follow all the lines of reasoning you will find that Adam and Eve is essential to the whole story of God. Take away Adam and Eve and it all falls apart.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Christianity Kills

“Christianity persecuted, tortured and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified…extermination and tyranny…it dreamt of infinite bliss’s and crowns it should be crowned with before an electrified universe and an applauding God.” George Santayana

When Christianity ascended as a legitimate religious power in the Fourth century AD you would think that they would bring order and peace to the strife torn world of their times, after all they preached universal love and forgiveness; to turn the other cheek, love your enemy, and help your neighbor. Their God was one of love, who only wanted all to worship and respect him. A Monotheistic God whom all should welcome as He was a God of peace.

Something went terribly wrong though. As the historian William Lecky wrote in 1877 in his book, A History of European Morals

“If we consider the actual history of the Church since Constantine, we shall find no justification for the popular theory that beneath its influence the narrow spirit of patriotism faded into a wide and cosmopolitan philanthropy. A real though somewhat languid feeling of universal brotherhood had already been created in the world by the universality of the Roman Empire.

In the new faith the range of genuine sympathy was strictly limited by the creed. According to popular belief, all who differed from the teaching of the orthodox lived under the hatred of the Almighty and were destined after death for an eternity of anguish … The eighty or ninety sects into which Christianity speedily divided, hated one another with the intensity that extorted the wonder of Julian and the ridicule of the pagans in Alexandria, and the fierce riots and persecution that hatred produced appeared in every page of ecclesiastical history.

The Donatists, having separated from the orthodox simply on the question of the validity of the consecration of a certain bishop, declared that all who adopted the orthodox view must be damned, refused to perform their rites in orthodox churches which they had seized till they had burnt the altar and scraped the wood, beat multitudes to death with clubs, blinded others by anointing their eyes with lime, filled Africa, during nearly two centuries, with war and desolation, and contributed largely to its final ruin.

The childish almost unintelligible quarrels between the Homoiousians and the Homoousians … filled the world with riot and hatred. The Catholics tell … how three thousand people perished in the riots that convulsed Constantinople when the Arian bishop Macedonius superseded the Athanasian Paul … In Ephesus, during the contest between St. Cyril and the Nestorians, the cathedral itself was the theater of a fierce and bloody conflict … Later, when the monophysite controversy was at its height, the palace of the emperor at Constantinople was blockaded, the churches were besieged, and the streets commanded by furious bands of contending monks.”

The new religion did not bring peace; it brought intolerance and hatred, not only of pagans and heretics, but of other Christians, and this hatred and killing of rival Christians went on for over a thousand years.

So if God exists, and is a God of Love and Peace, where the hell was he, and why didn’t he stop and fix this travesty?

Perhaps Jesus had already answered this question when he said a few hundred years earlier:
“Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

If one truly and honestly looks at the history of Christianity you will find that it is no more special and peaceful than any other religion we have ever had on earth. The only thing stopping it from doing now, what it did then, is the secular sovereignty of most Christian countries.

You want proof? Go look at Bill Maher’s movie ‘Religulous’ and the scene where he talks to some people visiting a Creationist Museum.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Truth Saves

The Theory of Evolution…is it True?

There is no doubt at all that evolution is a fact. That may upset you or not depending on what religious affiliation you have or don’t have. Bear with me though…I’m not talking about Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection right here.  I speak of the changes to the gene pools of all species that occurs every day due to births and deaths.  Members of a species do not all have the exact same DNA, which can be demonstrated easily, and sexual reproduction combines the DNA of two parents to form a little bit different combination of genes. Also, not all creatures survive to reproduce and some little bits are lost.

If you can understand and accept these facts that this is an observed, common, natural fact of life then you are understanding evolution at its basic level. This has been known and fully understood for over a hundred years, and there is NO doubt about it-at all-in the scientific community that it is working.

When you talk about the “Theory of Evolution” though, what you are talking about is the attempt to describe how and why life is doing what it is doing. You come up with the theory when you observe the facts and posit the reason behind them.  When you are talking or experimenting on live things and how they came to be and what changes they have, or are, going through and you find common threads then you are talking about evolutionary things, and when large numbers of your observations show many similarities then you make a theory to cover what you are seeing.

The theory that C. Darwin proposed to cover the observations he made in his long voyage on the HMS Beagle was the most eloquent and simple theory that seemed to work…and it worked so well that here we are 150 years later and it’s still the only “theory” that has any credence and continues to explain how life worked in the past and continues to work today.

The religious right continues to attack Darwin and his work precisely because it is the one explanation for life that really works, makes sense, unlike the error filled Bible, and it has tremendous explanatory power in the areas that it is used in, and is constantly being corroborated by dozens of different scientific disciplines.

A good theory can be used to produce predictions about future findings about known facts, and the theory of evolution has proven to be able do this…over and over again for 150 years.

The religious right, the evangelical fundamentalists have a big problem in that they have to advance magic/supernatural causes to explain natural phenomena and since this is not testable in any degree it has no real explanatory power. If a naturalistic explanation is capable of totally explaining natural phenomena on earth…what need is there for some lame…my magic God did it!

Evolution is a fact of nature…just like gravity.  I propose we now call it the Fact of Evolution.  🙂

Truth Saves

Jesus and Adam and Eve

Jesus comments in the Bible that he knows of Adam and Eve.  If you go with the Trinitarian view of Christianity that would actually be God commenting on them…which of course “proves” that the Christian religion is true.  At least that is what evangelical fundamentalists would have us believe.

There is just one BIG problem with that belief (along with hundreds of little ones).  Adam and Eve, as described in the Bible, never existed.  There is no doubt among earth scientists, at all, that the earth has had real humans, living all over it,  for tens of thousands of years. There is not one bit of doubt among earth scientists that Neanderthals were living on earth for about a quarter of a million years.  There is no doubt among real biologists that evolution has been going on for millions of years.

You can go back 6,000 or 10,000 years and there was at the very least a million or two people living on this planet.

Think of the consequences of no Adam and Eve;  NO fall from grace, No expulsion from the Garden of Eden, NO original sin, NO need for Jesus to expiate our non-existent sins.

Think of where this leaves St. Paul…all that made-up theology is not needed any more.

Where does this leave the rest of the stories in the Bible?

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Truth Saves

Creationists, ID, Muslims and England

America is not the only country that is facing the rising tide of creationist theory. England is also experiencing a flood of evangelical fundamentalists and Muslim students in sixth-form colleges (kinda’ like community colleges in the States) and universities who are trying to replace Darwin’s theory (fact) with their theory (not fact) that the earth is just 6,000 years old.

“A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur’an as scientific fact and at one sixth form College in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.”

“Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.”

“There is an insidious and growing problem,” said Professor Jones, of University College London. “It’s a step back from rationality. They (the creationists) don’t have a problem with science; they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease as we see from the United States.”

People from the US are apparently helping those across the pond in setting up organizations using methods and systems tested in America. Answers in Genesis have a British office and they are busy spreading the gospel of “Biblical Inerrancy” to all who would listen. Most of the kids who are questioning their teachers about Darwin’s “theory” (fact) are from homes that are following the lead of American sects such as Pentecostals and Baptists.

And then of course there are the Muslims, and they are a very strong presence in England. The Muslims are smack-dab in the middle when it comes to fundamentalist religious thought. Their Koran is different in many (most) ways than the Bible, but on matters of creation they pretty much sing the same song, and their young students in English schools are making big waves by denouncing Darwin and England’s mostly secular teaching and ways.

The whole story is HERE From Guardian.co.uk

The evangelical fundamentalists of religion are trying every diabolical, backhanded, cunning, and fiendish tricks they can to try and teach religion-as-science in schools, and of course their final goal would be to kick science out of school altogether.  You see they want “their” religion to rule everyone and everything…and of course the Muslims want the same thing…going to be an interesting war.

Fitna – Documentary about Islam – Watch more

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals