Creationism and Science and Change

Science and Religion have…until recently, publicly fought over two issues.  Once, in the early 1600’s when Galileo Galilei dared to contest the Catholic Churches belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth.  The Church of course lost that battle, although it took hundreds of years before they admitted it, and they imprisoned the poor man for challenging their authority.

The second confrontation was on the subject of Evolution. When Darwin published his book On the Origins of Species, in 1859, I think every church in the world went bonkers in denial, and of course the Catholics were at the forefront of the condemnation.  This lasted until about 1950 when Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Humani generas declared that evolution and faith were not in conflict. That was followed, in 1996, by Pope John Paul II, in his message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, explicitly endorsed the findings of evolutionary theory.  So in essence what happened here is the Church just gave up, and in, because once again the preponderance of Real World evidence supported the side of science.

Now unfortunately the Catholic Church, although the largest, is not the only Christian congregation out there, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of evangelical fundamentalist gnats flying around the bones of religion.

They are scrambling for dominance in the Protestant world and they are gathering souls and helping the best and brightest of their ilk to earn PhD’s and to write papers for their creationist journals where they argue that magic and the supernatural are true and ‘scientific.’ They want magic to be accepted in our school systems, all the way through college level, as how our world and universe was brought about.

They want to teach our children, our future generation, that the earth was created 6,000 years ago, and that dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve and Noah.  They want to teach that Neanderthals never existed and there was an ice-age after ‘The Flood.’  They propose to take the accumulated scientific knowledge of the human race and deny it’s truth, they want to tell our children that the scientist don’t know what they are doing…and are lying about their findings, and are probably in cahoots with Satan.

One cannot just listen to their rhetoric and say, “Well, maybe there’s something to it.”  You have to follow through with their assertions and question their motives.  They want nothing less than completely gutting our educational system, and by extension, our secular form of government. They literally want the Bible to be the ‘LAW’ of the land. They want their Christian Protestant church to rule over ALL of us.  They want their worldview to be controlling our destiny.  Even if you don’t believe their version of religion, they think they are right and should rule over you. They want an end to secular government and for theism to control all.

That’s damn scary.

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Who is Mary Magdalene?

So just who is this woman Mary Magdalene; Is she Saint or sinner?

In one of the sermons that Pope Gregory I gave in 591, he identifies Mary Magdalene as: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark.” Remember this is the Pope who started celibacy in ‘The Church.’ The Catholics only reversed their unofficial position in the late 1960’s.

Peter was at odds with her. He openly criticizes her in front of other Apostles and is rebuked by Levi for his attitude towards her.

Did she actually write the Gospel of Mary? People of religion have told me that the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Gospels were too late (200’s-300’s CE) to be considered as real or applying to Christianity as we know it now. But, I think they forget that Eusebius was collecting letters and papers for the modern Bible as late as the 350’s CE.

Was she the enigmatic ‘Beloved Disciple’ of the Gospels; was she in fact the writer of the Gospel of John, as some people believe. See: Elaine Pagels …and others…check out Wikipedia and Mary Magdalene on the net. Sorry, no evidence that she had Jesus’ baby.

Did she retire to France, where 5 churches claim to have her bones, or did she retire along with John and Mary mother of Jesus, to Ephesus, Turkey where they all died?

Reading the convoluted history of the early Christian Church is much like reading a very anticipated crime novel by your favorite author. There are twists and turns that no one could even think of in earlier times. The level of scholarship relating to the early church is amazing and exhaustive. Modern researchers have turned upside down early theories and some biblical ‘truths’.

From Mary Magdalene article in Wikipedia:

“Further attestation of Mary of Magdala and her role among some early Christians is provided by the Gnostic, apocryphal Gospel of Mary Magdalene which survives in two 3rd century Greek fragments and a longer 5th century translation into Coptic. In the Gospel the testimony of a woman first needed to be defended. All of these manuscripts were first discovered and published between 1938 and 1983, but as early as the 3rd century there are Patristic references to the Gospel of Mary. These writings reveal the degree to which that gospel was despised and dismissed by the early Church fathers. In the fragmentary text, the disciples ask questions of the risen Savior (a designation that dates the original no earlier than the 2nd century) and are answered.”

The history I am finding…is fascinating, and I find a lot of it contradicts today’s evangelical fundamentalist thought. Of course they just think this stuff is lies spread by the devil.

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Did Jesus Exist?

“Question everything you think you know”. Me, 2008

Looking at the genealogies of Jesus there seems to be lots of discrepancy there. Is there any explanation out there that all Christians can or do agree upon? Why would a God directed and inerrant writing have such a big discrepancy?

Do you think that there was an actual, God produced, historical Jesus? A half man, half God (or was It really God; this is confusing) that walked around the countryside proselytizing and raising the dead, curing leprosy, and other deadly diseases of the time? No one writes about him then. Mainline history is quiet about him until the fourth century AD. Christian followers didn’t write him of him until 30 to 80 years after his death. That is very perplexing. A self-proclaimed and acknowledged Son of God; born of a Virgin no less, who raises the dead, is ignored.

The writings don’t get pulled together as one, until 300 years after his death. Christianity, almost as we know it today, with the knowledge of the ‘One True God’ and Jesus, doesn’t get any real publicity until Constantine the Great, through the Edict of Milan, decides that Rome will be a Christian Empire in the year 313 AD. He commissions Eusubius to produce 50 bibles; it will be the first time both New and Old Testaments are combined. Eusebius was to do the picking of what writings to include in ‘New Testament’

“To the fourth century belong the earliest extant Biblical manuscripts of anything but fragmentary size”. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09627a.htm

About Eusebius of Caesarea, Edward Gibbon writes:

“The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might rebound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion.
Such an acknowledgment will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries”

Eusebius himself writes:

“How far it may be proper to use falsehood as a medium for the benefit of those who require to be deceived” Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea, PE: Praeparatio Evangelica, Preparation for the Gospel,

“[Eusebius] Now you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures also thousands of such passages concerning God as though He were jealous, or sleeping, or angry, or subject to any other human passions, which passages are adopted for the benefit of those who need this mode of instruction.” Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea, PE: Praeparatio Evangelica, Preparation for the Gospel

Another critic of Eusebius:

“[Eusebius was] the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity.” Jakob Burckhardt, Swiss historian (1818-1897)

Paul, one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament, though he lived at the time of Jesus, never quoted the teachings of Jesus. He vaguely mentions an occasional ‘command of the Lord.’ Why would he not mention the raising of the dead and curing of the sick? This would have settled so much controversy.

If in actual fact Caesar Augustus did not really order a census while Quirinius was governor of Syria – if it turns out there really was only one Gadarene demonaic rather than two – then the entire Bible becomes worthless and every tenet of Christian faith falls flat. If one single discrepancy emerges, it’s all over. This makes Christian faith an easy target for skeptics, and drives believers to unimaginable lengths to ‘defend’ the Bible.” Mark Mattison, “Is the Bible inerrant?,” at: Link

CNN book review of “The Jesus Mysteries” 11.21.2000     Link

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