Adam and Eve Are Dead…Finally

Well actually they never existed…and the proof is available for all to see.

Christian scholar Dennis R. Venema is the BioLogos senior fellow for science and the biology chairman at Trinity Western University.  He writes that the chimp genome displays “near identity” with the human genome as detailed by (Francis) Collins’s team.  The detailed analysis involves sequences of genes and the makeup of individual genes, but especially important are the locations of “pseudogenes” that are seemingly no longer active. The cumulative evidence, Venema concludes, shows that “humans are not biologically independent, de novo creations, but share common ancestry” with prior primate species.””

Atheist-turned-Christian Francis S. Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federally funded organization. Collins’s wrote a 2006 bestseller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, where he said there are scientific indications that anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors perhaps 100,000 (currant science says 200,000) years ago, long before the apparent Genesis time frame, and that they originated within a population that numbered something like 10,000, not two individuals. Far removed from the traditional belief that God specially created man and woman in the Garden of Eden, and they were biologically different from all other creatures alive at the time.

In his recent (2011) pro-evolution book, The Language of Science and Faith, Collins and co-author Karl W. Giberson step up matters, announcing that “unfortunately” the concepts of Adam and Eve as the literal first couple and the ancestors of all humans simply “do not fit the evidence.”

The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis has long been subjected to scientific challenges, but “there was a lot of wiggle room in the past. The human genome sequencing took that wiggle room away” said Randall Isaac, executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation.  DNA science is totally changing what many believed about human beginnings.

Will the Adam and Eve question become a groundbreaking science-vs.-religion dispute, in the 21st-century? The modern day equivalent of the once disturbing argument about whether the Sun orbits the earth or vice-versa?  The possibility is there: the emerging science could be seen to challenge what Genesis records about the creation of humanity and also the species’ unique status of being created in the “image of God,” Christian doctrine on original sin and the Fall, the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and, perhaps most significantly, Paul’s seminal teaching that links a historical Adam with redemption through Christ.

The fall-out from the non-historicity of the Biblical Adam and Eve will be huge.  Many people in the earth sciences have known for some time that the Genesis stories are just myth, the science behind the notion is just too darn strong to endlessly ignore.

South Carolina pastor Richard Phillips, chair of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology worries, “Can the Bible’s theology be true if the historical events on which the theology is based are false?” If science trumps Scripture, what does this mean for the virgin birth of Jesus, or his miracles, or his resurrection? “The hermeneutics behind theistic evolution are a Trojan horse that, once inside our gates, must cause the entire fortress of Christian belief to fall.”

All these years Christianity has been working under the assumption that Genesis is true and that all humans who lived in the past, and are alive today, are descendents of Adam and Eve.  The whole dogma of original sin and the blood sacrifice of Jesus to redeem humanities sin goes out the door.  Combine the fact that DNA, and other evidence, says that Adam and Eve did not exist…with other revelations that science is making about the Biblical myths, and I predict that Christianity is facing a real crisis of belief.  
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Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels

The Christian religion has had a few thousand years now to make a case for the fundamental concepts it pushes upon our world.  It has failed spectacularly to show ANY evidence for supernatural or magical forces, the existence of angels or demons or Satan, the efficacy of any ones prayers, the infallibility of heavens emissaries on earth (the Popes). It has failed horribly, and has never done what it claims it can do.

Of course I am not, by any means, the only person to understand this and note the inconsistencies and illogic that runs rampant throughout their beliefs.  Despite this several thousand years of apologetics and trying to clean up their Bible of the many mistakes it continues to be an unproven hypothesis.

“Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as “letters of Paul.” Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen “Pauline” letters now included in the New Testament collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus– letters written in a style different from Paul’s and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul’s own letters. About the authorship of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the “deutero-Pauline”– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters.”
Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

“When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up”.   Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

“All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.”
Steve Mason, professor of religious studies, York University,  Toronto

“A generation after Jesus’ death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large numbers of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.”
Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College

“Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.”
Jeffery L. Sheler,“ Who Wrote the Bible,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

“The clerical confessions of lies and frauds in the ponderous volumes of the Catholic Encyclopedia alone suffice …to wreck the Church and to destroy utterly the Christian religion…. The Church exists mostly for wealth and self-aggrandizement; to quit paying money to the priests would kill the whole scheme in a couple of years. This is the sovereign remedy.” Joseph Wheless, Forgery in Christianity

“Enterprising spirits responded to this natural craving by pretended gospels full of romantic fables, and fantastic and striking details; their fabrications were eagerly read and accepted as true by common folk who were devoid of any critical faculty and who were predisposed to believe what so luxuriously fed their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these fictions. The former had no motive other than that of a Pious Fraud.”  Catholic Encyclopedia

“The Christian Fathers deemed it a pious act to employ deception and fraud.” “The greatest and most pious teachers were nearly all of them infected with this leprosy.” Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, “Ecclesiastical History”, Vol. I, p. 347

Many scholars think that Eusebius interpolated his writings. In Ecclesiastical History, he writes, “We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwords to posterity.” (Vol. 8, chapter 2). In his Praeparatio Evangelica, he includes a chapter titled, “How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived” (Vol. 12, chapter 32).

There is not the slightest bit of physical evidence that supports a historical Jesus; there are no artifacts or dwellings, no works of carpentry, no written manuscripts (by Jesus), nothing.  All we have are writings from other people and there is no contemporary recording of the man/God nothing written while he was alive.  All documents about Jesus came well after his supposed life on earth from people who had never even met him, from unknown authors, or from fraudulent mythical /allegorical writings.  There are no Roman Records that show Pontius Pilate executed a man named Jesus.

“The gospels are all priestly forgeries over a century after their pretended dates.” Those who concocted some of the hundreds of “alternative” gospels and epistles that were being kicked about during the first several centuries C.E. have even admitted that they had forged the documents.”  Joseph Wheless, Forgery in Christianity

“Pauline/Roman Christians: When the Roman-backed instance of Christianity went in search of the ancient centers of Christianity, they discovered to their horror that the Ebionites and Gnostics pre-dated them. Their un-Christian answer was to edit verses, burn books, arrest and harass the other poverty-stricken Christians until no opposition was left. The form of Christianity that we have inherited from the Roman Empire is far from what Christianity originally was.”  Vexen Crabtree, Types of Christianity: Who were the original Christians? (2006)

According to the Gospels several things happened around the time that Jesus died on the cross.
His death was supposedly accompanied by a three hour blackout of the sun, earthquakes, and the rising of the dead. No record of these events can be found anywhere outside the Bible.

So what is a person to do? It seems to me that  anyone searching for something greater than oneself, a belief to offer hope and help, a God who’s always there to comfort and relieve stress is out of luck.  There are a little over 2.2 billion believers in the Christian God and only 1.1 billion non-believers, but those non-believers actually took the time to research their position and beliefs.  They didn’t come to that conclusion as a result of what they were born into. Of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world the vast majority have never researched one little bit of religion.  Their fathers and mothers were Christians…so they are too. They believe in some nebulous creator God who made the world 6,000 or so years ago and listens to their prayers and somehow watches over all of them.

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Jesus Was/Is A Myth

If one follows the many earth sciences closely enough you are presented with facts that if followed deeply enough and cogitated about long enough, reveals to you that all is not as it seems.

For example, science tells us that actual humans (Homo-sapiens…us), have walked the earth for near 200,000+-  years. Among scientists this is pretty much an un-disputed fact, Other, almost humans, walked the earth for several million years…some modern day European and Asian people have actual DNA from some of these ancient ancestors, meaning there was inter-breeding and viable, fertile offspring.

DNA and the old bones are telling this story…this is indisputable, non-judgmental,   unbiased science that is narrating the story of our ancestors life, not a book written by goat-herders–millions of years after the real beginning of the tale.

All of the above, and more, leads us to the necessity to re-examine and measure many old tall tales that have been passed off as truth to billions of people…namely the Biblical myths of our earthly Genesis.  Moses nowadays is thought to be pretty much a mythical figure.  His “contribution” to the Bible (The Pentateuch) is probably a product of earnest Jewish scholars of the sixth or seventh century BC …long after the reputed time of Moses…trying to keep a tribe together

We know that the essential stories of Genesis…Adam/Eve, Noah, dispersion of language, slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt, Exodus, exploits of Joshua, etc. are mythical or allegorical tales.  Some people may think this is not a big deal, but some cogitation on the subject proves otherwise.  In fact if these stories are not true, the consequences ricochet through time…to the story of Jesus, and then go even greater lengths to prove the whole chapter–maybe the whole book–is only myth.

Follow this: there was no Adam/Eve as portrayed in the Bible. The Bible gives clues that much of civilization and early technology was miraculously “there” almost as soon as the story got going. This irrevocably puts the stories into the fifth or sixth millennia BC…a time that is extremely well researched and known about by our earth sciences.  The bone evidence and DNA evidence agree in their respective branches that there was never a time when our ancestors only numbered 2 in the case of Adam/Eve, and further out, the 6 mythical procreating members of the mythical Noah’s Ark.

As stated above man/womankind has walked the earth for 200,000 +- years…there was never an Adam/Eve couple six or eight or ten or fifty thousand years ago.  No Adam and Eve mean no “Original Sin” which irrevocably means there was no need for a Jesus to die as “blood atonement” for non-existent sins.  If you think about it God said, before Paul invented Original Sin, that children are not guilty of the sins of the father. Also the blood atonement think is kind of stupid…it’s nothing but theater, a contrivance to batten up a weak plot line.

With that thought in mind we go to some thoughts of people who are, or were, in the front lines of scholarship in matters of the Christian religion.

“It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last”Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute

“We can recreate dimensions of the world in which he lived, but outside of the Christian scriptures, we cannot locate him historically within that world”Gerald A. Larue, The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You to Read.

“The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel”Bishop John Shelby Spong.

“According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality”Maurice Bucaille, The Bible The Quran And Science

“Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it”C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy

“Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one anymore. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern re-mythologizing of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction”Robert M. Price, Jesus: Fact or Fiction

“So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that “we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus”Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg

So Prof. Bultmann is saying that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are unreliable, so bad that we can’t be sure about Jesus. Just how much faith can we put in the Gospels?  Let’s see what some other scholars believe…

“We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John”Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, The Gnostic Gospels.

“All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions”Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University.

“The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong”Randel M. Helms, Who Wrote the Gospels?

“But even if it could be proved that John’s Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who “John” was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person”John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar, Testament.

“Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them”Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College.

“Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus”Jeffery L. Sheler, The Four Gospels

“The bottom line is we really don’t know for sure who wrote the Gospels”Jerome Neyrey, Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.

“The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life”Moncure D. Conway, Modern Thought

Some really bad press for a few people from the Christian religion. They keep saying there is all this evidence that their religion is the true one.  I’m wondering where it is.

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Prove There Is No Jesus He Says

Deacon Blue’s blog HERE issued a challenge to all…

“So, to those of you who want to knock me off my faith, you are going to have to give me credible reason to believe that Jesus never even existed, and neither did the apostles, for you to knock me off my faith.”

And: “Consider it a challenge if you like. If you can provide me with such evidence of those two assertions that it overwhelms the record of the existing sources from which I currently draw my knowledge and on which I base my faith.”

My first reply to him is:

Jesus may have existed, but no one wrote about him in his time. There is real serious questions about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s authorship of the gospels however…I am just going on what people a lot smarter than I say on these matters. Fallout from this position is that we may not know what Jesus actually said (if he existed).

For me however, I go to the Answers in Genesis people and their position that if Genesis in the Bible is not true…the whole of Christianity falls apart.

Well, most, if not all, of Genesis is demonstrably wrong according to what we know about our world now.

The AiG people go to tremendous lengths to try to prove their point, but they are unable to do so.

The science they try to push on an unsuspecting public has been screened time after time by reputable scientists and proven wrong.

They are the same people who opened the “Creation” museum in Kentucky and try to tell us that Jesus rode a dinosaur…well actually they say that dinosaurs roamed the earth with our ancestors and were on Noah’s ark.

Well, we have known for 400 years now that there was never a Noah’s ark and world-wide flood. Most of Christianity accepts this now. The main point of contention left is whether the Adam and Eve story from the Bible could be true.

We know for a fact (this is NOT a theory) that humans did not suddenly appear on earth six thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago or even fifty thousand years ago…this is NOT in question at all. The Adam and Eve story does not, and will not, fit into a scenario where they were created 200,000 years ago. The story also will not support the fact that there were several Homo specimens who preceded us and they had already learned about fire and mastered the making of stone tools before we came along 200,000+- BC

If Adam and Eve are not true…and I posit they were not…then the whole story actually does fall apart. No “Original Sin” no need for Jesus to somehow expiate our non-existent sins. That whole ‘blood’ debt thing is creepy anyway. And God inseminating Mary to conceive Himself so that He can be executed for sins that He created in this world is just plain out bonkers, a truly crazy conceptual idea.

I don’t think there is any shame in admitting that one is wrong…many have done it over this information. It is overwhelming and factual and the Bible is fighting a losing battle against real facts and truth. There is no magic in this world…”

Addendum: So by using circumstantial evidence that we have known as facts for many many years now, one can in a roundabout way throw very serious doubt on the old Jewish myths.  The Old Testament (Hebrew writing) is very essential to Christianity and the New Testament today…it is what the whole Christian shtick is based on.

He replies in essence that he believes none of this. So in reply to this I write

You write in your original post:
“So, to those of you who want to knock me off my faith, you are going to have to give me credible reason to believe that Jesus never even existed, and neither did the apostles, for you to knock me off my faith.”

Of what need is there for Jesus if there was no ‘original sin” to expiate??

The Jews of course are adamant that the messiah hasn’t come yet.

They do not write of ‘original sin’ do they…isn’t that a concept that Jesus never heard of??

Isn’t this a concept that was invented in Paul’s writing?

If the Gospels were written by “who knows” (Genesis also) (half of Paul’s epistles too) well after the death of Jesus, and the final Bible took the ‘Orthodox’ Church about 400 years to produce; do you think we, in our times, REEAALLYY know what is true and real, or is there just a small possibility that we got stuff wrong?…really wrong. Remember that the Bible is almost certainly a product of humans (without that “God breathed” thing going on)…way to many problems with it to have a gods official stamp on it.

If you ***really*** get into trying to find the real answers to religion you very quickly come across thousands of problems and questions…this leads you to apologetics which will drive you crazy with the twists and turns of logic and lame answers to serious questions…this in turn leads you to science and all of a sudden things begin to make real sense.

A real and true religion, it seems to me, would not need a search for answers because there would be no anomalies and little things that bother you because parts and more parts of the words are not matching, and the stuff we find out in real life would match up with what is written. The God would be self evident…not an elusive sky will-o-wisp. He could still live in the sky, but there must be some way of proving this God, because us humans are a contrary lot. The old apologetics that you must have faith does not cut it, and more and more young people are finding this out.

In closing; Jesus may have existed as a human person, but he was not “God” incarnate…there is no real proof.

Adam and Eve did not exist…this really puts a crimp in the need for a messiah. And if you don’t need a messiah…what is he?

It goes on…

I realize that you accept some science and that’s a lot further than most fundagelicals go.
I feel however that you somehow can’t accept where it is inevitably leading. I’m guessing that you just push to the back of your mind anything that might make you doubt where you are and where you want to be.

Non-scientific. Do you believe in the “Rapture?” I have it on good authority that if you aren’t “Born Again and believe in the Rapture” you will NOT go to heaven when the trumpet sounds.

I have it on good authority that if you DON’T believe in the Trinity…that God was Jesus and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one (or was it the other way round?) you will burn in hell forever.

I have it on good authority that if you DO believe in the Trinity you will burn in hell.

I have it on good authority that if you don’t believe the precise dogma of “X” denomination you will burn in hell…literally hundreds or thousands of answers to this one.

Do you believe in the Virgin Mary and her (as well as Jesus’) Immaculate Conception? Do you follow the dogma that Jesus had no brothers or sisters (Mary remained a virgin) i.e. an only child…If not I have it on good authority that you will burn in hell–forever.

I have it on good authority that if you don’t believe in Allah and follow the Koran…you will burn in hell forever and possibly be blown up here on earth by fanatic Muslims.

Really do you think this religion is in any way real when it cannot even agree and tell anyone how to comport yourself in this world and the afterlife, or in front of a supposed God.

Do you really believe the present (and past) state of religion on this earth makes any kind of sense??? Do you believe the machinations of untold thousands of religious people for their own personal aggrandizement and profit (think of televangelists and the Catholic Church here) speaks of something “Holy”???

So you think religion is supposed to be this way? All fractured and non-compliant with each other…each one “Knowing” that they are the “only” way to heaven. Each one imputing a God with their own sensibilities and likes and dislikes, each one thinking the “others” are going to burn in hell forever?

The Roman Catholics worship one way.
The Lutherans worship another way.
The Baptist worship another way.
The Pentecostals worship another way.
The Anglicans worship two other ways.
Those Mormon upstarts worship another way.
The Jehovah’s witnesses worship another way.
The Quakers worship another way.
The Orthodox Catholics worship another way.

This could go on for days…but I forget a lot of them.

Each of the above say they worship the same God, but each of them just knows they have the only true and real passage to heaven…all the others will burn in hell forever.

Is this really anyway to run a religion? Is this the indicator of the truth of God? Do you think God wants to be worshiped in 2000 different ways and wants all the hard feelings and strife that goes along with the strong dichotomies that exist in the Judeo-Christian religious world.

God is certainly not living up to His implied abilities. You know…being organized and efficient. Kinda’ laying down on the job as to being all loving…letting all these bad feelings towards each other simmer and blow up occasionally. If He created us He surely knows how we are.

My expectations of a God (sorry if I’m being to prideful here) is of one who is logical, intelligent, very kind to ALL, one who watches out for His experiments (us), and who has pride in His work and craftsmanship. AS well as all the other attributes given Him by philosophers over the centuries…omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc., etc.. Oh, and He would actually answer prayers occasionally…which He never does now.

“In the eleventh century, Isaac ibn Yashush, a Jewish court physician of a ruler in Muslim Spain, pointed out that a list of Edomite kings that appears in Genesis 36 named kings who lived long after Moses was dead. Ibn Yashush suggested that the list was written by someone who lived after Moses. The response to his conclusion was that he was called “Isaac the blunderer.”
History however has proven him to be correct.  This is further proof that Moses did not write the Pentateuch.

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Original Sin

“Man is a marvelous curiosity … he thinks he is the Creator’s pet … he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea?” Mark Twain

Do young Christians look at their newborn child and think the babe is full of sin or do they think their child is perfect in every way, from the moment it is born? Well, perhaps until they become a teenager.

The Catholic Church has for two thousand years thought the newborn child would go to hell if it died before being baptized into the church. According to Wikipedia… “Most Christians practice infant baptism. They include the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Armenian Apostolic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, the Anglican Communion, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, some Church of the Nazarene, the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Canada, the United Church of Christ (UCC)

“The Roman Catholic Church considers baptism, even for an infant, so important that “parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks” and, “if the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.” It declares: “The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church.”

St. Cyprian stated that ‘God’s mercy and grace should not be refused to anyone born’, …’Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called… The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.” Catechism of the Catholic Church

The whole idea of original sin is nonsense and has no Biblical support outside of Paul, a man that never even met Jesus.

2 Kings 14:6 “But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Ezek. 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

Deut. 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Judaism is strong in its belief that a person is born innocent – not evil, not good, but innocent. Jews believe that man enters the world free of sin, with a soul that is pure and innocent and untainted. We are given a clean slate.

Saint Augustine (354-430) was the first theologian to teach that man is born into this world in a state of sin. He maintains that the sin of Adam was transferred to all future generations, tainting even the unborn. This view is to be found in the New Testament (Romans 5:12) where Paul says, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”

Once again we find that the Bible and the theology that comes from its followers is contradictory and confusing…another sign that the whole thing is not true.

“The Bible has been used for centuries by Christians as a weapon of control. To read it literally is to believe in a three-tiered universe, to condone slavery, to treat women as inferior creatures, to believe that sickness is caused by God’s punishment and that mental disease and epilepsy are caused by demonic possession. When someone tells me that they believe the Bible is the ‘literal and inerrant word of God,’ I always ask, ‘Have you ever read it’?” Bishop John Shelby Spong.

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Historical Criticism of the Bible

I finished reading Bart Ehrman’s new book “Jesus Interrupted” a few days ago and was surprised by quite a bit of what he had to say.  For those who don’t know Mr. Ehrman, he is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He reads the ancient languages of the Bible, and he is published widely and respected as a scholar.

He wrote a best seller in 2005 “Misquoting Jesus,” that so upset the Evangelical community that it spawned 3 books in rebuttal. He was raised as an Episcopalian and had a “born again” epiphany as a sophomore in high school and accepted Jesus as his savior.  Wanting to study scripture full time he entered the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where all students and professors had to sign a document attesting that they believed the Bible to be the inerrant word of God, and was a divinely inspired document from beginning to end.

It wasn’t long before he ran into problems with what he was learning. One of his first classes taught that none of the original texts of the New Testament exist. All we have left are copies of copies that are written as much as a few centuries after the originals. He also learned they are filled with errors and intentional changes (thousands) made over centuries by scribes. This made Ehrman start a serious study of the New Testament. He finished his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College in Illinois where he studied ancient Greek language. He was on a quest to understand how we could know the word of God if all we had were error riddled copies.

He then enrolled in the Princeton Theological Seminary (A Presbyterian school) in the late 70’s and immersed himself in the study of the New Testament texts…being still a believer in the inerrancy of the Bible.  This was soon to change.

Many students enrolling in mainline Protestant seminaries are surprised by the challenge they face to their cherished warm and fuzzy views of the Bible. The seminaries now teach the “historical-critical” method of bible study, completely different than the “devotional” method taught in church.

For three hundred years German and English scholars have pored over the Bible and critiqued the writings for what the authors meant in the historical context, who the actual authors were, what circumstances were they writing in, what issues were they trying to address, what were their sources, when were the sources written, and many other questions.  These were the things taught in Mr. Ehrman’s school, the Princeton Theological Seminary.  They make students knowledgeable about the Bible, not just what is in the Bible.

This method used asks the hard questions about scripture; is it possible that the books of the Bible have internal contradictions, are there irreconcilable differences, and what if we don’t have the original words…over the centuries the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament was copied by hand by scribes and some of the words were changed by well meaning but careless copyists, or those with a agenda of supporting a particular viewpoint.

Mr. Ehrman learned in his classes taught in the historical-critical method that the Bible is filled with discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable, Moses did not write the Pentateuch, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the Gospels, the Exodus certainly did not happen as written in the Bible, the promised land is based on legend, maybe Moses never existed, and we probably don’t know what Jesus actually taught.

The historical narratives of the Old Testament are filled with mythical fabrications and in the New Testament we find it contains historically unreliable information about the life and teaching of Paul.  Other than the Gospels already mentioned, many of the other books of the New Testament are pseudonymous…that is written by someone other than the Apostles, claiming to be the apostles

Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12, 15:25) and John says he died the day before it was eaten (John 19:14)

Ehrman’s inerrancy belief was broken many times and he eventually came to believe that the Bible was a “human book from beginning to end.” That it was written by different authors, at different times, and for different needs.

Mr. Ehrman points out; none of what he is saying in his books is the least bit academically controversial. Even scholars who are devout Christians agree, and have for decades. The field of biblical historical-critical textual studies is 300 years old.  Ehrman’s book simply presents the accepted findings of the field for the lay audience.

In his book, “Jesus Interrupted,” Ehrman goes beyond textual problems to look at deeper doctrinal inconsistencies and contradictions. Ehrman points out that Mark and Luke had much different attitudes toward Jesus’ death: Mark saw him as in doubt and despair on the way to the cross, while Luke saw him as calm. Mark and Paul saw Jesus’ death as offering atonement for sin, while Luke did not. Matthew believed that Jesus’ followers had to keep the Jewish law to enter the kingdom of Heaven, a view categorically rejected by Paul. The conventionally recited response to this is to try to “harmonize” the Bible by smashing all four Gospels together. But as Ehrman argues, this only creates a bogus “fifth Gospel” that doesn’t exist.

He points out that many of the books in the New Testament were not even written by their purported authors: only eight of its 27 books are almost certain to have been written by the people whose names are attached to them. He thinks that scholars have tended to avoid the word “forged” because of its negative connotations, but argues convincingly that much of the Bible is, indeed, forged.

Surprising, even to readers who have some familiarity with biblical scholarship, is Ehrman’s argument…which is the mainstream position among biblical scholars…that Jesus did not teach that he was divine. In only one Gospel, John, does Christ call himself divine, but John’s theology is radically different from that in the other three Gospels. Mentioned also is that “some of the most important Christian doctrines, such as that of a suffering Messiah, the trinity and the existence of heaven and hell,” were not held by Jesus himself and were not contemporaneous with him.”  The doctrine of the trinity only appears once in the New Testament, and the doctrine that Jesus is equal but not identical to God is found in none of the four Gospels.

Ehrman argues that we must remember who Jesus was: a radical millenarian Jew. Like the other Jewish prophets in the Palestine of his day, Jesus taught that a cosmic judge, the Son of Man, was coming soon to earth, but he did not regard himself as the Son of Man.

Jesus was not a Christian, but a Jewish apocalyptic prophet and rabbi. It was only from his followers that “Christianity” became a reality. Jesus preached a profoundly Jewish religion, It was the later self-proclaimed Christians (including John and Paul) who turned Christianity into the virulently anti-Semitic religion it was to become. Ehrman’s own attitude toward Christianity, evolved in a long and complex process. His realization that the Bible was merely a human document ended his literalist faith, but did not cause him to leave the church. Instead, he embraced Christianity as a “beautiful myth.”

What ultimately led Ehrman to leave the church was a more fundamental issue: the problem with evil, what theologians call theodicy. In his 2008 book “God’s Problem,” Ehrman explained that he could no longer believe in an all-knowing and all-powerful God in a world in which an innocent child dies of hunger every five seconds.

Overall the book is exceptionally writen and answers and explains many little known facts about the Bible and Christianity…most of which I’m sure many fundamentalists will disagree with.

The  Four Cats of the Apolcalypse and Muffy
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How True is The Bible

Go to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website at this address and you will find a rather interesting article regarding the historicity of the Hebrew people, the Exodus, Joshua, Moses, the Monarchy, and early  exploits of David and Saul.

“The Bible is not – and was never intended to be – a historical document. A work of theology, law, ethics and literature, it does contain historical information; but if we want to evaluate this information we should consider when, how and why the Bible was compiled.

Until comparatively recently, the Bible was accepted as the word of God by most Jews and Christians, and therefore scholarly works dealing with it, such as the Talmud, rabbinical commentaries, and the work of Christian scholars, concentrated on its interpretation.

In the 19th century CE, the “Age of Reason,” scholars began subjecting the biblical texts to linguistic, textual, and literary analysis, noting inconsistencies and interrupted rhythms, comparing styles, and placing the text within the archaeological, historical and geographical background. There are still many differing opinions regarding the origin of the Bible, when it was written, and under what conditions; but it is fair to say that, outside fundamentalist circles, modern consensus suggests that the assembling and editing of the documents that were to constitute the Bible began in the seventh century BCE, some three centuries after David’s time. (The earliest actual material in our possession, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dates to the second century BCE at the earliest).”

So there is dissent; when was it written, assembled, edited, put together.  It did not just spontaneously appear in final form; it was worked on, edited, and played with for centuries.

“The saga of the Israelites, as told in the Bible, was designed as a morality tale to prove the importance of faith in the One God. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua demonstrate that the Israelites were rewarded when they obeyed God, but were punished when they strayed.

The historical evidence to back up these events is sparse, and, in some cases, contradictory. In particular, the account of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan is inconsistent with the archaeological evidence. Cities supposedly conquered by Joshua in the 14th century bce were destroyed long before he came on the scene. Some, such as Ai and Arad, had been ruins for a 1000 years.

The Book of Judges, which directly contradicts Joshua, and shows the Israelites settling the land over a prolonged period, is nearer historical reality; but even it cannot be taken at face value.”

So now we know the stories were morality tales, maybe some truth in them maybe not. There is sparse evidence for actual historicity. It mentions the lack of archaeological evidence for Joshua’s conquests…most scholars are now in agreement that the Biblical stories are myth and nothing else…a product of later authors who did not realize that scientists would eventually sift through actual evidence and find them out.

“Around 1200 bce, semi-nomads from the desert fringes to the east, joined by elements from Anatolia, the Aegean, and the south, possibly including Egypt, began to settle in the hill country of Canaan. A large proportion – probably a majority of this population – were refugees from the Canaanite city states, destroyed by the Egyptians in one of their periodic invasions.

The conclusion is somewhat startling to Bible readers who know the Canaanites portrayed in the Bible as immoral idolaters: most of the Israelites were in fact formerly Canaanites. The story of Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends that the various elements brought with them from their countries of origin. The consolidation of the Israelites into a nation was not the result of wanderings in the desert and divine revelation, but came from the need to defend themselves against the Philistines, who settled in the Canaanite coastal plain more or less at the same time the Israelites were establishing themselves in the hills.”

So now we find out that the Hebrews were actually Canaanites fleeing from those pesky Egyptians and their war machine.  They didn’t come out of Egypt, led by Moses, they didn’t wander the desert for forty years, and God did not part the Red/Reed Sea.

“Thus the founders of Israel were not Abraham and Moses; but Saul and David. It was apparently Saul who consolidated the hill farmers under his rule and created fighting units capable of confronting the Philistines. It was David who defeated the Philistines and united the hill farmers with the people of the Canaanite plains, thus establishing the Kingdom of Israel and its capital city.”

After several years of serious part time study of religion, the Bible, and the Holy Land, and all the stories and myths floating around about God, Jesus, Paul, the early church fathers and all, I can only come to one conclusion…It’s all fake.

The archaeologists and other scientists whose work in any way relate to religious myths, the Bible or other matters pertinent to Christianity  are in almost unanimous agreement…the real evidence is not there.  Practically everything relating to the Bible, God, Jesus, etc. can be called into question and I have wrote about much of it here.

The only possible way that believers can still believe, is to just ignore science and its findings in the last fifty years or so.  I don’t think anyone with a fair mind can look at the evidence surrounding the 2500-3000 year history of the Hebrews and later Christianity and believe it to be true.  It’s all made up by con-men preying on the common folk.  Pretty lucrative business it is, the Catholic Church is the single largest/wealthiest institution in the world.  Talking about con-men…pry into the history and inner workings of the Mother Church sometime.

I can find no evidence that an all-knowing, all-powerful godly entity is working, or has ever worked, magic here on earth, or been involved in the production of the Bible in any way. Almost all of the OT is discredited in one way or another and with all the questions of the authorship and the thousand year exclusive custody of ‘the Bible’ by the Catholic Church there is powerful doubt of its veracity or Truth.

Israel Finkelstein, chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University, “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Text.”

“The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land [of Canaan] in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united kingdom of David and Solomon, described in the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom.”

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