Logical Religion

Among all the religions that have contradictory Gods…only One or None can be right.  It is just as likely that none are right or that some other god with entirely different characteristics or that multiple gods with different characteristics exists. We have no irrefutable proofs of any kind that any proposed god exists.  All we have (or have ever had) is personal anecdotal attestations of belief.  As far as the Abrahamic religions go, two thirds of the world doesn’t think this  God exists.

Muslims believe in a god who is utterly transcendent, non-anthropomorphic, and to whom we humans are required to submit in total obedience.  The Christian god, however is partially transcendent, three persons in one, anthropomorphic, and whom we are supposed to show love.  The Jewish God is less transcendent, has a special role for the Jewish tribes, and they are singled out from all of humanity.  The Hindu God or gods are so alien to my Western way of thought that I can’t even go there yet.

All religions except possibly some small sects in India do not account for all the proven hundreds of thousands of years man has been on earth. Most all Jews, Christians and Muslims (the Abrahamic religions) believe life began on earth 10,000 years ago, or less, and this is despite all the fundamentalists’ claims provably false.  Some of the Christian denominations of late are recognizing that science is actually right on the long ages, and evolution and accepting this, but have so-far not fully integrated these facts into their dogma.  If you are a fundamentalist; Where do you think this god was for 190,000 +- years?

How is it rational for anyone to believe in something with logically contradictory characteristics?  It is not rational to believe in something that is defined one way…when the alleged same thing is defined in a different way down the street in another Temple/Church/Synagogue.

Christians maintain that serving their God is what gives them purpose and that all their morality comes from this God, seemingly disregarding the fact that billions of other people can find purpose to living and loving and can act with morality, all without belief in a transcendent being.

Albert Einstein denied the existence of the traditional monotheistic God and refused to believe that said God could even be moral if He and the religionist’s claims about Him were true.  If this God was omniscient and omnipresent as Christianity claims, He would be ultimately responsible for all of the suffering of humanity down through the ages.  Gods that reflect human frailty are not moral or real gods.

Some Christian sects/denominations define God as being so powerful that free-will is nonexistent, that who we are and what we do is entirely up to Gods interference.  Others will define god as one who gives us tremendous freedoms/free-will and hardly ever, or never, interferes.

A person looking at all these differences would be justified in just staying away from all of them.  After all only one or none of them could possibly be right, and us mere humans could not possibly pick the right one…if there even was a right one.

“While 40 million people died of starvation in the last decade, churches spent $10 billion on campuses.” Steve McSwain
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Scriptural Contradictions

“The Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately bash their brains out; by this means they secured these infants went to heaven.  No orthodox Christian can find any logical reason for condemning their actions, although all nowadays do so.  In countless ways the doctrine of personal immortality in its Christian form has had disastrous effects upon morals.”  Bertrand Russell

God is seen and heard / God is invisible and cannot be heard

God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things / God is not everywhere present, neither sees or knows all things

God is the author of evil / God is not the author of evil

Adultery forbidden / Adultery allowed;

The father of Joseph, Mary’s husband was Jacob / The father of Mary’s husband was Heli

The infant Christ was taken into Egypt / The infant Jesus was not taken into Egypt

John was in prison when Jesus went into Galilee / John was not in prison went Jesus went into Galilee

Jesus was crucified at the third hour / Jesus was crucified at the sixth hour

Christ is equal with God / Christ is not equal with God

It is impossible to fall from grace / It is possible to fall from grace

God is a man of War / God is a God of peace

I and my Father are one / my Father is greater than I

He said: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” …Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” Matt.

He said: “Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:” and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Luke

He said: “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John

“I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy.” / “The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.”

There are over a hundred more of these.  Many of the passages represent “perfect contradictions” that is you cannot affirm the truth of one without asserting the falsity of the other.

Inerrancy…Hah

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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.

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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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Who Wrote the Gospels?

“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

How true are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Can you trust them to be genuine and inspired?  Well, for starters, they were not written by the Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  We don’t actually know who wrote them, but the men who did, did not know Jesus first hand, they were writing from oral stories being passed along.  They were originally written in the Greek language from 30 to 65 years after Jesus was crucified.  It is doubtful that any of the original Apostles could write Greek.  In the world at that time reading literacy was probably 10% or less, writing literacy 2% to 3% and we don’t know that any of the Apostles were literate outside of their native Aramaic.

Outside of the Gospel of Matthew no other author, Biblical or otherwise, mentions that King Herod slaughtered children around Bethlehem or anyplace else in his kingdom. It seems to be a story made up by Matthew alone, perhaps like John makes up the account of Jesus’ death, to make some kind of theological point.

In Luke we have the story of an empire-wide census that has people traveling to birth places of their 1000 year removed ancestors…in itself a pretty silly premise.  We happen to have very good records of the reign and times of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention at all, outside of Luke, of such a census at anytime. Why on earth would Joseph or any other citizen of the empire have to return to an ancestral home they probably didn’t even know? Can you imagine the economic upset this would cause?  I really doubt that Caesar Augustus was that stupid.

Another thing to consider is that Luke mentions that Quirinius was governor of Syria when Jesus was born.  The other gospels say that Jesus was born during Herod’s reign.  We know from several other historical sources, including Tacitus and Josephus and from several ancient inscriptions that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 6 AD, or 10 years after Herod died.

The genealogy of Jesus is also problematical. Matthew and Luke are the two gospels that give the family line of Jesus; one of the problems is that they disagree.  Both of them trace his lineage through Joseph to the Jewish ancestors, but when you get to the end they disagree as to who is Josephs father, patrilineal grandfather, and great-grandfather.  In Matthew the family line goes from Joseph to Jacob to Matthan to Eleazar to Eliud and into the past.  In Luke it goes from Joseph to Heli to Mathat to Levi to Melchi and on into the past.

Another problem that is as big as the genealogy lineage is the ancestral heritage.  Jesus was supposed to be in the line of David.  The line of David comes through Joseph, but Joseph was not the father of Jesus, God was.  Luke explicitly says that the bloodline is of Joseph, not Mary.  There is no blood of David in Jesus. The two authors of the genealogies, of course, had no idea that their gospels would end up in a Bible and subject to side-by-side comparisons.

We are pretty certain that Mark was the first of the gospel writers and that Matthew and Luke got many of their stories from him…that is why there are so many verbatim agreements between them. In the story of the baptism of Jesus; Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree that Jesus left immediately for the wilderness.  John writes that on the next day Jesus was gathering his disciples around him and launched into his public ministry by turning wine into water.

Depending on which gospel you read Judas either hangs himself in remorse over betraying Jesus or he falls down and his bowels spill out over the ground.  Matthew has him hanging, Luke in his writing in Acts has Judas falling and spilling his guts.  There is major disagreement on two other points of the Judas story.  Who purchased the field where he died…the Priests (Matthew) or Judas (Acts), and why was it called the field of blood…because it was purchased with blood money (Matthew) or because Judas bleed all over it (Acts).

We don’t have originals (autographs) of any of the four gospels, only copies, and in many cases these are copies made centuries later.  For one part of the resurrection narrative scholars are pretty certain that the final twelve verses of Marks Gospel are not original and were added by scribes in a later generation.  Three of the gospels have different endings for Jesus’ last words or time on the cross.

Another bunch of discrepancies is to be found in the resurrection stories of the Apostles.  There seems to be very little agreement to any of them.  All four agree that on the third day after the crucifixion Mary went to the tomb and found it empty, but on practically all other details they disagree.

Who went to the tomb?
Mary alone  (John)
Mary and another Mary (Matthew)
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus and Salome (Mark)
Women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem…maybe Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James and others. (Luke)

Had the stone already been rolled away from the tomb?
Yes (Mark)
An Angel rolled it away while the women were there (Matthew)

What or Who did they see there?
An Angel (Matthew)
A young man (Mark)
Two men (Luke)
No one (John)

What were the women told?
Tell the disciples to go to Galilee where Jesus will meet them. (Mark)
Remember what Jesus had told them while in Galilee, that he would die and rise again. (Luke)

Then the women tell the disciples what they heard and saw (Matthew)
They do not tell anyone (Mark)
These two different stories will have great significance later that appears to be irreconcilable.

If they tell someone, who is it?
The eleven disciples (Matthew)
The eleven disciples and “others” (Luke)
Simon Peter and another anonymous disciple (John)

What do the Disciples do?
Nothing because Jesus immediately appears to them (Matthew)
They do not believe the women (Luke)
They go to the tomb to see for themselves (John)

Remember that the writers of these stories had no idea that their works would end up side-by-side in a single book.  The gospels aren’t written by who they say they are and there are many many discrepancies.

Do these books testify to an “inerrant word of God” being passed down?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Truth Saves

The Exodus Never Happened

Israeli archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog(1) provides a controversial  consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus and some other parts of the Hebrew myth.

In 1999, Herzog’s Haaretz weekly magazine cover page article “Deconstructing the walls of Jericho” attracted considerable public attention and debates. In this article Herzog claims that “the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort (Asherah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period (c920-900 BC ) of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai”  Wikipedia

If the whole Exodus story itself is unhistorical we can safely dismiss the other parts of the story [the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), the manna from heaven (Exodus 16:15-35) and the supply of water from the Rock in Horeb (Exodus 17:7)] as mythical addition to an already fictitious account.

(1)Ze’ev Herzog (born 1941) is an Israeli archeologist, professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Ze’ev Herzog is the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005.

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