Why Didn’t the Chief Priest Accuse Jesus of Claiming to Be God?

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” –Mark chapter 14

This one passage is all the evidence we need to know that, contrary to the claims of Trinitarian Christians, Jesus never claimed or insinuated that he was God. If he had, the chief priest would have asked him,

Are you God? Are you the Blessed One as you claim?

But he didn’t.

In Jewish messianic thought, the messiah would be a human being who would be anointed king of Israel and sit on David’s throne, restoring the Kingdom of Israel. All kings of Israel were referred to as “son of God” due to their anointing by the high priest. In the Gospel of Mark, there is zero suggestion that the high priest or anyone else had ever heard any suggestion that Jesus had claimed or insinuated that he was God. In fact, earlier in the same chapter of Mark, it says this:

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 

Seriously?? Jesus was schlepping all over Judea and Galilee claiming or at least inferring that he was God and NO ONE bothered to make this accusation in front of the Sanhedrin?? Give me a break.

Dear Christians: Jesus never claimed he was God. Case closed.

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End of post.

73 thoughts on “Why Didn’t the Chief Priest Accuse Jesus of Claiming to Be God?

  1. I made this comment earlier but got an error message so trying again:
    In addition to Mark, none of the other gospel’s versions of this story have Jesus being asked this question of actually being God. Even the most theologically developed gospel, John only has the high priest ask about Jesus’ teaching:
    Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
    John 18:19
    (NIV)

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      1. I assume the non trial occasions were Jesus calls himself things like “I AM” and God’s son, (even though son of god and god’s son are ambiguous, especially in pagan culture. And other places in John were Jesus divinity hinted at. But of course, none of this happens at the trial(s).

        58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
        John 8:58-59
        (NIV)

        and John 10:31-33:
        31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
        33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
        John 10:31-33
        (NIV)

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        1. But isn’t it odd that Mark’s high priest never accuses John’s Jesus of claiming to be God!

          This shows several important points:

          –The fact that the earliest Gospel, Mark, states that 1.) at Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin, they could not find anything with which to accuse Jesus other than his statement about the Temple being destroyed, and 2.) the fact that the only question the high priest asks is “Are you the Messiah”, not “Are you God”, is massive evidence that Jesus never claimed to be God.
          –If the historical Jesus never claimed to be God, the author of John is LYING!
          –This huge discrepancy between the Synoptics (where Jesus never infers that he is God) and John (in which he does) is very strong evidence that the Gospels are not reliable sources of historical information.

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      2. Gary, are you asking too Does anyone know the standard plausible counter-response is to this paramount problem? 😉

        From a Fuller Theological Seminary grad regarding John 18:19-21…

        Annas has two questions. First, about Jesus’ disciples. How many were there? Were they likely to resist or rebel at Jesus’ arrest? And, second, about the content of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus assures Annas that what he said to his disciples privately[744] is the same thing that he taught publically.

        Then Jesus questions Annas. Why is Annas interrogating the accused? According to Jewish law, an accusation must be substantiated by credible witnesses, not by questioning the accused.[745] True, this seems to be an informal interrogation, not a trial. But for this “impertinence” Jesus is slapped in the face.

        “22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face.[746] ‘Is this the way you answer the high priest?’ he demanded.
        23 ‘If I said something wrong,’ Jesus replied, ‘testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?'” (18:22-23)

        Jesus refuses to be intimidated. He defends his statement and calls on the official to “testify,” that is, to “furnish proof”[747] that Jesus said something improper. Jesus demands to be treated according to Jewish law.

        Annas apparently concludes that he won’t get any more out of Jesus, and sends him on.

        The Fuller Theological Seminary grad never answers anything about Jesus’ teachings. Why? Because he does not know true, verifiable Jewish Tannaic literature. They only know Greco-Roman Gentile religious traditions propagated by the heretical Saul of Tarsus.

        Furthermore, it is near impossible to acquire a unanimous “rebuttal” from Christian apologetics regarding Jesus’ ACTUAL teachings. Why? Because Greco-Roman Gentile descendants—i.e. Roman Catholics and Protestants—know very little, if anything at all, about Jewish Law and Second Temple Sectarian Messianism. Period.

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        1. Kind of funny that Jesus tells Annas that what he taught privately to his disciples he also taught publicly, when in Matthew we get:
          10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
          11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
          “Though seeing, they do not see;
          though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
          Matthew 13:10-13
          (NIV)

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          1. But Jesus doesn’t speak in parables in the Gospel of John! Nor does Jesus tell those cured by his miracles not to tell anyone! The Jesus of John blabs his divinity and powers as a miracle worker to any and all who will listen.

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            1. I think Ehrman said that the author of John probably wasn’t aware of or at least hadn’t read the synoptic gospels.
              I say given that John’s gospel has people trying to stone Jesus yet only a few chapters later saying the Jews could not execute anyone, only the Romans could, that the author of John probably wouldn’t have cared about differences between his gospel and Mark’s.

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              1. Exactly, he/they (some scholars believe that several authors wrote the Gospel of John) even tells us that the purpose of his/their gospel is evangelization (“that you might believe”), not a factually accurate history textbook.

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        2. I would like to see an apologet’s response to this specific question:

          Why is it that author of the Gospel of Mark records in chapter 14 that the Sanhedrin could not find anything to accuse Jesus of other than his statement about the Temple being destroyed and his claim to be the Messiah? If Jesus had been claiming or even inferring that he was Yahweh, God the Creator, why didn’t the chief priest bring this up? For a Jew to claim he is Yahweh would be the worst possible act of blasphemy, yet not one person at Jesus’ trial brought up this issue, according to the author of the Gospel of Mark! Why??

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          1. Excellent questions Gary.

            My own studies, research, and experience with all types of Apologists, evangelical-fundamentalists, etc, over 12-15 years after I existed seminary—Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson/Clinton, Mississippi—and knowing the canonical Gospels inside & out, plus non-canonical Testaments of Yeshua/Jesus, as well as a much deeper knowledge of Second Temple Judaism/Messianism from actual Rabbi scholars… tells me clearly that:

            • Greco-Roman Gentiles had NO CLUE about Jesus’/Yeshua’s Messianic theological teachings and Torah-reforms he wanted. And…

            • Mishnaic Hebrew cannot translate easily into common Koine Greek (by Greek speaking Gentiles) after going thru common Syro-Aramaic. Most all modern Rabbinical Jewish scholars agree. It is near impossible.

            Lastly, the heretic Saul of Tarsus is plausibly the Spouter of Lies known in the contemporaneous Dead Sea Scrolls at the end of Yeshua’s/Jesus’ life and a decade after. This is quite possible indeed when one examines closely ALL of the historical, contextual literature of the period.

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              1. Epicurus,

                It is my academic guess or understanding that it is all a matter of chronology and the civilizations who have come and gone then faded into “history” because of… well, in the case of Classical Antiquity thru Post-Classical history in the Levant and most all of the Mediterranean regions Empires were constantly conquering, seizing, thriving or declining until the next Empire invaded and changed an entire culture/civilization. Hence, the Septuagint is in Koine Greek representing the Hellenistic Age, not perfectly the older Attic (Athenian) Greek. But the two dialects-in-time are not pertinent to this discussion.

                What is undeniable is an ancient Semitic language, Mishnaic Hebrew (spoken strictly among Jews within Synagogues or the Temple) was completely alien and utterly incomprehensible to Koine Greek speaking Romans/Gentiles. About 99.7% of all 1st-century Palestinian Greco-Romans knew nothing of Mishnaic Hebrew and furthermore would sometimes struggle badly with Syro-Aramaic! But they could (barely) get by with crude, basic Aramaic. Aramaic into Koine Greek was much easier—for a well-trained, well-educated, well-paid Scribe to translate. However, going from the seemingly gibberish of Mishnaic Hebrew to Aramaic to Koine Greek was literally a walk thru a minefield.

                The fact is that Palestinian Jews were HYPER protective of their “Holy Tongue” of Scriptures or their Oral Torah. Corrupt, contaminated unholy Gentiles and Romans were not the least bit worthy in Jewish eyes to speak, much less learn, Mishnaic Hebrew. That was absolutely unheard of in the Zugot, Tannaim, and Amoraim Rabbinical Eras! It would’ve never happened. Period.

                So do you see now how near impossible it would’ve been for Gentile Greco-Romans to translate Syro-Aramaic testaments, much less Mishnaic Hebrew testaments of a Rabbi-reformer named Yeshua/Jesus? Hence, all the bogus, corrupted, poorly translated & understood Greek-written gospels about ANY would-be Messiah of the time. They simply could NOT have been that well-educated or warmly embraced by Palestinian Jews. That would be like asking the most conniving, vilest Iranian terrorist to interpret and translate our American Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, and Declaration of Independence and frame the final work in the Library of Congress! 😆

                Does that makes sense? Hope it further distinguishes the vast CHASM between Mishnaic Hebrew—the tongue of Jesus’ theology—and common Koine Greek of Gentile Romans. 🙂

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                    1. You mentioned you were in seminary, so I assumed you learned Koine Greek, so I thought you might know if that knowledge allows one to also read Classical Greek. Is it so different that you cannot, or is it something like a 21st. century person trying to read Shakespeare – often confusing, and words sometimes have different meanings, but one can still get the gist of it?

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                    2. I only learned very basic (Koine) Greek, just to get by. I wasn’t in the ministerial degree programs (MDiv or DMin) so only basic and very little (by comparison) of Greek was required. I’m glad of it too now that I discovered and know what I know now about the complete, exhaustive truth surrounding the Gospels and entire canonical New Testament. 🙄

                      I’m pretty sure there is similar and identical Greek words & phrases from Classical (Attic) to Koine. But there are indeed (significant?) differences as well, primarily because of the vast time-lapse and regions spoken. Your comparison to Shakespeare and 16th-century “Early Modern English” to 20-21st century English is an excellent contrast. Bravo. 😉

                      Get the gist of it?” I’d say (echo) when it comes to Mishnaic Hebrew… to Syro-Aramaic… to Koine or Classical Greek, the vast majority of Jewish scholars of Rabbinical literary history, particularly the Tannaim Era, would firmly state “No, it is not at all possible” to capture fully the complex Semitic meanings, theological Torah concepts, and Messianic speculation of the 1st-century after bring them thru Syro-Aramaic then into Koine Greek.

                      Greco-Romans, particularly the civic and military upper brass, had very little patience with volatile, argumentative, Sectarian, always quick to incite Homeland Jews and their “weird, strange” customs and incomprehensible Hebrew (Mishnaic especially). Peace, order, and disciplined loyalty (to pay Roman taxes) toward the Emperor were essentially all the Roman officials ultimately cared about. They had no interest whatsoever in Semitic gibberish—it was un-Roman and almost detestable. Tension was always present in the air when Hellenistic Romans mixed with fervent Messianic-hopeful Jews. They abhorred each other and their lifestyles.

                      In the decades and centuries after Yeshua’s execution—and the eventual destruction of the Temple, no surprise there—anti-Semitism by Greco-Romans was at fever-pitch. And Hellenistic-born, Hellenistic-loyal Gentiles and Romans eventually and usually did not care one iota about preserving Hebrew ways and language and theological/Messianic nuances. Rome just hijacked it all, twisted, changed, then added their own Greco versions of Second Temple “Messianism.” It would fit their own more agreeable Hellenistic Christ like a neo-Mithraism. But the two are nothing alike in the least when one truly digs far, wide, and deep into ALL of the authentic Second Temple literature of Judaism and Messianism. The Dead Sea Scrolls clearly show the growing chasm between Roman tolerance (intolerance) and Jewish Messianic fervor.

                      This academic posture of Mishnaic Hebrew (oil) mixing with or joining Koine Greek (water) on a Philological (linguistic) level is corroborated by many/most scholars of Jewish Rabbinical Tannaim and Second Temple Judaism. IOW, Hellenism did not mix well at all with Semitic-Palestinian Judaism—and it ended with the Temple’s destruction and with finality at Masada in 73-74 CE. Once that had happened, earliest Greco-Roman (Apostolic) Church Fathers had Carte Blanche to rewrite and invent whatever type of Messiah/Christ they preferred politically. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. I posted this comment on “The Wee Flea” (David Robertson) blog on his post entitled: “Why do the Wicked Proper”. My answer: Because Jesus was not God, and never claimed to be. Jesus is dead:

    Why do the wicked prosper? It is a good question. Those of us who have grown up in advanced, western democracies are accustomed to “good” prevailing. Our societies are based upon principles of fairness and justice. So we are accustomed to the good prospering and the wicked failing. But that is not how it is in the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, the wicked always seem to win. Ruthless tyrants and unscrupulous rich people always win. The meek and the poor always lose.

    If Jesus is the just, good, omnipotent ruler of the universe, why does he let ongoing wickedness prevail in so many parts of our world? Yes, it is possible that Jesus has a divine purpose in all of this that we will never understand. But isn’t another possibility also possible: Jesus was not God. Jesus was just a man; a good man who believed that he was God’s messenger on earth. But the wicked killed him and ended his campaign for spiritual renewal and social justice. The evidence strongly indicates that Jesus never claimed to be God or even inferred that he was God.

    If one reads the record of his trial before the Sanhedrin in Mark 14, there is ZERO accusation against Jesus for claiming or inferring to be God. In Judaism, claiming to be God in the flesh was the highest possible crime. Yet, this crime is never once mentioned at Jesus’ trial before the Jewish leaders. Jesus was just a good man trying to defeat the forces of evil. He was killed for his efforts. But his message of love and compassion for the poor and the downtrodden was not defeated. It lives on today in the form of charity work and good deeds performed by so many of his followers.

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  3. Jesus claimed to be the “I am” and they well knew what that meant… Jehovah

    Jesus past (LORD/Father…Exo 3:14)
    Jesus present (Lord/Son…John 8:58)
    Jesus future (Holy Spirit…John 14:16-18) Christ in you, the hope of glory… Col 1:27)

    In him dwells all the godhead bodily… Col 2:9

    All the charges against Jesus were FALSE…as were all witnesses against him. They couldn’t very well accuse him of telling the TRUTH (that he was God).

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    1. Why didn’t the members of the Sanhedrin accuse Jesus of claiming to be Yahweh? That is the highest form of blasphemy in Judaism. All the Jewish authorities had to do was produce two male eyewitnesses who had heard John’s Jesus claim to be God to convict him. The author of John says that Jesus was making these pronouncements in public. Weren’t there at least two pharisees, saducees, or a couple of lay supporters of these groups in just one of these crowds who heard Jesus make these statements of divinity?? Yet in the Gospel of Mark, they couldn’t find “anything” to accuse Jesus of!

      The evidence is clear: The Jews did not accuse Jesus of claiming to be Yahweh because Jesus never claimed to be Yahweh!

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  4. Your entire argument is based on a false premise: that Jesus “claimed to be YHWH.” No serious biblical scholar or Church Father ever claimed that Jesus “claimed to be YHWH.” If you are going to make a criticism, you need to be accurate about the thing you’re criticizing.

    In any case, concerning Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin. You need to see that interaction in light of Daniel 7 (which Jesus quotes from in his response).

    The high priest asks Jesus if he is the Messiah, the “son of the blessed one”
    Not only does Jesus say “yes,” but he then quotes both from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 and tells the high priest that he would “See the Son of Man at the right hand of God, coming on the clouds of Heaven.”
    In Daniel 7, Daniel sees a vision of four beasts coming up out of the sea, and on the fourth beast a “little horn” sprouts up and makes war with the saints. Then God judges the “little horn” and then a Son of Man figure ASCENDS to heaven to be given everlasting dominion by God.
    Most scholars agree that this is an apocalyptic vision related to the events of Antiochus Epiphanes IV and the Maccabean Revolt. Essentially, Antiochus Epiphanes was a Seleucid ruler who tried to exterminate the Jews–almost like the Hitler of his day. In second temple Judaism, he was seen as the poster child for evil, and quintessential enemy of God’s people. Thus, in this vision, Daniel is told that God would destroy this evil ruler and there would be a Davidic Messiah (Son of Man) through whom He would establish His eternal kingdom.
    The fact that the Son of Man figures ascends to Heaven hints that he is more than just your typical human king. Nevertheless, that’s beside the point. What got Jesus in trouble, and why the high priest tore his robes and accused him of blasphemy is this: Not only was Jesus saying, “Yeah, I’m the coming Messiah,” but he was also implying TO THE HIGH PRIEST that the high priest was the equivalent of the “little horn”–the Antiochus Epiphanes-like “little horn” who was violently persecuting God’s people, namely Jesus and his followers.

    When you tell the Jewish high priest, “You’re no better than Hitler,” that’s going to get you into trouble.

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    1. Hi Joel. I am happy to hear that you agree with me: Jesus never claimed to be the God of the Jews (Yahweh). He may have claimed to be the Messiah; he may have claimed that he had been given (by God) the authority to forgive sins on earth, but he never claimed to be God.

      FYI: Most evangelicals and conservative Protestants believe that Jesus claimed or at least strongly inferred that he was God (Yahweh).

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      1. Reformed Theological Seminary, Dr. Michael Kruger:

        Now, of course, Jesus does sometimes directly say he’s God. In the Gospel of John, for example, in John 8, Jesus takes on and invokes the divine name of Yahweh, –“I am”. Jesus also claims divinity in other ways beyond this. Through his miracles, Jesus in particular does miracles that distinctively positioned himself as the God of the Old Testament.

        Source: https://rts.edu/resources/did-jesus-claim-to-be-god/

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      2. The Gospel Coalition, evangelical (reformed) website:

        It was pervasive since the overwhelming evidence for Jesus’ identity with God dominated the thought, belief, and worship of the church from its earliest days after Pentecost. Jesus characteristically called God his Father and asserted that he was co-ordinate with him as the object of faith. Paul regarded Jesus Christ as identical to Yahweh in status and being. The New Testament as a whole sees him as creator, judge and savior – works only God could do.

        Source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/the-deity-of-christ/

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    2. Here is what one evangelical has to say about your Orthodox position on this issue, Joel:

      Orthodox Christians believe that God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three persons in the Trinity are one, but yet distinct. However, the authors of the New Testament identify Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 3-4), while also ascribing to him the status of Yahweh (Rom. 10:8-13).

      Source: https://thewitnessbcc.com/worship-jesus-yahweh/

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      1. Well, again, your post/argument is rather thin. Right, in the Synoptics, Jesus never goes around and says, “Hey! I’m YHWH!” Even in John, with the “I AM” statements, with the exception of “Before Abraham was, I AM,” they are all inferred, but not explicitly stated. Nevertheless, the Synoptics make is abundantly clear that Jesus was doing things that only God could do. And all four Gospels claim he was resurrected.

        Also, as I explained, in the Synoptics, Jesus is crucified because, while in front of the Sanhedrin, he claims to be the Son of Man figure of Daniel 7 and infers the high priest is the equivalent of the “little horn.” On top of that, the Son of Man figure in Daniel 7 ascends to the Ancient of Days and is given all authority, power, and dominion. So (and this is what the later developed doctrine of the Trinity tries to articulate), in the Gospels, Jesus is clearly claiming to be more than “just a dude.” His actions and speech clearly imply that he, at some level, is equal with the Father.

        So, to sum up, (1) Yes, Jesus never explicitly said, “Hey, I’m YHWH!” but (2) In the Gospels he clearly is presented as doing and saying things only God has authority to say and do. And in THAT sense, that is what your quotes are trying to get at. Although, “Answers in Genesis” is clearly moronic and can’t be relied upon to give a solid and educated answer to anything! I won’t go through each one, but if a website or person says, “Jesus IS YHWH,” they are being very sloppy.

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        1. Please give an example, from the Synoptics, of Jesus doing something that only God can do.

          If you say “forgive sins”, I disagree. In the passage in which he pronounces the forgiveness of sins (he never says, “I forgive your sins”) Jesus states that he has the “authority” to forgive sins on earth. That infers that his authority to forgive sins was given to him by someone else (God). If you ignore the Gospel of John, there is no place in the Gospels in which Jesus claims or infers that he is God. If he had done so, the Jews would have stoned him on the spot as they did Stephen. There is just no way that Jesus criss-crossed Judea and Galilee for three years, claiming or even inferring that he was God, and got away with it. From reading the Synoptics alone, it is clear that Jesus saw himself as a man with divine powers. He never claimed or inferred that he was God. The Jesus of the Gospel of John is a fictional character. He is not the same person as depicted in the Synoptics. The Gospel of John was written at the end of the first century, most probably by a Gentile Christian, who despised the Jews and who had a higher christology than the original Jewish followers of Jesus.

          The divinity of Jesus and the Trinity are later inventions of the Gentile Church.

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          1. When Jesus stills the storm, the whole story is patterned after the Jonah story. But whereas Jonah is thrown in the sea and YHWH calms the sea, in the Synoptics, Jesus is the one who calms the sea–he does what only YHWH can do. That is why the disciples ask, “Who is this guy?”

            And then when Jesus walks on the sea. In Mark we ate told he was intending to “pass by” the disciples. That doesn’t mean he was trying out run the boat. To “pass by” is a reference to when YHWH “passed by” Moses on Mt Sinai and then again “passed by” Elijah on Mt Sinai–in both instances, He revealed His glory to them.

            And so in Mark, that is what Jesus was intending to do. They freak out, though, so he doesn’t at that time. He later reveals his glory to them at the transfiguration.

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            1. That is your Gentile, Trinitarian interpretation, Joel.

              –Moses (allegedly) caused a sea to part. Only God can “part the waters”. But Jews did not interpret that act as a claim of divinity for Moses.
              –Joshua (allegedly) caused the “sun to stand still” (the earth to stop rotating). Only God controls the sun, moon, and planets.
              But Jews did not interpret that act as a claim of divinity for Joshua.
              –Elijah (allegedly) rode in a chariot on nothing but thin air. Only God can move between heaven and earth. But Jews did not interpret that act as a claim of divinity for Elijah.

              In the Synoptics, Jesus is portrayed as the greatest Jewish prophet of all time. He performs more miracles and raises more people from the dead than all the OT prophets combined! Why? Answer: To enhance Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah. Only the Messiah could perform more and greater miracles than Moses, Elijah, and Elisha combined!

              Is this historically accurate story telling?? No way!

              If Jesus performed more and greater miracles than all OT prophets combined at least ONE non-Christian Jew would have recorded these grand, fantastical feats performed before “great crowds“. The fact is: No one did.

              That tells me that the authors of the Gospels invented much (all?) of their material. “Mark”, the first author, invented the core of the story and “Matthew” and “Luke” added their own fictional material to “Mark’s”. Scholars agree that both these authors plagiarized “Mark” to a massive extent. And the author of the Gospel of John out did himself in creating a completely different Jesus character than that of the Synoptics. How can educated, modern Christians believe that the Jesus of John is the same Jesus of the Synoptics??

              Once again I ask you or any other Christian: Why didn’t Mark’s chief priest accuse John’s Jesus of claiming or at least strongly inferring that he was God??

              Are we to believe that Jesus was really telling large crowds of Jews that he existed before Abraham…and the chief priest forgot about this in Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin? Good grief!

              Evidence that the Gospel authors were inventing material: “Matthew’s” story of dead people being shaken out of their graves to wander the streets of a major city is absolutely preposterous. NO ONE but the author of Matthew recorded this earth-shattering event?? Clever modern apologists realize how far-fetched this particular supernatural claim is and have therefore reinterpreted that passage as an allegory…while at the same time still claiming that an equally preposterous story, that of Jesus walking on water, is a stone cold fact. Nonsense.

              The authors of the Gospels were not writing history books. They were writing religious propaganda (“so that you might believe”). Anyone who believes that Jesus literally walked on water needs to take a high school science class! It is a silly, preposterous, claim that no educated, modern person should believe.

              It is entirely possible that the first century readers knew that these fantastical tales were not true because they were familiar with the genre of literature (Greco-Roman biography) of the time which allowed for embellishments to stories. Only later generations of Gentile Christians believed these tall tales to be true.

              Bottom line: Jesus never claimed or inferred that he was God the creator in the Synoptics. If Jesus were still alive today, I bet he would be horrified that his Trinitarian Christian followers make such a blasphemous claim (to devout Jews) about him.

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              1. That is quite an impression version of the Gish Gallop.
                I’ve tried to educate you regarding a number of biblical passages, concerning what biblical scholarship and biblical experts (including myself) teach about these passages, and you’ve chosen to reject them out of hand.

                Okay. Have a nice day.

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                1. The fact that the divinity of Jesus was still being debated in the FOURTH century is telling evidence that early Christians were not 100% certain that Jesus ever claimed to be God.

                  Church Fathers living one or more centuries after Jesus’ death and 21st century theologians like yourself can guess as to the “hidden meanings” of what Jesus allegedly said but you cannot know for sure. For all we know, all these sayings are inventions of the unknown authors of the Gospels. But my money is on the probability that human beings are NEVER gods, regardless of what they do or do not claim.

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                  1. That is very simplistic thinking. Just because Arius gained a following, the fact is that at the council of Nicaea his teachings were resoundingly condemned, something like 318-5 that Jesus the Son was both human and divine. That is pretty darn certain.

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                    1. The fact that it was even debated is evidence to me that Jesus’ claims were ambiguous at best. But again, why didn’t Mark’s chief priest ask John’s Jesus why he was claiming to be “I AM”?

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                    2. If the vote was 318-5, that’s not really “being debated.” You had a singular priest who went rogue, gained a small following, and then was resoundingly repudiated.

                      I’m not going to bother to try to give you an entire Biblical Studies lesson. I already explained for you what was going on at the trial, and I already pointed out to you two other passages in the Synoptics where Jesus is depicted as doing what only YHWH can do.

                      Your objection is based on a false premise. What you see in the Synoptics is the clear depiction of Jesus as a real human being, the Messiah, but also someone who was more than they expected in a Messiah. He acted in ways that Jews would solely attribute to the actions of God Himself.

                      But no one in their right mind thinks Jesus was walking around Galilee, saying, “Hey everyone! My mother named me Jesus, but my REAL name is YHWH!” That is cartoonish. So, by all means, object to that–say Jesus never did that. You’re right–but the Gospels really don’t claim he did that.

                      That is what we call a VERY STRAWY strawman! lol…

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                    3. So you admit that Jesus never publicly claimed to be “I AM”. The author of John invented this nonsense. The Jews would never have tolerated for one second any Jew claiming to be the “I AM. Thank you.

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                    4. Not all scholars believe that Jesus claimed to be God in the Gospels. Even some modern Roman Catholic scholars doubt this claim:

                      One does not need to plunge very deeply or for very long into the modern literature on Jesus, particularly the modern Catholic literature, in order to sense that something has changed profoundly. Consider one recent but basic Catholic text, A Christological Catechism, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, a leading biblical scholar. Did Jesus claim to be God? Fitzmyer replies: “The Gospels have not so presented that claim…. It is impossible to imagine how such a statement would have been understood.”

                      Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1986/12/who-do-men-say-that-i-am/305710/

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                    5. But then, back to that whole scene where he forgives the sins of the leper, the scribes DID SAY, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mar 2:7 NRS).

                      So…. 😉

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                    6. Catholic priests and Lutheran pastors pronounce the forgiveness of sins every Sunday. They are not claiming to be God.

                      In the passage in Mark, Jesus pronounces the lame man’s sins as forgiven. He doesn’t say, “I forgive you of your sins” he says “your sins are forgiven (by God)”. He then goes on to say “the Son of Man has been given the authority to forgive sins on earth”. Why would God need someone else’s permission (authority) to forgive sins??? Jesus believed that he was God’s very special messenger to humankind. He was the messiah, the “anointed one”, and as all anointed kings of Israel, a “son” of God. Jesus believed that God had given him special powers, just as God had given special powers to prophets in the OT, but Jesus believed that he was more than just a prophet. Jesus believed that as the Messiah he had been given the power to forgive sins. The ability to forgive sins is nowhere to be found in Jewish messianic prophecies. Jesus invented this power. He was delusional, as are most apocalyptic preachers.

                      Admit it, Joel: Jesus never claimed or inferred that he was the God of the Jews. If he had, he would have been stoned on the spot and you know it.

                      Liked by 1 person

  5. You need to stop coming to the Gospels through your Fundamentalist lens.
    1. Yes, I think the Gospel of John is different than the Synoptics. The early Church Fathers called it a more “spiritual” Gospel, in that it was highlighting theological truths in a more creative way.

    The logical thrust of what is presented in Mark 2 is that Jesus is presented as doing something that only God had the authority to do, thus implying he was, on some level, equal to God. But of course it isn’t explicitly stated, “Hey, Jesus is saying he’s YHWH!” There is a certain mystery to it. But, like I said before, any honest reader will see that in the Gospels that Jesus is presented as (A) a real, historical human being, and (B) somehow equal to God as well, hence divine in some way. If you deny that is what the Gospels are presenting, then you aren’t being honest.

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    1. “The Gospels” may present Jesus as equal to God, but the Synoptics definitely do not. John’s Jesus is a fictional character. No Jew would have been allowed to travel around Judea and Galilee claiming to be the “I AM” and get away with it. You still haven’t answered this question: Why didn’t Mark’s chief priest ask John’s Jesus why he was claiming to be “I AM”?

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    2. Either Jesus was not claiming or inferring that he was God or Mark’s chief priest was an idiot.

      In Mark 14 the Sanhedrin is trying to find an accusation against Jesus to put him to death, but “they can’t find one”.

      The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.

      Seriously?? Even if he had only been insinuating that he was God or equal to God, this subject would have been brought up at the trial. It wasn’t. This is proof positive that the author of Mark did not know anything about Jesus claiming to be God. Period.

      And as I pointed out, even some Roman Catholic scholars question whether Jesus ever claimed to be God or inferred he was God in the Synoptics so this isn’t just my “fundamentalist” idea.

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          1. Gary, I’ve answered it ten times already. Because Jesus wasn’t going around Galilee and Judea saying, “Hey everyone! My name is YHWH!”

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            1. In John 8:58, he answered the religious leaders, saying, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This was a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His name to Moses as “I AM.” The reason the religious leaders wanted to kill Him was because Jesus claimed to be God.

              Christian website: https://www.compellingtruth.org/Jesus-I-AM.html

              I agree with you, Joel. Jesus never said to anyone, “I am Yahweh”.

              My question to you, however, is: Even if Jesus didn’t outright claim to be God, but only inferred he was God, as he does frequently in the Gospel of John, in particular in the passage above, why didn’t the high priest (in Mark’s account in Mark chapter 14) bring this issue up in front of the Sanhedrin when they were desperately looking for anything to accuse Jesus of that would warrant killing him?

              All the high priest had to say was, “Jesus of Nazareth, you have said that you existed before Abraham. You have said that you and your father, Yahweh, are one. You have said that you are the “I AM”. By these statements are you inferring that you are God, Yahweh himself??

              Mark’s chief priest and the entire Sanhedrin were either complete idiots for not bringing up John’s Jesus’ many inferences to his divinity or Jesus never made any of these statements, ie, the author of John invented them. So which is it?

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              1. Fascinating. You are taking something in John’s Gospel, which was written circa AD 90, during an entirely different “post-AD 70 setting,” and you are asking why the high priest in Mark’s account of the night time trial before the Sanhedrin (written circa AD 66-70 about Jesus’ trial in AD 30) doesn’t ask Jesus about the details of John’s more creative, spiritual Gospel.

                So here’s my answer to your question. The reason why the high priest in Mark didn’t ask Jesus about the details of John’s Gospel is because the high priest didn’t have a Delorean and didn’t travel to the future to read John’s Gospel in AD 90, and then (obviously) didn’t travel back to AD 30 to ask Jesus about what John wrote. 😉

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                1. Excellent! So you agree that Jesus, during his lifetime, never said:

                  Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

                  I and the Father are one.

                  Either Jesus said these things, but at his trial before the Sanhedrin, the chief priest and all the Jewish leaders amazingly forgot about these shocking inferences of divinity, or, Jesus did not say these things; these statements are literary/theological inventions of the author of the Gospel of John. It is one or the other, Joel. Which is it?

                  There is no possible way that the Sanhedrin “couldn’t find any valid accusation against him” if Jesus had truly made these statements. If Jesus made these two statements, any Jew would instantly realize he was claiming to be God.

                  The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.
                  Mark 14

                  Liked by 1 person

    3. Wow! This statement truly sums up the whole Christian story … There is a certain mystery to it. And because most everyone loves a mystery, it’s no wonder Christianity is a hit among the populace. 😄

      Liked by 2 people

    4. @ Joel
      If I may?
      In essence then, it is not implied that the character, Jesus of Nazareth is Yahweh, only that he is apparently doing things that Yahweh would do.
      This leaves the door open enough for one to believe Jesus could have been given permission to perform such acts on behalf of Yahweh, yes?

      Out of interest, Joel, do you believe Jesus of Nazareth is Yahweh?

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  6. Joel’s comments make me feel like the things Jesus said and did are just cooked up from the gospel writers’ imaginations. But then why pay any more attention to these stories than we give to the Koran or the Book of Mormon – books that, I’m sure most here would agree, were just products of deluded peoples’ imaginations who thought god was talking to them

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    1. [the Gospel of John is a] more creative, spiritual Gospel

      What does that mean? To me it means that the author of John “created” material, which is another way of saying he “invented” material. But the problem for moderate Christians like Dr. Joel Edmund Anderson is: Which parts of the Gospel of John are “creative” and which parts are factual? Answer: There is no way to know for sure!

      The Gospels are NOT reliable sources of historical information.

      No one should believe in the historicity of a once in history dead corpse reanimation based on “creatively” written ancient texts.

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  7. I just noticed your comment on my blog “Trinity Notes” today.

    You wrote: //Why didn’t the high priest in the Gospel of Mark accuse Jesus of claiming to be God…//

    First off, I would recommend your read my blogpost titled “Markan Christology” where I systematically go through the Gospel of Mark and show that the author intends on portraying Jesus as Yahweh.

    Markan Christology:
    https://trinitynotes.blogspot.com/2014/03/markan-christology.html

    To answer your question directly, Jesus did claim to be God in Mark 14:62. That’s the most likely reason why Jesus was accused of blasphemy and condemned to death. It wasn’t a capital offense to merely claim to be the messiah. According to the Gospel of Mark [GMark], Jesus said [Mark 14:62]:

    “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

    Jesus used the phrase “I am” [ego eimi] which could have been interpreted as a claim to absolute deity. See James White’s article here:

    “Purpose and Meaning of “Ego Eimi” in the Gospel of John In Reference to the Deity of Christ”
    https://www.aomin.org/aoblog/1990/01/01/purpose-and-meaning-of-ego-eimi-in-the-gospel-of-john/

    John 9:9, ἐγὼ εἰμί, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) by Edward Dalcour
    https://christiandefense.org/trinity/john-99-and-the-jws/

    The phrase ego eimi is also used by Jesus in Mark 6:50 in a context that’s clearly theophanic. Meaning, in the style of the divine theophanies in the Old Testament. See Brant Pitre’s videos I like to here where he PROVES it:

    Brant Pitre on the Divinity of Jesus Revealed When He Walked On Water
    https://trinitynotes.blogspot.com/2021/05/brant-pitre-on-divinity-of-jesus.html

    Moreover, Jesus’ self-reference to being the “Son of Man” and “coming with the clouds of heaven” is a CLEAR reference to Dan. 7:13-14. Where there are two divine figures featured. The Ancient of Days, and “one like a son of man”. The reason why the “Son of Man” is a divine figure is because He rides the clouds. In Semitic cultures only the gods did that. Notice too that this person is not only described as divine, but also like “a son of man.” Meaning, like a human being. For more on this, see my blogpost here:

    The Meaning of the term “Son of Man”
    https://trinitynotes.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-meaning-of-term-son-of-man.html

    CONTINUED BELOW

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    1. According to the Gospel of Mark [GMark], Jesus said [Mark 14:62]: “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Jesus used the phrase “I am” [ego eimi] which could have been interpreted as a claim to absolute deity.

      How does anyone know what Jesus said at his trial before the Sanhedrin? The Gospel authors do not indicate that his disciples were present. So who recorded this event? Who carefully dictated Jesus’ choice of words and passed it on to the anonymous author of Mark?? This brings up another important issue which contributed to my decision to abandon Christianity: Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions! Christian assume that the conversation between Jesus and the high priest is historical but it is entirely possible that it is a theological invention of the author.

      And your interpretation that Jesus used the Greek words for “I am” is preposterous. Do you really believe that Jesus and the high priest were speaking to each other in Greek? Highly unlikely. Christians read all kinds of interpretations into Jesus’ alleged statements. Another Christian scholar commenting on this passage said that the high priest tore his clothes because Jesus inferred that he (the high priest) was as evil as the Greek ruler who had defiled the Temple a couple hundred years earlier. You guys are just guessing what Jesus meant, based on statements that you cannot be certain Jesus even said!

      Like

  8. CONTINUED FROM ABOVE:

    //…if the Jesus depicted in the Gospel of John was telling crowds on numerous occasions that he was God?//

    About half of the Gospel of John [GJohn] is dedicated to Jesus last few days, near the end of His life, at Jerusalem and usually under private settings. While the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark and Luke] focus in Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee. For most of Jesus’ ministry He kept His messiahship veiled. Preferring to declare His messiahship by His deeds rather than His words. Saving the words for the end of His ministry. Scholars call this the “Messianic Secret.” See the wikipedia article on the Messianic Secret.

    If Jesus kept His messiahship a secret during most of His ministry, then if He were God [the 2nd person of the Trinity], then He would all the more kept His divinity a secret. And as a matter of fact, in virtually all the places in GJohn were Jesus declares His Divinity, it’s still veiled in some sense. He’s hinting at it much more strongly than in the Synoptics, but it’s still not perfectly clear to His original audience, even though it’s meant to be clear to the readers of the Gospel. If Jesus revealed His divinity openly and overtly at the very start of His ministry, He would have been sentenced to death too early in God’s plan (especially given the prophecy in Dan. 9 about the timing of the public manifestation of the Messiah). See also, Messianic Jew Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s lectures on the Messiah and how He was supposed to declare His messiahship first by deeds here:

    The Jewish Life of Christ by Arnold Fruchtenbaum [21 lectures in mp3]
    https://www.deanbibleministries.org/bible-class-listing/messages/series/the-jewish-life-of-christ

    I read a bit of your story and I have to say that you jumped the gun in rejecting Christianity. You appeal to Bart Ehrman for one of your reasons for apostacizing. Yet, as has been noted by many apologists, there are two Barts. There’s the scholarly Bart, and the popularizer Bart. The Bart who writes for scholars is much more precise and careful with his words. While, the popularizer Bart is less careful and more prone to hyperbole.

    Also, Bart’s expertise is in textual criticism. Historical Jesus studies isn’t his forte. This is dramatically exposed by William Lane Craig’s demonstrations of how Ehrman misunderstand, misdefines and misapplies the various “Criteria of Authenticity.” See Craig’s excellent lecture Here [for some strange reason cut into 6 smaller parts]:

    William Lane Craig Describing Various Criteria of Authenticity and How Bart Ehrman Incorrectly Defines and Applies Them:
    IN SIX SHORT VIDEOS:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zANl-OcPnfI&list=PLshImU6jwhvz77QRcIo1HkBnZLIW0pMT1

    See Robert Bowman’s appraisal of Bart Ehrman’s views regarding the historical Jesus and his divinity Here:
    https://youtu.be/olN438NUZAw

    BTW, Ehrman NOW thinks all four Gospels teaching Jesus is Divine in some (differing) senses. He says that in his debate with Justin Bass. See James White’s commentary where he plays Ehrman video statement here:
    https://youtu.be/K5v4Se83Sr0?t=18m48s

    See links to more responses to Bart Ehrman in my blogpost here:
    https://misclane.blogspot.com/2013/05/resources-responding-to-bart-ehrman.html

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    1. Thank you for your detailed response.

      If Jesus really was God, why all the cat and mouse games about his identity? Bottom line: Jesus does not clearly and without ambiguity claim that he is God in the Synoptics…at any time…even at the end in Jerusalem. John’s Gospels involves a much higher christology. This is evidence of an evolving view of Jesus’ divinity.

      I left Christianity after evaluating the many inconsistencies and false claims in the Bible, not just because of a couple of books by Bart Ehrman. Some of these inconsistencies and false claims are:

      –the lack of archaeological evidence for the Exodus, an event Jesus believed was historical.
      –the evolving concept of an afterlife in the OT.
      –the fact that the NT authors used a Greek translation of the OT when writing their books and claiming fulfilled prophecies, a Greek translation which blatantly distorted the original Hebrew meaning in many passages.
      –the alleged OT prophecies about Jesus are all disputed. Jewish Bible scholars can provide good arguments that the passages in question are not talking about Jesus.
      –the fact that two and maybe three of the Gospel authors massively plagiarized the first.
      –the inconsistency of the accounts of the location of Jesus’ appearances to his male disciples.
      –not one single non-Christian recorded the (alleged) fantastical feats of Jesus. Jesus allegedly performed more and greater miracles than all of the OT prophets combined yet only four Christian authors recorded these events. This is strong evidence these events never happened. They are theological/literary embellishments, a common feature in ancient literature.
      –the fact that a significant percentage of NT scholars doubt the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels
      –Eyewitness accounts of people seeing a walking/talking resurrected Jesus is the best evidence Christians have for the central claim of their holy book—the resurrection of Jesus—but these alleged eyewitness accounts are disputed. Disputed eyewitness accounts for an event which allegedly happened 20 centuries ago is NOT good evidence.
      –and more…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I just realized that I missed commenting on some of your statements. I’m writing up my response now and will add it to my blogpost when I’m finished. Your statements that I didn’t respond to are the following:

          //If Jesus really was God, why all the cat and mouse games about his identity? Bottom line: Jesus does not clearly and without ambiguity claim that he is God in the Synoptics…at any time…even at the end in Jerusalem. John’s Gospels involves a much higher christology. This is evidence of an evolving view of Jesus’ divinity.//

          I’m working on my response right now.

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            1. You definitely put a lot of work into your posts and comments, James. I have to compliment you for that.

              Since the first day I expressed doubts about the core claims of Christianity in early 2014, Christians have told me that my doubts are due to not having a full understanding of Christian teaching; not being sufficiently well read in Christian scholarship and theology. To counter these claims, I read the following books (from the home page on my blog):

              Welcome! This blog describes my personal journey from conservative Christianity to a non-supernaturalist world view. Below is a list of books by scholars, Christian apologists, and by former Christians and other skeptics that I have read on the subject of Christianity and in particular, the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe it is important to be familiar with the positions of both Christians and skeptics on these issues. I would encourage all Christians and all skeptics to read these works. Highlighted titles have been quoted or reviewed, by me, on this blog:

              “The Resurrection of the Son of God” by NT Wright
              “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” by Richard Bauckham
              “The Death of the Messiah, Volumes I and II” by Raymond Brown
              “Making the Case for Christianity” by Maas, Francisco, et al.
              “The Resurrection Fact” by Bombaro, Francisco, et al.
              “Miracles, Volumes I and II”, by Craig Keener
              “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona
              “Why are There Differences in the Gospels” by Michael Licona
              “The Son Rises” by William Lane Craig
              “The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus” by Raymond Brown
              “The Resurrection of Jesus” by Gerd Luedemann
              “Resurrection Reconsidered” by Gregory Riley
              “John and Thomas—Gospels in Conflict?” by Christopher Skinner
              “The Argument for the Holy Sepulchre” (journal article) by scholar Jerome Murphy-O’Connor
              “Israel in Egypt” by James Hoffmeier
              “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman
              “The Resurrection of Jesus in the Light of Jewish Burial Practices“ by Craig Evans, (newsletter article) The City, a publication of Houston Baptist University, May 4, 2016
              “Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered?” by Jodi Magness, SBL Forum
              “Genre, Sub-genre and Questions of Audience: A Proposed Typology for Greco-Roman biography” (article) by Justin M. Smith, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
              “Cold-Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace
              “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel
              “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman
              “Jesus, Interrupted” by Bart Ehrman
              “How Jesus Became God” by Bart Ehrman
              “Jesus Before the Gospels” by Bart Ehrman
              “Did Jesus Exist?” by Bart Ehrman
              “Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus” by Asher Norman (endorsed by Talmudic scholars for its accuracy in presenting a Jewish perspective of Jesus and the Christian New Testament)
              “The Book of Miracles” by Kenneth L. Woodward
              “Why I Believed, Reflections of a Former Missionary” by Kenneth W. Daniels
              “Why Evolution is True” by biologist Jerry Coyne
              “Masters of the Planet-the Search for our Human Origins” by Ian Tattersall
              “A Manual for Creating Atheists” by philosopher Peter Boghossian
              “Can We Trust the Gospels?” by Peter Williams
              “The Outsider Test for Faith” by John W. Loftus
              “God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion by physicist Victor J. Stenger
              “Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be The Only Humans on Earth” by paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer
              “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by evangelical apologists Josh and Sean McDowell
              “The Case Against Miracles” edited by John Loftus
              “The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry” by Jewish author, Michael Alter
              “The Blind Watchmaker” by biologist Richard Dawkins
              “The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus from Outside the New Testament” by Bart Ehrman and Zlatko Plese (currently reading)
              “The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine
              “Conversations With My Inner Atheist” by evangelical theologian Randal Rauser
              Lord or Legend? Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma by Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy

              And guess what Christian apologists say now? Answer: You haven’t read ENOUGH Christian literature!

              I have come to the conclusion that Christians will never be satisfied with my level of knowledge of Christian teaching…until I convert back to Christianity! There is always one more book that I must read to be fully informed.

              Baloney.

              How many books have most Christian apologists read on Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, and every other world religion before dismissing the supernatural claims of these religions as nonsense with a simple wave of the hand? I would venture to bet most of them. And I agree with them! I don’t need to read one Mormon book to know that Mormon supernatural claims are nonsense. I don’t need to read one Muslim book to know that Muslim supernatural claims are nonsense. And the same for Hinduism, etc.. And I don’t need to read one, single Christian book to know that the supernatural claims of Christianity are nonsense. Why? Because the evidence that the supernatural operates in our universe is piss poor! The only evidence that the supernatural operates in our universe comes from superstitious theists! For some odd reason, the supernatural does not like performing in front of non-supernaturalists (atheists)!

              Your religious beliefs are a comforting delusion, James. Abandon them for the good of all humankind. A world without superstitions would be so much safer and healthier. Take care, James.

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