Unlike Pagan Texts, the Bible Has No Mythological Creatures. Wrong!

Angels: Cherubim • Paul the Poke

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

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Liberal Bible Scholar Explains Why His More Nuanced Version of Christianity is Rational

The Evidence For Jesus' Resurrection, Part 5: Fact (3) The Postmortem  Appearances To The Disciples

Jeff Siker, New Testament scholar: …[Referring to his training at Yale] In retrospect I would say that increasingly I came to see my understanding of biblical interpretation as a conversation between the biblical authors and modern faith in seeking to discern God’s presence and the leading of God’s Spirit in both personal faith and the life of the church.

Why do I still believe, even knowing the same historical-critical information that Bart [Ehrman] knows?  I think there are several reasons.  First, I never felt betrayed or lied-to by the church in the way that Bart did about the nature of the Bible.  Second, my educational experience – while conservative – was not fundamentalist.  Third, I was able to shift from a literal reading of the biblical text and the Christian story to a critical reading of the biblical text and Christian story in a way that did not shatter my faith, but deepened it.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, whereas Bart’s view of human suffering calls into question the very notion of a loving God (and understandably so), my own view of human suffering does not see God as the problem (God as either powerless or uncaring).  Instead, for reasons that are difficult to pin down, I am most struck by what I experience as the graciousness of God.  In the end my faith rests on the firm belief in a God who brings life from death, possibility from impossibility. …In light of [Jesus’] ministry I believe that we are called to embrace human suffering with the hope and faith that God will transform such an embrace into new life.

Gary: If today, 500 villagers in a remote area of a Third World country claim to have received an appearance by a dead person at the same time and place, would you believe them? I doubt it. You would most likely chalk up their experience to their gullible, superstitious imaginations. Yet you believe two thousand year old texts written by anonymous authors, whom the majority of scholars do not believe were eyewitnesses, alleging the very same thing.

Is that rational?

On the topic of global, massive human suffering: If your all-knowing, all-powerful god exists, he allows 17,000 children under the age of five to starve to death each and every day. If a human ruler behaved in such a way, would you continue to respect this person, let alone love and worship him?

You may be extremely intelligent and educated, but you are not using good critical thinking skills in this one, very important area of your life. Abandon your comforting superstitions, my friend. Embrace rational thinking.

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Christians Deny that Christianity has Pagan Origins. They are Wrong.

The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity | The Great Courses  Plus

Christian apologists scoff when critics accuse Christianity of having pagan origins. These apologists insist that Christianity is purely of Jewish origin. They are wrong.

No where in the Jewish Scriptures is a human being considered a god. No where in Jewish Scriptures is there any unambiguous statement that the messiah is a god and most definitely there is no unambiguous statement in the Hebrew Scriptures that a human being can be the creator god, Yahweh. Any Christian claims that such prophecies exist in the Jewish Scriptures are blatant ad hoc re-interpretations of the text, desperate attempts to shoe-horn a pagan concept into Judaism.

The idea that a first century peasant can be a god, and in particular, the creator god, Yahweh, is pagan. Period.

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Sorry, Christians. Belief that a First Century Peasant is the Creator of the Universe is Irrational.

BEAUTIFUL JESUS CHRIST PORTRAIT POSTER PICTURE PHOTO PRINT mormon christian 3861

Christian apologists love to talk on and on and on about the rationality of belief in Intelligent Design.

So what!

I don’t question the rationality of belief in Intelligent Design (the existence of a Creator). Since cosmologists and other scientific experts have not reached a consensus on this issue, I do not see generic theism (deism) as irrational. But I what I do find irrational is belief that a first century peasant, a human being, is that Creator.

Come on, folks! Use your brains.

Christians will retort: “Millions of highly educated, very intelligent, scientists, lawyers, doctors, and engineers believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator of the universe, so how can you say that such belief is irrational?”

That is a logical fallacy, my Christian friends!

Just because a lot of intelligent people believe the supernatural claims of the dominant religion in their culture does not make such belief rational.

I’m sure Christians would agree that just because millions of highly educated, very intelligent Muslim scientists, lawyers, doctors, and engineers believe that the prophet Mohammad flew on a winged horse into heaven (outer space) does not make that claim more believable or rational.

News alert: Human beings are not gods!

Human beings do not have supernatural powers. Stories about human beings performing supernatural acts like flying on winged horses, walking on water, or coming back from the dead are tall tales! They are stories. They are not real.

Think rationally, my Christian friends. Abandon your superstitions.

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NT Wright Agrees that the Greek Word “Ophthe” Can Mean to See in a Vision

Paul's Vision of Jesus — Latter Day Light

Vision or reality?

New Testament scholar NT Wright, in his book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, pp. 322-323:

But it is not enough for Paul, or the early tradition, simply to declare that the Messiah was in fact raised.  Witnesses must come forward:

and that he was seen by/appeared to Cephas, then the Twelve, then he was seen by/appeared to more than five hundred members of the family at one time, of whom most remain alive to this present day, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he was seen by/appeared to James, then by all the apostles.

As this carefully ambiguous translation shows, the verb ophthe, occurring three times here, and then again with reference to Paul in verse 8, can in principle be translated either way.  Some, wanting to stress the ‘visionary’ nature of the appearances, and hence to insert the thin end of a wedge with which to force a ‘non-objective’ understanding of Easter, have emphasized the meaning ‘appeared to’ may be marginally preferable.  However, the verb is passive, and its normal meaning would be ‘was seen by’.

The use of ophthe is in fact quite varied, as a glance at the LXX concordance will show.  The word occurs 85 times, of which a little over half refer either to YHWH, or YHWH’s glory, or an angel of YHWH, appearing to people.  The remaining 39 occurrences refer to people appearing before YHWH in the sense of presenting themselves in the Temple, or to objects being seen by people in a straightforward, non-visionary sense; and to people ‘appearing’, in a non-visionary and unsurprising way, before someone else.  The classical background does not give much more help; the passive of the verb is not found in Homer, and the usage elsewhere more or less mirrors what we have seen in the LXX.  It is in fact impossible to build a theory of what people thought Jesus’ resurrection appearances consisted of (i.e. whether they were ‘objective’, ‘subjective’, or whatever—these terms themselves, with their many philosophical overtones, are not particularly helpful) on this word alone.  The word is quite consistent with people having non-objective ‘visions’; it is equally consistent with them seeing someone in the ordinary course of human affairs.  Its meaning in the present context—both its meaning for Paul, and its meaning in the tradition he quotes—must be judged on wider criteria than linguistic usage alone.

Gary:  Very interesting.  So when our English Bibles say that Jesus “appeared” to Cephas, etc., we cannot be sure just from this passage whether it infers a vision or a real ‘sighting’.

I wonder if Rev. Wright will explain why this ancient Christian “formula” or creed lists the order of Jesus resurrection “appearances” very differently than those recorded in the Gospels.  None of the Gospel accounts say that Cephas was the first to receive an appearance (the word ‘then’ that follows mention of Cephas  infers that there is a chronological order being presented).  Even if we limit the post-resurrection appearances to the male disciples of Jesus, this order is not consistent with the Gospels.

Also, if Paul is simply reciting a Creed composed by earlier Christians, how do know that Paul knew for sure that some of the witnesses were still living if this was simply part of a Creed?  Paul explicitly states that this is information which he had received from someone else.  Nowhere in this passage does Paul state that he has met and conversed with witnesses to the resurrected Jesus.

Not quoted above but an interesting point:  Rev. Wright poo-poos the criticism by skeptics that Paul does not mention an ’empty tomb’ in this passage.  He asserts that “being buried” infers a tomb and the statement that “he was raised” infers the tomb was found empty.  He gives the comparison that if one says that he is going to walk down the street, you do not need to clarify by adding “on my feet”.  It is assumed that you will be walking down the street on your feet.  I have to agree with him on this point.  That fact that Paul does not mention an empty tomb in this passage is immaterial.  However, the fact that Paul never mentions an empty tomb in any of his epistles is another matter altogether!

Imagine a modern day pastor never mentioning the empty tomb.

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Who is More Vindictive, Jesus or Yahweh?

Les Feldick Bible Study - Daily Online Video Bible Study | Jesus, Jesus  loves, Jesus loves you

And yet, I must say – I must admit – that the Old Testament is better than the New. In the Old Testament, when God had a man dead, he let him alone. When he saw him quietly in his grave he was satisfied. The muscles relaxed, and the frown gave place to a smile.

But in the New Testament the trouble commences at death. In the New Testament God is to wreak his revenge forever and ever. It was reserved for one who said, “Love your enemies,” to tear asunder the veil between time and eternity and fix the horrified gaze of man upon the gulfs of eternal fire.

–Robert Ingersoll

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Sorry, But Christmas Never Happened!

Santa Jesus - YM Sidekick

I encourage every Christian to spend this Christmas Eve reading the two Birth Narratives in Matthew and Luke, side by side. No unbiased person can read these two stories and believe that they are talking about the birth of the same child.

Christmas never happened, folks. These stories are ancient tall tales.

Enjoy the holiday. Have a glass of eggnog! But please, stop telling your children that Santa Jesus is real.

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Holy Moly! Jesus Appears in Chicago!

Thousands of very sincere Pentecostal Christians claim that Jesus has appeared to them. You can find their claims all over the internet and on Youtube. Yet, most educated (non-Pentecostal) Christians think these people are ignorant NUT JOBS! So why in the world do these educated Christians believe similar hysteria-induced claims from the first century??

Just watch the ignorant nonsense that occurs in this video. It should make every educated Christian ashamed and embarrassed to be associated with this ancient superstition-based belief system.

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