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New Judean Cult Promotes Ritual Cannibalism!

Preuters News Agency

Rome, 11 July, 64 CE

Reports are coming in from all over the empire of a new religious cult which practices mock cannibalism. The cult originated in Judea during the reign of Pontius Pilate but over the last three decades has spread to Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and is now here in Rome. The cult’s beliefs center around the worship of their deceased leader, one Jesus of Galilee, a convicted criminal executed by Pilate for sedition against Caesar Tiberius. His followers refer to him as “the Christ”, a god, who three days after his public execution allegedly rose from the dead, appeared in a supernaturally-empowered body to some of his followers, and currently sits on a golden throne somewhere beyond the stars and planets. Some in the cult claim this “Christ” to be the creator of the universe!

The primary ritual of this cult is to participate in a mock act of cannibalism. During the ritual, a solemn, magical incantation is said over a plate of ordinary bread and a cup of ordinary wine which the cult members believe are instantaneously transformed into the actual flesh and blood of their dear departed leader. Once the magical incantation has ended, cult members feast on what they believe to be their leader’s body and blood. They believe that they drink “his blood” and eat “his flesh” for the forgiveness of their “sins”. Cult members believe that the blood of their leader, shed on a Roman cross of execution, channels mystical powers which appease the righteous anger of the Judean god, Yahweh, who will then grant them eternal life.

Human sacrifice and cannibalism were outlawed in the Roman Empire by a senatorial decree in 97 BCE.

Is this cult simply a collection of misfits and unstable, superstitious minds from the poorer classes or is this movement something much more nefarious? Is this cult a cover for an uprising against Rome?

Their central message is: “Repent. The new kingdom is at hand!”

Do these “Christians” seek to replace the civilized Greco-Roman culture with the backward, savage practices of their barbarian ancestors?

Is Rome in danger? Roman officials across the Empire are deeply concerned.

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The Creator is Dead

I agree with theists that there appears to be sufficient evidence to reasonably believe that our universe was created by an intelligent being:

–the orderliness of the universe

–the inviolable laws of physics

–the existence of a human conscience

–a common set of moral standards found in most if not all human cultures

But there also appears to be very good evidence that our Creator is dead:

–massive, ongoing, horrific, human and animal suffering. It is inconceivable to me that a creator who gave us a conscience and basic moral standards would allow millions of human beings, including millions of innocent little children, to suffer unspeakable suffering, day after day, year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia.

–prayers to “God” seem to be no more effective than wishful thinking/chance.

Yes, dear theists. Our universe was quite likely created by an intelligent creator, but the evidence strongly indicates that our creator is dead.

Yes, God is dead.

Accept the facts, theists, and move one.

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The Bible: How Can Modern People Revere a Book Which Condones Slavery?

 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment, for the slave is the owner’s property.

–Exodus 21:20

Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offence had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrection by such slave, and unless such death should happen by accident in giving such slave moderate correction.

—Constitution of the State of Georgia, 1798

The topic of slavery is one that makes us uncomfortable, and yet it comes up time and time again in discussions about morality and the God of the Bible. We would do well—whether as a believer or atheist—to understand what the Bible actually says about the practice of slavery, rather than building our conclusions and positions on faulty arguments or apologetics. Slavery was indeed endorsed in the Old Testament and the New Testament did not condemn its practice. The Old Testament laws concerning slavery were not so different from those in the antebellum South, which should give us pause; we must remember the atrocities that transpired prior to the Civil War.

–Dr. Joshua Bowen, The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1, p. 320

Dr. Bowen holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Assyriology and minored in Hebrew Bible. In addition, he specializes in the Summerian language. He has been awarded the American Fullbright Scholarship as well as the German Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) Scholarship. In addition Dr. Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University, a Master of Theology in the Old Testament from Capital Bible Seminary, and a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from The John Hopkins University. Prior to entering academia, Joshua was a chaplain in the US Air Force. Once a fundamentalist Christian, he now identifies as an atheist.

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Failed Bible Prophecies: Nebuchadnezzar Did Not Destroy Tyre

The ancient city of Tyre

 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnez′zar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against it. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnez′zar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth[e] and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his recompense for which he labored, because they worked for me, says the Lord God. –Ezekiel 29:17-20

Gary: Ask any Christian apologist for evidence of the validity of Christianity and they will invariably respond: the amazing accuracy of OT prophecies. These apologists will often add: Not one single OT prophecy has not been fulfilled.

They are wrong.

Ezekiel prophesied that the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar would wipe the city of Tyre off the map. It never happened. Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Tyre but could not breach its walls. The amazing thing is—Ezekiel even admitted his failed prophecy! What was his excuse? Answer: He prophesied that God would make it up to Nebuchadnezzar with the plunder of Egypt. But guess what? That prophecy too failed!

Of course the greatest failed prophecy of the Bible is Jesus’ failure to return to earth as he (allegedly) promised. Come one, Christians! It’s been TWO THOUSAND years! He ain’t comin’ back.

The evidence is overwhelming: The Bible is NOT the inerrant word of an all-knowing god. It is an ancient text containing a mix of historical facts, legend, superstition, religious propaganda, and outright fiction.

The original prophecy against Tyre, Ezekiel 26:

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar[b] king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. 10 His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the warhorses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. 11 The hooves of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. 13 I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.

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Bible Errors: No Philistines in Canaan During the Time of the Patriarchs and Moses

EventDate
Creation4004 BC
The Flood2348 BC
Tower of Babel2246 BC
Abraham1996 BC
Joseph1745 BC
Moses and the Exodus1491 BC
David1085 BC
Monarchy Divides975 BC
Assyrian Destruction of Israel722 BC
Babylonian Captivity of Judah586 BC
Jesus4 BC
Biblical Timeline from Answers in Genesis website

(Some moderate Christians date the Exodus to circa 1270 BCE)

Having examined the evidence relevant to identifying the origin of the Philistines, several conclusions may be drawn. First much of the evidence, both textual and archaeological, appears to indicate an Aegean origin for the Philistines. The textual sources identify the Aegean region generally, or Crete specifically. …[E]vidence from Cyprus points to the Philistines temporarily residing on the island, finally reaching the shores of Palestine…at the end of the Late Bronze Age, around 1200 BCE. [Therefore,] the Biblical portrayal of Philistines having inhabited the land of Canaan for many centuries as seen in the book of Genesis is not in line with archaeology.

–Dr. Joshua Bowen, Doctor of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies, in his book, The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, pp. 155-156

Gary: If the consensus of archaeologists is correct, the following events mentioned in the Bible did not happen (they are legendary fiction!):

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. –Genesis 26:1

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. –Genesis 26:18

If one looks at the biblical timeline above, Isaac was (allegedly) born circa 1900 BCE. Archaeologists say that the Philistines did not arrive in Palestine until approximately 1200 BCE. That is almost 700 years later! How is it, then, that Isaac met with a king of the Philistines in the Canaanite city of Gerar seven hundred years before the Philistines had even set foot in Palestine???

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not [through] the way of the land of the Philistines, although that [was] near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: –Exodus 13:17

Good grief. Didn’t Yahweh know in circa 1400 BCE (according to the timeline above) that there were no Philistines in Palestine at that time?? How could an all-knowing god make such a major historical screw-up? Just think: If Yahweh had known that there were no Philistines along the coast of Canaan in 1400 BCE, he could have let the Israelites go directly to Palestine from Goshen (a trip that would have required only a couple of days time), instead of having them walking in circles in the Sinai desert for years on end! Oy veh!

*Dr. Bowen holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Assyriology and minored in Hebrew Bible. In addition, he specializes in the Summerian language. He was awarded the American Fullbright Scholarship as well as the German Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) Scholarship. In addition Dr. Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University, a Master of Theology in the Old Testament from Capital Bible Seminary, and a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from The John Hopkins University. Prior to entering academia, Joshua was a chaplain in the US Air Force. Once a fundamentalist Christian, he now identifies as an atheist.

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Bible Errors: Canaanites Did Not Practice Child Sacrifice

Abraham prepares a human sacrifice

Do not hold back from your harvest and your wine vat. The firstborn of your sons you will give me. Thus you will do with your oxen and sheep: seven days it will be with its mother, and on the eighth day you will give him to me –Exodus 22:29-30

As we saw in the section above, we have a fair amount of evidence that helps us understand Canaanite culture from the 2nd millennium BCE, the period described in the Old Testament as one of gross immorality and child sacrifice. The land of Canaan—during the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BCE)—was firmly under the control of the Egyptians and does not reflect the descriptions of the Canaanites given in the Old Testament. More specifically, however, the archaeological evidence that we have for child sacrifice does not come from the 2nd millennium, but from the middle and latter portions of the 1st millennium BCE. The evidence itself also does not come from the land of Canaan, but from Carthage and the Punic colonies. Thus, we have no solid evidence of child sacrifice in Canaan proper [during the time period of the alleged “Conquest of Canaan” as described in the Bible].

Finally, we saw that, while child sacrifice was very likely performed sporadically during the 1st millennium, it was not only practiced by the Canaanites, but also by the Israelites. These child sacrifices were offered to Yahweh, not to other deities. In short, the depictions of the Canaanites presented in passages like Leviticus 18 and 20 do not reflect historical reality and clearly functioned as a form of anti-Canaanite propaganda.

–Dr. Joshua Bowen, The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1, pp. 137-138

Dr. Bowen holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Assyriology and minored in Hebrew Bible. In addition, he specializes in the Summerian language. He has been awarded the American Fullbright Scholarship as well as the German Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) Scholarship. In addition Dr. Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University, a Master of Theology in the Old Testament from Capital Bible Seminary, and a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from The John Hopkins University. Prior to entering academia, Joshua was a chaplain in the US Air Force. Once a fundamentalist Christian, he now identifies as an atheist.

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Early Christians Would Never Have Allowed Legends into Their Oral Stories…Unless They Were Catholics!

Thanks to my reader “Epicurus” for pointing out this information in a comment on a previous post.

Any one who has spent any time debating evangelical Christian apologists regarding the evidence for the alleged resurrection of Jesus knows that one of their primary arguments is:

Ancient Mediterranean cultures had very strong traditions regarding oral stories. The accuracy of their oral stories was strictly maintained. Therefore, it is virtually impossible that the first century Mediterranean cultures in which the Jesus Story developed would have allowed fictional or legendary embellishments to creep into his story. Christians can have high confidence in the historical accuracy of the Jesus Story.

But ask the same evangelical Christian apologists about the accuracy of Roman Catholic oral stories from the same Mediterranean cultures in the same early centuries of the Common Era and you will get the following answer:

Roman Catholic oral traditions cannot be trusted. They include all kinds of silly superstitious nonsense and legend.

So if we put it all together: People in ancient Mediterranean cultures strictly maintained the accuracy of their oral stories …unless they were Catholics…then all bets are off for the accuracy of their oral stories.

Catholic apologist Trent Horn pointed out this evangelical/Protestant double standard on his website:

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Most Trumpers and Evangelical Christians Don’t Care About Evidence

I watched some of the January 6th Congressional hearing today. It was amazing to see so many Trump appointed Republican officials present massive amounts of evidence that Donald Trump knew he had lost the election and knew that the claims of voter fraud were false—yet few minds on the Right have changed. Many don’t even want to watch or listen!

Why?

If your entire world revolves around a belief, a belief to which you are deeply emotionally attached; a belief which your “gut” tells you must be true—no amount of evidence is going to change your mind.

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Similarities Between the Resurrection and The Big Lie

Christian apologists tell us that there is no way that the Resurrection Story is a legend. According to these “experts”, legends take many, many years to develop. The time period between Jesus’ death and the writing of the Gospels was too short for legendary material (fiction) to creep into the story. In addition, they say, the living eyewitnesses would have refuted any fictional material and stopped the circulation of (false) legends in their tracks.

Yet today, in an era of instant communication, we see the development of legends (false stories) develop all the time. Bill and Hillary Clinton run a pedophile ring based out of a pizza parlor in suburban Washington DC. And of course there is the Big Lie: that Donald Trump won the 2020 election when even Republican secretaries of state deny that he did.

The truth is: Human beings believe what they want to believe. They will even create tall tales (legends) to support their wishful thinking.

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