Which was made all the funnier when Goodasyou effortlessly destroyed the pious little pussies with this here response.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Which was made all the funnier when Goodasyou effortlessly destroyed the pious little pussies with this here response.
Monday, April 13, 2009
When I started this blog I did so out of frustration. There were two facts that just would not stop bugging me and which I felt somebody ought to do something about. The first was the entirely cheering thought that every single fact discovered of the last three centuries of Biblical scholarship, archeology and history has added another reason to distrust and dismiss the Bible. The second is the infuriating fact that every time this is pointed out to a Christian, the Christian will simply lie, then leverage, then when the Atheist is wondering if they’ve run mad will leverage their lie into a patronizing hominy about how the power
of Christ has enabled them to see past the fact that you’re an ill educated jerk.
This is how just about every debate between a believer and a sane person I’ve ever seen has ended. However, there was and is one ray of hope, which is that Christians, in spite of their love for imaginary friends, are not the most imaginative lot and so tend to get their lies prepackaged by those who lie for a living. Thus I thought if one were to catalogue and respond to these lies, the debates might actually start getting somewhere. What I had failed to consider is that beneath every Christian lie, is another lie supporting it, and probably another under that, all the way down.
This was brought home to me yesterday when some jabbering half backed bible thumper over on Ray’s blog (I would link but feel he gets far too much traffic as it is) wrote the following:
Greetings Mr. Comfort in the NAME which is above every name,
i've got to make this Post short as i need to finalize my message for tomorrow morning.
the other day, i followed the suggestion of one of the atheist Posters and eventually listened to all eight parts of the NZ debate.
i know when one debates one does not always take the time to correct every error in an opponents opening argument (the argument takes ~20min, but to refute each erroneous statement generally takes much more time). also, it's clear that your purpose was to present a clear Gospel presentation. something which you certainly did to the praise of His glory. may the Lord continue to bless you richly, brother.
however, for the sake of the atheists here, i'll take just a few moments to explain how utterly uninformed your opponent (Mr. Tyler-Smith, if my "old-timers" let's me recall it correctly) was on just one of the many things he really messed up on. if he were in my class, he would still be in my class!! he wouldn't get a passing grade on several of his points.
perhaps his major contention in his opening 20min dealt with the virgin birth of Christ. he, rather foolishly, in my opinion, makes such blasphemous statements as something to the effect that "God's Hebrew may not be too good".
anyways, for those who watched (or rather listened to) the debate on YouTube, Mr. T-S was WAY OFF the mark on this one, and a few others, but i only have time to deal with one.
there are two lines of reasoning i would like to present in support of my contention that he didn't know what he was talking about on the point of the virgin birth of Christ (unfortunately, i don't have time to refute his others, but many of them are just as easy to do).
since i don't know if i can enter greek and hebrew characters in this Post, i will transliterate into english characters.
1. regarding Matthew's use, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of the greek word parthenos to describe the virgin birth, all should know that it wasn't Matthew who arbitrarily chose this word in contradistinction to the hebrew word the prophet Isaiah (also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) used. parthenos was NOT a later, first century Christian extrapolation of Isaiah's prophecy. why do i say this? because it was the Jews who first used parthenos to describe Isaiah's prophecy. huh? what? huasheng, have you lost it? no. ~250 years before Christ was born, the city of Alexandria in Egypt had a large Jewish population. these Jews had lost the ability to read the Scriptures in Hebrew, and so 70 Jewish scholars who were fluent in both Hebrew and Greek (the language Alexander the Great brought to this area, hence the city's name Alexandria) undertook to translate the Scriptures from Hebrew into the language of the people, viz. Greek, beginning with Torah (the five books of Moses) and then progressing to the Neviim and Ketubim (Prophets and Writings which together with Torah comprise the three section of Tanakh, i.e the Hebrew Bible). this translation is called the "Septuagint" and sometimes designated in writing as "LXX", the roman numerals for "70" (70 translators, remember). well, what do you think they used for the hebrew "almah" found in Isaiah 7.14? righteeeoo, you gueesed it, they used the greek word "parthenos". why? because, contrary to what Mr. T-S (i hope i have his name right) and a host of others contend, "almah" could imply NOT merely a young woman, but also one who is a virgin. just ask yourself this, 70 men who were fluent in both Hebrew and Greek, could they really make such a ridiculous blunder and not have the others catch them on this? these men who revered the Scriptures, would they really be so careless? believe that if you want, but if you do you're just kidding yourself to avoid having to face the truth of the matter. the Jews were very careful with their handling of the Scriptures. apparently to communicate the truth of the meaning of Isa7.14 in Hebrew, they needed to use the greek word for "virgin", viz. "parthenos".
now, if this was the only line of evidence, i can understand that someone out there might still want to kid themselves and not be convinced. however, we now come to line of evidence #2.
2. to begin, the more common Hebrew word for "virgin", viz. "betulah" is also translated in the LXX by the greek word "parthenos". why? ("this is getting confusing" i can hear someone saying - ok, i'll try to clear it up) most words, not only in Scripture, but also in the English language, have what is termed a "semantic range of meaning" and NOT one single meaning. let me illustrate with the english word "nail". a carpenter can drive a nail with just two strikes from his hammer, but a woman would never call a carpenter to do her nails, and how many of us have heard a student tell another "i really nailed that test", or after a particularly vicious check, a hockey player might exclaim "i really nailed him". i hope that this childish illustration of "semantic range of meaning" communicates adequately. there are just so many illustrations of this truth of "semantice range of meaning" for words (the greek word "kosmos", is used in the NT in three or four different ways - semantic range of meaning again - the context makes the intended meaning plain). in the Hebrew Scriptures, "almah" and "betulah" have a partially overlapping range of meaning. "betulah" means virgin, and "almah" can be used of a virgin. all one needs to do is look up in the Hebrew Scriptures every time "almah" is used and one will clearly get the sense that "almah" is used of a virgin in the exact same sense that "betulah" is used of a virgin. in fact, there is NO INSTANCE in the Hebrew Scriptures where it can be proven that "almah" is used of a woman, or young woman, who is NOT a virgin. Mr. T-S simply is incorrect as are so many other skeptics. y'all know somewhat of the culture of the middle east. we are becoming more familiar with it in our news, family killing a sister/daughter/niece because she was raped, through no fault of her own, and is no longer a virgin. generally speaking, some middle eastern men don't want a wife who is not a virgin, even if she was forcibly raped. virginity is highly prized in that culture. do any of us think that it was different 2000+ years ago? just one illustration will suffice (i'll leave it to those who truly desire to know truth to look up the other instances of its use), in Song of Solomon 6.8 there are three classes of women identified: queens, concubines (not virgins, or perhaps, in some cases, soon not to be virgins), and virgins or virginal young women (the heb. here is not "betulah", but "almah"). does anyone really think that the distinction b/t "concubines" and "young women" was that the concubines were old??!!! of course not. the distinction is NOT b/t the ages of the two groups, but another characteristic distinguishes one group (concubines) from the other group (the "almah" or virginal young women) - both groups were young (how many young-to-middle aged kings, or even elderly kings for that matter, would have a hareem of elderly women for concubines?!!). obviously, the beautiful young, concubines were to be distinguished from young virgins, and "almah" was chosen to make that distinction. if you or i were going to pick a heb. word to distinguish concubines from virgins, we would probably pick "betulah" to make sure (to our modern understanding) that there is no misunderstanding. but, that would be our modern minds making this decision. we should always try to comprehend the mindset of the author and original readers/hearers in order to arrive at a correct interpretation - this is, perhaps, common sense; we ought to avoid anachronism and diachronism when we read and interpret). apparently, in ancient times, there was no misunderstanding when "almah" was used. its meaning overlapped "betulah" (don't we have synonyms in modern english? if anyone doubts this, just pick up a copy of "Roget's Thesaurus"). you don't have to just take my word for it, pick up a copy of the two-volume "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament" (easy reference work for an english-only reader to use) and read for yourself. you might also consult a standard Hebrew Lexicon like "Brown, Driver, and Biggs" - though this requires that you can read some Biblical Hebrew (a bit different than Modern Hebrew) for yourself (though there is an abbreviated, condensed version where the hebrew words are transliterated [NOT translated - there is a difference; yeah,... agreed,another time.] into english).
i hope this explanation helps to clear up this matter of the "almah" and "parthenos" for any who have encountered it previously, whether in the NZ debate b/t Mr. Comfort and Mr. Tyler-Smith or elsewhere.
sincerely yours because of HIM,
While Mr. Oh-I-do-hope-there-are-big-hairy-men-who-will-piss-on-me-in-heaven (I do so hope I got his name right) for all his verbosity only actually makes four points, all of them wrong the bigger point here is the very important difference between Biblical scholarship and apologetics. Biblical scholarship an Academic discipline, undertaken by terrifyingly dry, clever and erudite men who know off the top of their heads when some Aramaic word entered common usage.
Apologetics on the other hand is not a discipline at all (academic or otherwise) but is simply a dodge where by the godly are allowed to give voice to any pious humbug, empty headed bombast and deceptive demagoguery that comes to mind and are shielded form any criticism, or even observation that their claims often do not even make coherent sense let alone prove anything.
And Mr I-have-to-spank-my-cock-with-a-frozen-spoon-every-time-I-think-about-Ray’s-mustache (I do so hope I got his name right) is the perfect example of this distinction, as he manages to get every point of fact wrong and yet still act like he is an authority on the subject. (since I know you have shit to do, I won’t ask you to read any books I know you don’t own - although everyone should own a copy of the Oxford companion to the Bible and will just use wikipedia)
First off, no, actually the use parthenos was a later, first century Christian extrapolation of Isaiah's prophecy, and no the Septuagint was not compiled 250 years before the birth of Christ. We know this because a the Letter of Aristeas, which dates to second century BC, says that the Jews only translated Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Which is backed up by three hundred years later by Josephus Flavius. Secondly as Wikipedia puts it “there is evidence, that the Septuagint was tampered with by the Church, the present Septuagint is largely a post-second century Christian translation of the Bible, used zealously by the church throughout the centuries as an indispensable apologetic instrument to defend and sustain Christological alterations of the Jewish scriptures.” As such it is reasonable to suppose that the Greek version of Isaiah used by the author was probably produced only shortly before the Gospel of Matthew, and thus the cock up theory seems profoundly plausible.
As for the claim that there is NO INSTANCE in the Hebrew Scriptures where it can be proven that "almah" is used of a woman, or young woman, who is NOT a virgin, and that young woman and virgin were synonymous because any young woman who wasn’t a virgin would have had her brains beaten out by the righteous, this again is simply a lie. The first thing to note is that Jewish scholars say that Almah means a woman married, or unmarried and that there is no implication of virginity. Even the Catholics accept this. However, even if you just look at the verse in question, Isaiah 7:14, the Jewish understanding is that the Alma referred to, is in fact Isaiah’s wife, and that since she is refereed to as ha-almah, or this women, and is prefixed in the verse with the adjective harah, the verse should be read as "this young woman, who is pregnant," or possibly "this woman who will soon be pregnant", which in either reading makes it perfectly clear that she was a young married women and not a virgin.
I am guessing Mr I-only-believe-in- god-because-without-a-penis-I-need-something-to-get-me-out-of-bed-in-the-morning actually knows this, or he wouldn’t have been so careful to list the books of Apologetics that will confirm his story. There are dozens of standard works of biblical history and
And they wonder why we sometimes seem strident.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Last temptation of Brian
So I spent most of yesterday watching the Jesus marathon on the Documentary Channel and while in retrospect I should have turned it off after watching Rod Liddle dribble incoherently all over himself, I stayed on the couch for a documentary about the history of Jesus films. Now it might just be that I was already seethingly mad, or that 8 hours of Jesus creeps is just more than one can handle but by the time they got to the fire storm surrounding the Life of Brian and the Last Temptation of Christ, I was about ready to ascended to heaven, bitch slap the Virgin Marry, bugger the holy ghost and shoot my load all the baby Jesus’ face.
Now I must confess that angry and committed atheist though I am, Jesus is still my favorite character from all of fiction (with the possible exception of Sir Harry Flashman) but for all that, there are only two Jesus film worth watching, and not surprisingly they are the two that Christians object to.
While The Life of Brian is usually written off as a blasphemous piss take, it is indisputably the most historically accurate Jesus film ever made, and is as good a reflection of the reality of first century Palestine – complete with a passionate ambivalence about the Romans, the frothing, and self fulfilling expectation of the coming Messiah and the eternal truth that once you get enough people in a crowd they will believe just about anything – as well as any hundred history books.
The Last Temptation on the other hand, while not nearly as trust worthy a guide to what happened, is still the most thoughtful, interesting and theologically literate reflection on what is remembered to be put on film. The truth is that Christians have never been comfortable with their own tradition, largely because it actually makes no sense. Christian doctrine since Constantine has insisted that Jesus was at once totally divine and wholly and entirely human - the so-called Hypostatic union. As such Jesus must, according to the tradition, have been beset by all the trials and travails and, temptations to which humans are subject.
However, Christians, being heretical little pricks, who can’t or won’t read, and are woefully ignorant of the content of their own beliefs, prefer to think of the incarnation as more than just god wearing a man shaped suit, and as such, when Scorsese shows a Jesus who is neither meek and mild nor righteous and raging and in fact is so introspective and full of self loathing and sexual perplexity that he might as well be human, the bible believing blowhards start yelling various versions of, ‘I don’t get it, it must be blasphemous.’
And this wasn’t just pious bitching, when last temptation was released some half crazed French loony actually firebombed a Paris movie theatre, seriously injuring fourteen, and even now it is regarded as one of the most controversial films ever made. But the problem is that all the bits that the backwoods, and backwards blood-baptized Bohemonds find offensive are, inevitable conclusions that you actually want to take the theology of the incarnation seriously.
Even in the gospels it is clear that Jesus wasn’t all that thrilled about being the Messiah and would have, in fact, rather not have been horribly tortured to death.
As Luke put it:
‘And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done. And there appeared an angel to him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’
So given that even the Bible has Jesus sweating blood at the thought of being crucified, and praying in such utter torment that his father has to send an angel to tell him not to pike now, it is probably not surprising that William Defoe wants to play him a little damaged and dark.
And the same is true of the issue of the 30-second shot of Jesus fucking Mary Magdalene. While it might be confronting, the fact of the matter is that if Jesus really was entirely human, he must have had sexual thoughts, since people have sexual thoughts, all of them and all the time. As such to have Jesus haunting Magdalene like a fucking big puppy, hating her sin, but unable to get her out of his head, is to dramatize the conflict between Jesus’ divine self and his human self. However more to the point is the fact that the whole sequence is part of Jesus’ being tempted, as the devil shows Jesus the life he could have had if he gave up the cross.
As such and given that in the end Jesus chooses the cross anyway, it seems self evident that the point of showing the temptation was to adumbrate the scope of Jesus’ sacrifice, and to show the massive conflict this would have caused. As such, it was more or less a clever, incisive and successful attempt to do what the Passion of the Christ tried and failed to do.
But Christians, being members of a totalitarian death cult don’t like psychology, or cleverness, of conflict or any sacrifice that doesn’t involve death, and so the movie is still denounced as porn, by the porcine little cunts, who had to crush a hymnal to their crotches all through the fucking Passion, to hide the massive genital swelling that resulted from watching their lord and savior get tortured to death.
And they wonder why we sometimes seem strident.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
So yesterday in the wake of the Ray Comfort thing, two very different people said two very different things that got me to wondering. The first was Ray, who while squirming in the face of Nigel’s heroic and dogged attempt to get Ray to link to, (or acknowledge the existence of the audio from) the debate he so breezily claimed to have won, claimed that he wasn’t going to link because he found the URL, “Jesus Was a Tit Man” offensive. At first I thought that was just about what one might expect form the cheating hack, but then I remembered that this is the guy who got (in)famous for claiming that the banana was so irreducibly wonderful as prove the existence of god. This in turn got me wondering how someone who is so easily impressed, could find the very mention of the human breast - possibly the one part of our primate pattern that allows for no obvious improvement - a cause for shock and fretful piety.
Then, while I was still pondering this, over on another blog I came across a commentary of the Ray debate, which ended with the words “Christians definitely hate vaginas. Are you gonna stand for that?” nintfjr replied “ No I'm not! I'm going to walk into my family's church and shout, "I LOVE VAGINAS!" And I don't care what your 3000 year old nomadic death cult thinks about it!" which in a day full of great comments made me laugh so hard beer shot out my noise.
And the more I thought about this, the more it seemed to me that these two comments illustrate, as clearly as anything could, the difference between us and them. It is not simply that they are bawling children who need an imaginary night light to keep them sane, it is that they really do hate life. They hate bodies, and flesh, and fluids and all the squishy, messy merry go round of dirt and decay that is life. They tremble at the thought of their pure and precious spirits possibly being corrupted by the meat that houses it, and so they seek to suppress and repress and extinguish every flicker of feeling and pulse of pleasure in themselves and others, and keep their eyes fixed upon the messianic hope that one day they will be freed, and their corrupt flesh will reside clean and sparkling in the pure white light love of Jesus.
We on the other hand have no such delusions. We know that we are but a twig on the tree of life, and bare the stamp of our lowly origins proudly, rejoicing in our kinship with tree mold and the microbes on whose planet we live, knowing that our bodies are not just the best tool our minds will ever have, but is what our minds are made of.
As such, and with the knowledge that Easter is upon us, with the concomitant horror of having to spend time with family members we can’t abide, I think it is time to strike a blow for our common ancestors, and if you find yourself stuck next that drunk old Irish uncles, who won’t stop telling Jew jokes, or the high strung maiden Aunt who feels sorry for you because you don’t have Jesus in your heart, follow nintfjr’s lead, and try to work your love for genitals into the conversation. You don’t need to shout it, just drop it in, and come Monday we can compare notes.
Anyway, just a thought.
Good luck out there, and thanks.
Monday, April 6, 2009
So this one time, a couple of weeks ago, I debated Ray Comfort. The whole thing was a fiasco from beginning to end. I only knew about the debate because of an ad posted outside the toilets, offering a $100 to anyone who could, or would stand Ray for an hour. When I rang the number, the very nice woman seemed thrilled, saying that they were on the verge of canceling the debate since no one else had responded. And so, having never debated before, and being considered by everyone as some chump who was going to be humiliated for Ray’s amusement, I got the job simply because no one else wanted it.
However, as it turns out, the thing was a farce, as the poor mustachioed mountebank had nothing at all to say. I say this with all due humility, I was not perfect, I spoke too fast, was nervous and relied far too much on my notes, and even screwed up a reference, but this was my first debate ever, and Ray simply had no counter to anything I said, and gave up his ground with such alacrity it was like he knew he was a half competent liar. He glibly admitted that he couldn’t defend the veracity of the bible, before ignoring everything I had said in order to give his preplanned speech. During rebuttal he even started to squirm and look more slug-like than is his habit when I mentioned that one of his arguments had been addressed at length and to Ray personally by P.Z Myers.
During the question and answers, Ray got sarcastic and petulant and looked every inch the beaten and discovered cheat who wished he had never issued the challenge. After the thing was over a half dozen of Ray’s supporters came up to me and told me that Ray was clearly out classed and out- thought and wasn’t up to an intellectual debate, but that I shouldn't think I could beat god so easily.
Anyway, at the time I thought there was not a great deal worth saying, as humiliating Ray was, given the fact that he is a self parodying pissant, no great achievement. But today found out that according to Ray, I, referred to simply as “the atheist” was “pretty sad. He just read notes he printed off the Internet. The old spaghetti monster stuff. I felt sorry for him.” Now personally I am touched by Ray’s sympathy. It is the true measure of Christian charity to pity the man who is reducing you into surly and grouchy irrelevance.
But I cannot let stand the charge that I simply read stuff off the Internet. This is what I do, and is who I am. I have spent most of the past decade studying the world’s religions and I brought the best I had, and for Ray to claim that the challenges he couldn’t answer, and stripped him naked are below his contempt is something I will not stand still for. As such, I am posting the audio of the debate, recorded by my lovely girlfriend, and you can make up your own mind.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
A bluffers guide to the God debate; Part Two:
The Virgin Birth.
Given how ubiquitous the story Virgin birth, it is instructive to remember that the earliest Christian writers had never heard the story. The Virgin birth is only ever mentioned in two of the four gospels, and that the Apostle Paul, whose writings make up the earliest Christian text we have, had never heard the story, which we know because he describes Jesus as "born of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3) meaning that he thought Joseph was Jesus’ biological father.
However, when the author of Mathew was looking for Old Testament prophecy to which he could fit the life of Christ, he came across the a prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, which he read as predicting that the Messiah would be born of a Virgin, and would be called Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us, and since he was Greek, and writing in and for a Greco-Roman context, in which everyone of any note, from Hercules, to Perseus to Mercury to Romulus to Dionysius was born of the virgin, simply decided to kill two birds with one stone, at once fulfilling a prophecy and making Jesus more impressive to his Hellenic country men - by have Jesus born of a Virgin. We know this because the author wrote, after describing Jesus' divine conception that:
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Mathew 1:22 -23)
All this would be bad, and cynical and crooked enough, but what makes it, not just a lie, but an incompetent and obvious lie is that he gets the prophecy wrong. The important word here is the word virgin, which in the Hebrew version of Isaiah is rendered as Alma, a word which, according to the catholic encyclopedia, and the Oxford Hebrew lexicon, and the Oxford Companion to the bible, simply signifies a "young woman", unmarried as well as married, and is thus distinct from bethulah, "a virgin" And thus carries no implication of virginity.
However, the Author of Matthew apparently couldn’t read Hebrew, and was going by a Greek translation, which rendered the Alma, as Parthenos or virgin, and from this we get the Virgin birth, the belief that Jesus was biologically the son of God, the idea that jesus was of the same substance as the father, and to a large degree the trinity.
And so we are faced with two possibilities, either, and this is my position, the whole story of the virgin birth, and all that followed is simply a cynical cock up, of the type that one might expect from a wholly man made work of fiction, or the Holy Spirit’s Hebrew isn’t quite as good as one might expect.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
“…it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Acts 26:14
As one of those poor unfortunates who for their living, thinks, and reads and writes about religion, I am often forced - like a zoo keeper being pelted with monkey poop – to read statements like this one from believers.org:
The Bible is a Divine Revelation. In the Bible we find out what God wants mankind to know about Himself and His plan. The Bible is the only written revelation of God to man.
No one has ever successfully refuted the Bible. Many mock the Bible but avoid challenging it point by point. No one who has done in-depth research, honestly examining the evidence for the Bible's inspiration and truthfulness, has been able to disprove the Bible.
History records many who set out to disprove the Bible, who instead became believers. Our Bible is composed of 66 books, by about 40 different writers of various backgrounds, living during a period of about 1,600 years -- yet they present one message. Such a miracle can only be explained by there being one divine Author, who was in control of all these human writers.
The Bible writers came from many walks of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, herdsmen, poets, statesmen, scholars, soldiers, priests, prophets, a tax collector, a tent making rabbi, and a Gentile doctor. The Bible was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
The writings contained in the Bible belong to a great variety of literary types including history, law, poetry, educational discourses, parables, biography, personal correspondence, and prophecy. Books written by men have no unity of thought on even one subject. Some of them invariably disagree with others. But there is perfect unity between the books of the Bible -- which speak of hundreds of subjects in many fields. There is no contradiction among them.
Who but God could produce such a book?
Or as Kyle Butt, M.A. at Apologetics Press puts it:
“…the Bible does, in fact, contain a legitimate contradiction of some kind, it has not yet been found. When all the facts are considered, each alleged biblical contradiction has been shown to be something other than a true contradiction. That is a powerful statement, considering the fact that no book in the world has been examined more closely or scrutinized more carefully. After the Bible has been put under the high-powered microscope of criticism, and dissected by the razor-sharp scalpel of supposed contradictions, it rises from the surgery with no scratches or scars, none the worse for wear.”
As such, for instruction and fun I humble present:
A bluffers guide to the God debate; Part one:
The first interesting thing about this argument, is that it appears to be a rather ad hoc, co-option if the Islamic claim that the Qu’ran was so perfect that it must have been written by god, and thus proves the existence of god, what is known in the business as an evidentiary Miracle. The second thing to note, is that, put simply, the claim that the Bible is free of contradictions is so entirely false and fatuous that it could be made only by a lair, or an illiterate. Even if we look simply at the three synoptic Gospels, which, given that all serious biblical scholars agree, are basically competing plagiarisms of the same text or texts one might expect to stick to the same story we find dozens of problems.
To take just two examples, Luke says Jesus was born in the reign of Quirinius, while Mathew says it was under the rule of Herod, Luke says that eight days after his birth, Jesus was taken to the Jerusalem Temple before the family returned to Nazareth, while Matthew goes in for the slaughter of the innocences and has the family fleeing to, and living in Egypt until Herod’s death.
However it is the contradictions between the synoptic gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) and the gospel of John were things get truly, and obviously inconsistent.
Mark tells us that Jesus started his ministry after John the Baptist was imprisoned, while John has Jesus meeting up with John in the middle of his Baptizing, and getting Baptized. Mark claims that Jesus restores the sight of a man who was struck blind, while John claims that the same man had been blind since . Mark claims that having been re-in-sighted, Jesus tells the now ex-blind man not to tell anyone what has happened, while John has Jesus saying no such thing and the man running into town to tell everyone he can find. Matthew says that Simon of Cyrene came to Jesus’ aid after he stumbled on the road to Golgotha and carried the cross, John says Jesus carried his own cross all the way. In Matthew, Jesus justifies his refusal to save the souls of the Gentiles or Samaritans by telling his disciples that he came to save the 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel' But John claims Jesus never said any such thing and in fact went to Samaria and converted whole villages.
And it goes on this vain. John mentions three Passover feasts, with Jesus and the disciples, meaning that Jesus' ministry must have lasted at lest three years, as opposed to the one-year claimed by the other three gospels. According to John the scourging of the money lenders in the temple is damn near the first thing Jesus does once he gets all messiah-full, while in the other three it’s just before he gets crucified. In John Jesus did all his most notable massiahering in Iudaea Province and Jerusalem, going to Gaililee only briefly, and of his miracles in Galilee only the loafs and fishes and the walking on water mesh with the other three gospels.
In fact, if the other three gospels had been lost and John was all we had to go on, then we would have an entirely different, and perhaps more accurate, and certainly more (if not entirely) human Jesus. John has no great prophetic statements about the coming of the kingdom, and in fact only mentions the kingdom of God twice, once to say, that unless one is born again, he will not see it, and again to affirm that it is not of this world, while the other gospels go on at considerable length about the coming of kingdom as a new earthy order which will over throw the old in a orgy of violence and blood that will give rise to a new post-post-lapserian age
John has no Sermon on the Mount, nor any Olivet discourse, which is Jesus prophetic speech on the Mount of Olives, just before the passion, about the destruction of the Temple, the Tribulation yet to befall Israel, or the various signs of Jesus return. Nor does he instruct his disciples to go out and heal and preach.
In fact John seems to have been so disagreeable he wouldn’t even agree with himself if he could help it, First John says, or example that Jesus baptized, then latter says that he didn’t baptize, first he claims that God put all world things into Jesus’ hands, then two chapters latter tells us that god in fact didn’t. He insists that Jesus did not bear witness to himself, then says that he did. And as for John agreeing with anyone else, well frankly that would be a fucking miracle.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
This morning the UN human rights council passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation. The resolution was introduced by that well-known champion of human rights, Pakistan, and supported by that bastion of freedom The Organization of the Islamic Conference. The law as it stands is wholly unworkable, purposely vague and seems to outlaw everything from saying that any given religion is wrong on any given issue, to pointing out that the Islamic world has a terrible human rights record. However, this is not just a matter of politics to me.
I am a mouthy drunk who makes my living thinking, writing and talking about religious questions and my girlfriend is a pornographer trying to deal with the trauma of a Pentecostal upbringing, So to me this is deeply personal.I know I shall write more on this topic soon, but for now I just want to mark this momentous day by telling all the would-be little theocrats of the world that I will not be spoken to in this tone of voice.
I stand as the inheritor of the only movement to ever change the world for the better. I stand the heir to the free thinkers, agnostics, atheists, backsliders and doubters, and those who rejected authority and dogma, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation, Starting not with Paine in the 1700s but with Diogenes, Democritus, Epicurus, in the fifth century before Christ and stretching through Galileo, Diderot, John Stuart Mill, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, Trotsky, Marx, Robert Green Ingersoll, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Oscar Wilde, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Karl Popper, Sigmund Freud, Darwin, George Orwell, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and Carl Sagan
I stand as a partisan in the eternal war for the modern world, and the march of free speech, the equality of the sexes, reproductive freedom, the rule of law, the humanity of women and children, pacifism, democracy, internationalism, anti-imperialism,irony, feeling and empathy and the universal and inviolable solidarity of all peoples against the forces of dogma and repression and theocracy.
As such I will be damned before I lie down and allow these nihilistic totalitarians take away my right to say what ever the fuck I like. Thus, as a little fuck you to the amassed forces of half retarded Iron Age lunacy I see arrayed before me, I offer this short film by Dutch MP Geert Wilder.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
So watch the clip and if your eyes are dry at the end, then you’re a better man than me.