3/14/2012 | Share this article:By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
Here’s a new game you can play with your Christian family, friends, or antagonists. I call it “Mysteries of the Gospels.” Of course, a “mystery,” in the Christian sense, is a seeming absurdity in Christian dogma which is very difficult or impossible to explain. It’s one of those conundrums that Christians typically “explain” with something like, “That’s just one of the divine mysteries.”
The game is played by first offering an example of a Gospel “mystery,” so that your opponent understands just what a mystery is. It must be clearly understood by both players that the objective is not to solve the mysteries, but merely to identify mysteries. (Your opponent may choose to “solve” the mysteries later, at his leisure!) If your opponent is reluctant to play, then offer two or three more examples – ostensibly, to show how easy the game is to play – but, actually, to get as much nonsense on the table as you can while you have the opportunity.
Then, you offer the first mystery and your opponent in turn offers another mystery. The two players take turns in this way until one does not have another mystery to offer, and is thus declared the loser. This is a great game to play with your pastor, too, or for Sunday school kids.
Like most truly good games, it is both fun and educational. The idea, of course, which you need not divulge to your opponent, is to get Christians to recognize that there are a whole lot of things about their religion that make little or no sense, and should embarrass them to be defending.
Now, it is always wise to enter a game with some background knowledge, so I offer my own Top Ten Gospel Mysteries below. Many of you, I am sure, will be able to add to and improve on this list, and I hope you will share your ideas with the rest of us. Have fun!
Top Ten Gospel Mysteries
1) Jesus /god never told anyone that slavery is immoral, so we humans had to figure it out by ourselves. But, didn’t we get our sense of right and wrong from god in the first place? (Maybe this should be a two-pointer, as it seems Jesus/god inexplicably missed a major teaching opportunity (first point), AND we didn’t need them to tell us something was immoral (second point).)
2) How is it that Jesus, supposedly a powerful god, could perform such miracles as healing sickness with a touch, banishing demons with a wave of the hand, and feeding the multitude out of thin air, but couldn’t stop a couple Roman soldiers from nailing him to a cross?
3) Why did Jesus, a Rabbi, and supposedly educated, not leave us any written words? Written records could have at least buttressed the case that he actually existed.
4) Why didn’t Jesus take the opportunity in the Gospels to prove he was divine by seeing into the future? He could have mentioned , or that nothing travels faster than light, or given us the germ theory of disease, for example, things people of his time had no way of knowing, thus pretty much proving his divinity.
5) How come Jesus’ last words vary from Gospel to Gospel? Mark: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Luke: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." John: "It is finished." And to claim that he said all of them doesn’t work either, because, according to Matthew, Jesus said no words but cried out in a loud voice.
6) Why did no historian of the time ever mention Jesus? Supposedly, he drew great crowds, and the Roman and Jewish leaders knew all about him. Wasn’t this the most important event in human history? Wasn’t Jesus the most important person in history?
7) Why did the Gospel writers wait for 35-plus years after Jesus’ death to write the Gospels? Didn’t they think it was important to make an accurate and timely record of Jesus’ life and achievements?
8) Why are there no writings of the period arguing AGAINST Jesus’ theories and miracles, not even by Orthodox Jews who did not accept that he was the Messiah? (Thanks to Carl S. for this one.) Could it be that Jesus was just a small time preacher who gained little attention during his lifetime, but had legendary feats grow up around him with the telling and retelling of his story, until someone finally wrote the Gospels 35+ years later?
9) Why did not one of the 5,000 men who supposedly witnessed Jesus feeding the multitude (with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish) ever write that he was there, since there surely have always been “name droppers” who love to brag? Was every last one of them illiterate? (Similarly, why do we not have a single account of any of his miracles, performed before many, from any source outside the Gospels? According to John 6:1-2: “. . . a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.”)
10) Why were none of the astounding events surrounding the crucifixion written about by local, contemporary astronomers, other scientists, or philosophers - events like the three hour darkness in the middle of the day (an eclipse only lasts a few minutes), the earthquake, and the saints coming out of their graves and walking around the city?