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Showing posts from 2018

Thought Crimes and Christianity

By Shaolin ~ W hen I dumped the belief in God and subsequently the belief in Jesus, I began to revisit the things he supposedly said in the gospels. I realized he said some bizarrely stupid things. His rule on adultery is in my top five list. Jesus, the “greatest teacher” offers nothing educational about human sexuality except this ridiculous rule: “If any makes looks upon a women lustfully, he has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Adultery is defined as, “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse.” According to Jewish law, adultery is a capital crime and calls for the death of both parties. Jesus upheld the whole law. So if a man THINKS about having sex with a married woman, he has sinned against God and is to be punished. Am I interpreting it correctly? How is such a rule enforced? How would anyone (but God allegedly) know what you’re thinking, unless you’re stupid enough to tell someone, as if it was th

Six Hints that Baby Jesus Stories were Late Additions to Early Christian Lore

By Valerie Tarico ~ T he wonder-filled birth story of the baby Jesus was centuries in the making. Picture a creche with baby Jesus in a manger and shepherds and angels and three kings and a star over the stable roof. We think of this traditional scene as representing the Christmas story, but it actually mixes elements from two different nativity stories in the Bible, one in Matthew and one in Luke, with a few embellishments that got added in later centuries. What was the historical kernel? Most likely we will never know, because it appears that the Bible’s nativity stories are themselves highly-embellished late add-ons to the Gospels. Here are six hints that the story so familiar to us might have been unfamiliar to early Jesus worshipers. 1. Paul’s Silence – The earliest texts in the New Testament are letters written during the first half of the first century by Paul and other people who used his name. These letters, or Epistles as they are called, give no hint that Paul or

What the Nativity Story Would Sound Like with Free and Full Female Consent

By Valerie Tarico ~ I n the gospel stories, Mary the mother of Jesus is a humble, devout young woman of her time--which means she has little choice in the matter. Set aside for a moment any debate about whether the Nativity stories in the Bible are history or mythology or some combination of the two. In either version, Matthew’s or Luke’s, does Mary consent to be the mother of Jesus? During recent holiday seasons, this provocative question has been hotly argued on both sides, scandalizing conservative Christians. But our modern concept of consent would have been alien and bizarre to the gospel writers. If we could ask one of them to resolve the debate, he might say, “How could a pure young woman not want to be the mother of God incarnate?! What is this consent thing of which you speak?” Behold, thou shalt conceive. The New Testament contains two tellings of the nativity story. The story in Matthew doesn’t address how Mary learns about her pregnancy. She is simply “found w

Apetivist: A former Southern Baptist minister turned atheist and free thinker due to research in Theology and Apologetics.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist household. My family was rather typical in most respects but I was introduced to the Gospel at 6 years old being told that Jesus died for me because I was born a sinner and that one day if I did not accept him I would go to Hell and not be with my loved ones in the afterlife. This filled me with some dread as I surely didn't want to go to Hell and I also didn't want to be separated from my loved ones in the afterlife. Oddly my family weren't big church goers but I was constantly reminded that I was nothing without Jesus. This also effected my personal outlook on life. I found myself at 11 years old being scared by a sermon on Hell that I walked down the aisle and said the Sinner's Prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart and later got baptized. I read my Bible regularly but lived a rather normal life thinking I was safe. But then at 17 years old I was conflicted whether or not I was truly saved and rededicated my life to Jesus

The true origins of Christianity?

By Gary T. McDonald, author of   The Gospel of Thomas (the Younger) ~ Who invented Christianity? P aul is the single most important figure in the spreading of the Christian cult throughout the Roman Empire and into Western culture. Paul's letters and, later, the Gospels of Mark, then Luke and Mathew, are some of the earliest Christian writings (and sources of history) we have. And they were all written decades after Jesus' death. We know from Paul's letters and the Acts of the Apostles (the author of Luke's sequel to his gospel) that there were significant disagreements between himself and James on various issues. (James was Jesus' brother who had become the leader of the Jerusalem-based "Way Followers" of Jesus after his brother's death.) Because we have no writings from the Jerusalem "Way Followers" at all, we only have a summation of these disagreements from the Pauline camp. And it would not serve their interests to bring up dis

No Longer Hooked

By Julia H ~ N o one should have to make this journey alone. But I have. I’m 54, and left all the competing versions of Christianity fighting over my soul when I was 22 years old. Raised as a traditional Catholic until I was 10 or 11, my parents began adding to it...first the Charismatic Movement, then a Covenanted Christian Community, then the Fundamentalist high school I went to. During high school, I went to Mass Sunday mornings, Community gatherings Sunday afternoon, Monday through Friday was the anti-science, Biblical literalism that passed for an education, Wednesday evening often a Community gathering, Saturday evening Community gathering. Of course, all these groups were convinced that the others had it wrong and were going to hell. To be honest, I don’t know how my parents were able to combine all of this into the shitshow that was my upbringing. Spock saved me. I always loved Spock, and from early childhood, he was the personification of the Reason in my mind t

Humans out-communicate God

By Michael Runyan ~ W ithin the past few decades, human technology has advanced to the point where a message can be delivered to well over half of the earth’s population in a matter of seconds. The message can arrive without any alterations or interpolations, pristinely accurate to the author’s original creation. Although, there can be arguments about the intent or meaning of the message, the exact text is not in dispute. By contrast, when God decided to send a message to mankind, his revelation was limited to an area less than 1% of the earth’s surface area and to less than 1% of the earth’s population. Over time, the message was adulterated by thousands of inadvertent and purposeful changes resulting from human interference. When we contrast the two scenarios, it is amazing to see how humans have reached a point where they can out-perform the messaging capability of the Christian god. Some skeptics have questioned why God has not used the internet to deliver an updated messag

Judy - No Pictures Available

By Carl S ~ O ne of my better reference book acquisitions is “ The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book ,” by Bill Watterson. For this application, I'm citing his chapter on “licensing.” The cartoonist shows himself to be a man of high integrity by not selling out his characters, strip, and ongoing story lines for profit, thus avoiding “the corruption of a strip's integrity.” Watterson has never allowed images of Calvin and Hobbes outside of their world in the strip. He tells us, “My strip is about private realities, the magic of imagination, and the specialness of certain friendships.” And although he does not say so directly, there is no way Hobbes could be depicted as a stuffed toy or statuette (as Charles Schulz’s Snoopy is), because Hobbes as we know him exists solely in Calvin's imagination. Many years ago, my wife asked me how long Judy was in my life before I met her. You see, Judy was sitting on the back seat of my car the first time my wife and I dated.

Suppose There's No God? Live. Love. Laugh

By Carl S. ~ S ince there's no evidence for a God, gods or goddesses, the supposing will go on ad infinitum. Why go any further, why bother to? All theologies are “systems of opinions;” real explanations are needed for why things are the way they are. These we have in abundance. Should we care about explanations for how and why people just “know” God is talking to them, telling them what his will is for them? Just because “they” say they sincerely believe something, that doesn't make it true. So we swim out, freed from the religious equivalent of a huge oceanic ball of frenzied fish, and think and think. We look with opened eyes at the evidence in the Universe, we start adding it up, and it all makes sense: no God. “God” as an all-important concept, primarily lives in the patterns of a malfunctioning or drug-distorted brain. Rituals for this God are obsessive-compulsive; often repeating behavioral patterns of the insane. It's claimed God lives in a “spiritual” realm.

Predicting the future in a Christian world

By Michael Runyan ~ I t is common for various authorities to make predictions of future events as a means for society to prepare for such eventualities, such as, for example, the path of a hurricane, the arrival of cold or hot weather, rain, or snow, the prognosis and timing of recovery from various diseases, future economic activity levels, the growth of wildfires, tides and flooding levels, and harvesting amounts related to agriculture. In the Christian world, these predictions would not necessarily be amenable to observations of current conditions, an examination of past experience, or use of analytical models because the world would be continually subject to the whims of various supernatural agents, such as demons, angels, Satan, God (in three personages), or a multitude of saints (depending on the particular denomination). Answered prayers could also throw off any of these predictions. The success rate would be low and not improving over time. In a world governed by natura

One Day at a Time

By Hannah ~ I was born to two twenty somethings who weren’t ready to have a baby at all. They found each other in a small Baptist Church, both coming from difficult lives. I think they bought the idea that Christianity increases your chances of a better life. Anyway,my first seven years were spent in dresses and skirts and we didn’t have Santa or the Easter bunny and we definitely didn’t trick or treat. It was a lonely, quiet early childhood and I didn’t fully trust any adult around me. Why would I, with so much focus on rebellion and disrespect and “me versus you” parenting. Age eight, I went to a tiny Christian school. It was more exciting than homeschooling with Abeka and Bob Jones textbooks. I lived my super sheltered life constantly hearing about people who weren’t saved, were going to hell, demons, more hell. We couldn’t even play pranks on April Fools because it was Atheist Day and pranks often involved lying. I towed the line, often couldn’t sleep at night from a

HELL under the Microscope

By Shaolin ~ I don’t believe in hell. After studying the Bible thoroughly on the concept of hell and discovering that it has no consistent, cohesive description of this “place”, I concluded for myself with a high degree of certainty that it doesn’t exist. It saddens me that so many people, including atheists, are tormented daily by the very idea, thinking “what if?” So let’s suppose there is such a thing. Then there are questions that need to be asked: 1. What is it? Is it “outer darkness”? What is the outer darkness? Is it space? Is it a fiery pit under the earth? Is it a fiery pit in outer darkness (which makes no sense whatsoever)? Is it a physical place? Or is it a “spiritual” place of torment beyond time and space? One would think the imaginary God would think enough of us to explain this shit. The hell concept has more holes in it than the streets of Chicago. 2. What happens there? Do people just burn forever? For what intelligent reason? What burns? The “soul”? If the

Childhood’s End

By Carl S ~ O ne thing about human beings is the fact too many of them refuse to grow up. This causes troubles for the majority of us. Those who want to keep their childhood religious fantasies still have the child's worldview “everything important relates to me.” They don't want to give up their conviction some benevolent, replacement father-spirit is watching over them, so everything will work out a-ok, no matter what befalls everyone and everything. They find comfort and strength in the company of others who also want to remain children. Growing up is hard to do. It is terribly hard when religious upbringings create the conditions for one's perpetual immaturity. When a child, one thinks as a child and believes what one's been told on faith as a child, but when it comes time to become an adult, one ought to put away the things of a child. Doubting and giving in to doubts is a sign of welcoming maturity. Growing up can be hard to do when one's chronological a

The Journey

By Carl S ~ “In the beginning was The Fungus... '” N ow, many raised to believe in the “spiritual” will find themselves perplexed or insulted by that idea. They are taught almost from infancy, that a Great Spirit or Creator beyond the constraints of physics brought the Universe into existence. They have no idea where that Spirit concept, living in Its own spiritual environment, originated from. Neither do they consider the possibility that the “spiritual, mystical, revelational, transcendental,” experiences, the foundations of religions, probably originated from the effects of psychedelics found around the world. Simply put, their effects on the brain. The more one investigates that idea, the more sense it makes. Indeed, one researcher said it's likely psychedelic plants have been used in religious ceremonies for seven thousand years. They are still used in religious ceremonies. (The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 or RFRA, is cited by the religious right as the

Jesus, The Anti-Family Christ

By SHAOLIN ~ I n the make-believe world of christianity, Jesus is lauded as the greatest teacher, the wisest man that has ever walked the earth. Even more, a man without fault and worthy to be our "Lord and Savior", every knee will bow......yada, yada, yada. Christianity boasts that in this imaginary god's mind the family is the vital foundation of human life. The old testament consistently reveals, however, that god cares nothing about the family. It appears that even in the divine family the apple does not fall far from the tree. Jesus, the "son of god" is not all that family friendly himself. He might as well have been the Jim Jones of the new testament, no different than any other cult leader. There is sufficient evidence in the gospels to make this assertion. 1. Where in the gospels, particularly in the sermon on the mount, does Jesus say anything about the importance of the family? Forgiving your "brother", loving your "enemies"