Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2018

The Three Men who made Christianity

By Michael Runyan ~ I f we assume that Jesus was a real person who preached the coming of a kingdom and that he was crucified by the Romans for the crime of sedition- claiming that he would rule over a new kingdom in Judea, then we can, with a measured degree of speculation, identify three men who were instrumental in the formation of the Christian religion as it currently exists. Remove any of these three and Christianity would not exist today, or else it would be a very small sect. 1. Joseph of Arimathea Joseph must have had a personal connection to Pontius Pilate, because he was able to convince Pilate to let him take possession of Jesus’s body after only a few hours on the cross, when normally crucified people were left on their crosses for several days or even a week, long after they had died, such that the bodies decayed and were attacked by birds. He placed the body in his personal tomb and rolled the stone in place at the entrance. (The idea that a Roman guard was st

Why Sacrifice?

By Carl S ~ W hat is the big deal with “sacrifice?” Why do humans believe sacrificing one's life means the sacrifice was worth more than life itself, when so many have died for what are obviously now recognized as evil systems, tyrannies, and failed isms? When did killing become sacred? What group of sadists originally came up with sacrifice as the solution for human problems? We can understand ignorant, fearful superstitious humanoids willingly sacrificing some of their hard-won fruits and meat to appease the gods. They would be taking a gamble, and over time, if no major misfortunes happened, they'd say, “well, it worked.” When it didn't “work,” their god's reps might have thought about upping the ante: “How about if we take the very first fruits of your harvest, before you put the food into your mouths, and give them to the gods? Okay?” O.K. “Let's add more. We'll incinerate some of your veggies and herds, 'cause the gods like the aroma of burning v

Was Jesus a Real Person?

By Karen Garst ~ A few years ago at a secular conference, I met the author Richard Carrier who wrote On the Historicity of Jesus . He introduced himse lf as one of seven people who did not believe Jesus was a real person. I was curious and I ended up reading his very lengthy and thorough analysis of the question. Some of those seven include David Fitzgerald ( Nailed: Then Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed at All ) and Robert Price ( The Case Against the Case for Christ ). First, i t is important to remember that any story that gets embedded in a culture started out as an oral one. L iteracy was very limited in the distant past. These oral stories got handed down over and over again. It’s a bit like the game where you say a phrase to the first person in line and then they repeat it to the next person . If you have ever played this game, you know how distorted the initial saying can become. The first stories about Jesus did not get written down until at least

Let’s blame it on St. Augustine

By Karen Garst ~ K aren Armstrong is a well-known and respected historical author regarding the Bible and early Christian traditions. I find her work easy to read and quite fascinating. I am going to bui ld this essay on one of the more striking points in her analysis – the doctrine of original sin and St. Augustine ’s role in it contained in her book The Bible . One could say that there would be no Christianity without the prophet Jesus, whether he was a real person (most would say probably) or mostly myth ( his character shows a lot of similarity to other mythical persons ) . Assuming Jesus was a real person, e arly Christianity could still have died out as man y other mystery religions did. However, t here were key people that made a significant contribution to the continuation of Christianity and the form we see it in today. Obviously , the role of Constantine in decriminalizing Christian ity in the Roman Empire in 313 (The Edit of Milan) was crucial. However, Constanti

Christian to Jew

By Jshirls ~ I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) as an infant and introduced to the Bible by my parents as a toddler. Both sides of my family have been Christians for centuries including pastors, elders, deacons, and missionaries in my family. I made a profession of faith when I was 7 years old with an elder (who I thought was God at one point). One time I asked my parents if god was made up just like santa claus. I remember being bored at church much of the time but I tried to absorb the teaching and started reading the Bible and praying at age 7. I enjoyed fellowship with most of the members of the church. As a boy I attended a rally in which a charismatic preacher came in and did an altar call and asked teens to come up and pray a 10 second prayer to instantly become a Christian. As a teenager I learned that both of my grandfathers grew up with widowed mothers and their church did nothing to help them; I became somewhat rebellious and vacillated b

Doctrine of Original Sin

By Al Wm Johnson ~ T he history of most early religions formulated a dualistic split between spirit and body. This split put us above the Animal Kingdom. It made us superior to other creatures in Nature. This superiority of humans led to an anthropocentric view of humans. This dualistic split lead to the natural bodily instincts of humans as being inferior. This horrendous vilification, desecration, denigration, and contamination stance against human nature is due to a religious fear of human instincts. This anathematic fear led to the demonization and dehumanization of us as being sinners. For some virulent inflammatory religions there is the ugliness, cruelty, and abomination of the Doctrine of Original Sin ---> humans are corrupted by sin at birth. Isn’t there something unthinkable, repugnant, and drastically wrong to sanctimoniously preach babies are born sinful? Please, for one minute think about this ----> original sin is based on Adam and Eve disobeying God and

Not Super, Just Natural

By Tim Sledge ~ The Christian faith is supposed to be supernatural. Experiencing a new birth through Jesus is supernatural. Being made a new person by having Jesus and the Holy Spirit living inside you is supernatural. Talking to the creator of the universe and believing he hears, answers, guides, and changes things is supernatural. Accepting the Bible’s teaching that we are surrounded by an unseen spiritual world involved in a spiritual battle is supernatural. Having faith that God will show you the special plan he has for your life is supernatural. Believing that everything happens for a reason is supernatural. After living and leading in the church for decades, I saw no consistent evidence of an ongoing supernatural presence—and I wanted to see that evidence with all that was in me. I found a rather simple test for the presence of supernatural power in church congregations. One of the predominant characteristics of any non-supernatural volunteer or

The Holy Ghost and Donald Trump

By Carl S ~ Betty Alexander, 85, holds the flag quilt she made and  wants to send to President Donald Trump."The Holy Spirit just told me it should be for President Trump," she said.     Story LINK .  Picked up my wife after her church service. There were still a lot of cars in the lot. So I asked her what's happening? She said a missionary from Oregon, clear across this country, on the opposite coast, was speaking. So I asked, “What's the subject matter? She said, “The Holy Ghost.” I held my tongue. (Come on; nobody travels clear across the country to talk about the “Holy Ghost.” He's there to raise money.) My immediate thought was to ask her if another member of the congregation, Rev. Sullivan, was present. You see, some time ago, it was Rev. Sullivan, a retired pastor, who said something I still remember from a lunch attended by several church members, his wife, my wife, and me. There was a theological discussion which included the “Holy Ghost.” I,