Sketches on Atheism

Citizen Tom Concedes Jesus Did Not Say Anything New, Original, or Even Marginally Useful.

Name something new, original, or even genuinely useful Jesus said of did.

seek truthIt’s a stunningly simple question, and since banning me from his blog for asking this stunningly simple question, the evangelical Christian blogger Citizen Tom has penned four posts (some 6,000 words) trying to address the question, only to (predictably) concede that Jesus did not in fact say anything new, original, or even marginally useful (useful in so far as reducing unnecessary suffering, or enhancing human knowledge). Of course, Tom can’t actually bring himself to admit this in a structured and coherent sentence, so instead in the very last paragraph of his series (which have proceeded with all external critiques being censored) he offers an analogy as an excuse for why Jesus didn’t say anything new, original, or genuinely useful:

 “Imagine you were on a rescue mission. An evil man has kidnapped a child. He intends to confine and abuse that child for as long as he can, and you have the opportunity to stop him. How are you going to react if someone asks whether you are doing something new, original, or useful? Well, I suppose you might consider freeing that child from the clutches of an evil man useful. Nevertheless, I suspect you are also going to wonder why anyone would asks that question.”

And with that, Citizen Tom admitted (by default) that he had failed to defend his objection with anything tangible. What he did offer as the towering product of some 6,000 words was a vaporous theological opinion: that Jesus came to atone for sin through his suicide. Or in other words:

 Sacrificing himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself.

Of course, this is also nothing new. The concept of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin is as old as religion itself. Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which demanded less unnecessary suffering, but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not at all original to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have:

 “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.

Evidently, sacrifice for the atonement of sin is not new, original, or, it may be argued, meaningfully useful. What it is is a foul pedigree of primitive barbarism.

Antiquated vulgarity aside, it’s worthwhile to however quickly look at Citizen Tom’s final [non]answer because it raises a host of problems that must now be addressed. Ignoring the numerous other sages and gods and animals that have died for humanity, and the point that this notion of atonement through spilled blood is nothing but a theological opinion, not fact, and certainly without any evidence to support the theology, Tom now has to answer why did Jesus bother waiting till he was 33-iesh years old before committing Suicide by Centurion? Indeed, if dying was the only useful thing Jesus was ever going to do then why avoid Herod’s directed blades and just be killed then when he was a baby, instead of fleeing south, as the story reads. Would not the blood-sacrifice objective have been fulfilled then and there? Mission Accomplished!

Indeed, what possible purpose was served by living a single day longer than necessary if dying was the only important thing Jesus was ever going to do? Why bother having a three year ministry if every single word spoken was counterfeited from older characters and stories, a fact that only detracts from the godhood claim, not enhances it? Why bother speaking a single word if no new information was ever intended on being presented… Not even a new, more accurate cosmogony that would have genuinely wowed generations long after Jesus’ death as its truth was slowly revealed as civilisation caught up and produced corroborating evidence. Certainly, such a revealed cosmogony would have been more effective than a billion little supernatural tricks performed to impress a few Palestinian villagers who obviously weren’t even moved enough by these cheap amusements to jot down a single contemporary word about the things they allegedly saw.

I hope Citizen Tom can now spend a month or two penning a series of rambling, non-descript, evasive posts trying to answer this question, because for now, his suggestion that dying was the only useful thing Jesus did is not only completely un-original but utterly absurd given the mission could have been accomplished a few months after his birth.

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349 thoughts on “Citizen Tom Concedes Jesus Did Not Say Anything New, Original, or Even Marginally Useful.

  1. Even Justin Martyr admitted there was nothing new in Jesus.

    “And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter” (Chapter XXI.—Analogies to the history of Christ.)

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  2. Everything that Jesus taught was taught before by his Jewish people. The Jews, to their credit, went to great lengths to eliminate the sacrifice of human beings (Abraham was willing to make an exception) and so no longer believed in the power of human sacrifice at the time of gospels being written, making Christianity a religion with no connection whatsoever with its main focal point: Jesus. Jesus said that his message was not for the Gentiles (in Matthew) so Paul went ahead with that mission and redacted some of the scriptures to support that notion. (How Jesus could be God and change his mind is never addressed by such apologists.) Jesus himself would have been appalled at the idea that his death would have atoned for humanities original sin. So, it was made so. Jesus was a Jew through and through and was executed for actions against the state (represented by the Temple Sadducees). His cleansing of the Temple was the action against the Sadducees that they could no longer ignore, and since they were Roman lackeys, they got the Romans to do their job for them.

    Since dying a bloody (Eek, blood! Eek, Jewish blood!) would cost any normal person any shot at being a Messiah, which his followers truly believed, then something had to happen to rescue Jesus’s mission and messiahship. All it took was one charismatic follower who got the idea that Jesus didn’t really die, no he lived again! (A miracle, yeah, that’s the ticket!) And that one person, believing that delusion with full force could convince another that it had happened and one by one “Jesus showed himself to his loyal followers.” And so Jesus’ mission continued with his followers living … in Jerusalem .. as Jews …. and handing out in the Temple with good reputations with other Temple hanger-outers obeying all of the rules and laws of Jews, clearly showing that Jesus intended his new religion to be directed at gentiles to replace Judaism. Amazing!

    How can anyone believe the bilge that is presented as Christianity if they weren’t first indoctrinated into the idea that it was true and right and challenging it would be wrong, so don’t even think about it.

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    • Yes, yes, and yes… We know that, but the likes of Tom don’t. They see these things are literal, actual, and historical. Tom started hating me when I showed him how and why even Jewish rabbis today don’t believe the Pentateuch. That set his head a’spinning. Of course, you can’t have that because that means Jesus didn’t even know basic regional history, and that’s tremendously ungodly 😉

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    • Steve, you hit the nail on the head ! Geza Vermes who was a well respected expert on this subject maintained that Jesus was always a Jew . “Vermes concludes that Jesus did not reach out to non-Jews. For example, he attributes positive references to Samaritans in the gospels not to Jesus himself but to early Christian editing. He suggests that, properly understood, the historical Jesus is a figure that Jews should find familiar and attractive. This historical Jesus, however, is so different from the Christ of faith that Christians, says Vermes, may well want to rethink the fundamentals of their faith.[18]” (wiki)

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  3. Great post, John.

    I also find it telling that the final response involves the whole “the bus is about to run someone over” description of sin. If his analogy were correct, the evil man doing the kidnapping is invisible and goes by the name “YHWH.” The child, of course, is humanity.

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  4. So John you are saying you read 4 posts of vaporous nonsense? You are a patient man my friend.
    Great post you have here. Why do Paulites see this suicide, a suicide that isn’t verifiable, as a great thing?

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    • Suicide by Herod is just as effective, if we’re to believe the end goal.

      I did read the posts as they went up… But was not impressed by anything. In fact, they’re desperately boring and filled with walls of scripture, but i was at least curious to see where he was headed with it all. He did, after all, promise he had an answer that was going to knock everyone’s socks off. Clearly, he failed in that delivery.

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    • I only wish more of them would follow their imaginary leaders example and kill themselves for the betterment of humankind. It would sure be a lot more peaceful world, I can tell ya that, especially in the U.S. bible belt area. 🙂

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      • Well, maybe not kill themselves, but not wearing seat belts, taking medicine, seeing doctors, looking left or right before crossing the street… all those things which pro-long life.

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      • Yes. Exactly. Just speed along the passage to la la land, christains, and leave humanity be. BTW, speaking of mimicking the lord’s death, on Good Friday, here in a Chicago Hispanic community called Pilsen, every year a resident nut-bar volunteers to LITERALLY have himself nailed to a cross during a passion play conducted in the streets of that community. He hangs there, suffering, from noon til 3PM. Insane. I’d be surprised if this type of thing didn’t happen in Brazil and Mexico as well. Catholics LOVE pain, brother.

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      • No nailing, but a dude did accidentally hang himself during a big Passion reenactment a few years ago. The poor bastard was there twitching at the end of the rope and everyone thought he was just doing some great acting. Dead.

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      • Ya gotta wonder if the planet just ain’t a tad bit better off without such folks? The guys here who get nailed get un-nailed after their 3 hour dangle. So far, none have died. Maybe they need Mel Gibson’s Centurions to whip ’em first with a cat o’nine tails?

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      • I gotta say, that is ridiculous. That is extremist Christianity, similar to extremist Islam, but harming only himself. Idiots. Mind, if they did all actually kill themselves, it would leave a dent in the economy.

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  5. I guess it is possible, that the Jesus character is told to have lived at least to the age of about thirtysomething, only that people would believe he existed at all. A baby dying for the rest of humanity (or for the adherents of a single religion) might not seem important enough to atone anything since the story was told in time and age when babies died all the time. It is a central thing in the Christian story, that people are supposed to believe the story to be saved from this Jesus dude casting them into a fiery lake (or something like that) if they do not find the story plausible. It has a lot of silly and rather unplausible claims in it, so I guess anything that should make it at least a bit more plausible, is an important thing. It is a test of gullibility, because god prefers – for reasons unknown to us – gullible people, but not that gullible, that they would believe a baby dying was in any way significant.

    The human sacrifice thing is vile, and it is interresting to notice, that such a harsh culture as the Romans were actually celebrating their conquests by boasting with the fact that they stopped human sacrifice, but tolerated other religious cultures of their subject nations. While Jews did not do much human sacrifice, the notion of Jesus being a sacrifice somehow seems to resonate with a certain type of humans. it brings out some primitive element of their subconsciousness. And it indeed spoke to people within the Romano- Hellenistic culture. I guess, it is because the believers empathy towards the victim has been totally transversed in the Jesus story, so that the story kind of appeals to people who would not see human sacrifice as a good thing, as it is to most of us through our empathetic nature, while the deed is in itself an actual human sacrifice. The Christian religion has all sorts of weird mythical elements appealing to blood and such wich seem to also strongly appeal some primitive element of the mind and fears of some. Yet , it is also an obvious reason why the new religion resonated within the Roman empire, where any such were traditionally seen as barbarous.

    I remember back in the day, to have laughed my ass of as a kid to the claim one of my schoolbooks made, that the Christian conquistadors were abhorred by the human sacrifices by the Aztecs. I bet they were abhorred, but it is a bit silly, and quite hypocritical, when you think they had come to rob and enslave the entire nation and that they came from a culture in wich buring people alive for being Jews, heretics and alledgedly witches was rather common. Of course, only after having tortured them to confess that it was their own fault, that they had to be burned alive.

    What if the Jesus character had said, or done anything new, original or even remotely usefull?

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  6. because god prefers – for reasons unknown to us – gullible people, but not that gullible, that they would believe a baby dying was in any way significant.

    LOL! Beautiful! But Raut, believability is beyond the point if all that mattered was the blood offering, made to himself. Technically, the mission has been completed. The god God had already “revealed” itself in the OT, so an appearence wasn’t really needed, nor evidently required, given that JC didn’t say a single new thing.

    What if the Jesus character had said, or done anything new, original or even remotely usefull?

    Great question! I guess it comes down to what was actually said. I like the idea of a new cosmogony. Jews, of course, believed the earth was flat. Jesus believed the earth was flat. If he’d actually described the phases of the universe (in layman’s terms, of course) then we’d have to look quite seriously at the story and the character. If he’d said, for instance, the universe is expanding, then 1,900 years later Hoyle proves this, then we should be impressed. It’s a matter of credibility, isn’t it?

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  7. So you have been put on the index of dangerous comments 🙂 Looks like you unsettled him a lot. If he had to write 6000 or so words and ban you to regain his balance (if he ever did).

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    • It was odd. Never been banned before. I do always try to be polite, regardless of how wacky the other party might be. Oh well, its been entertaining seeing him produce post after post trying to convince himself he could find an answer.

      How’s things in Europe, my learned friend? Spring arrived yet?

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      • You obviously got something right. Being attacked by the other side like that is a sign of having had some impact.
        Spring arrived weeks ago, but it is still cold. There is no real winter again, just a new kind of season. One could call it “sprinter” or “wing”. We have had days with 18 °C already, but in the night there is sometimes still frost. Real winter weather has become rare.

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      • Here the weather started to change, as far as I can remember, around 1988. Thats when winters (not all of them but many) started to by rainy instead of snowy. I remember it was then that I first thought that climate change had obviously started (I had only read about it in some science magazines before). In the 1960s and 1970s we always had high snow and it was cold often far into April. But now the warm days start coming, sometimes, in February. That would have been unthinkable back then.

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      • If you can believe it, we’re in the middle of Brazil’s worst drought on record. This is the country referred to as the Saudi Arabia of fresh water. The major reservoir to SP was at 8% capacity until a few weeks ago. We’ve since had some rain and its now at 16%… but heading into what should be the ‘dry season.’ Big problems afoot.

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      • I am afraid that will not become better on the long term. Climate change plus deforestation. Deforestation also means that the forest is no longer there as a storage of water (and producer of clouds), so when it does rain, the water just runs off (and might be causing floods). Brazil should really (I mean REALLY) stop deforestation (but I don’t see it being done, to the contrary).

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  8. I remember this Tom. He was quite annoyed with me some time ago and never replied to one of my comments. I thought it rather rude of him, but I now I understand that he had bigger fish to fry, but failed to fry them. Keep on blogging in a free world – The False Prophet

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      • Tom seems to have issues, true that. I fear that he fails to see them. Another problem I often see with theists is that they think they have answered a question whereas in fact … they haven’t. When it comes to logical fallicies, theists have truly mastered the skills of using them. I will be reading more of you. Keep on blogging and annoyting Tom 😀 – The False Prophet

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  9. I have never understood why suicide was necessary.
    First: it is considered a mortal sin by the very church he supposedly kicked started.
    Second: he didn’t really die as he woke up after the weekend and simply farked off to heaven to be with his dad.
    Third: why, as a god, didn’t he simply do the whole dominoes, spirits and sanctions hand wave thing like the pope and finish with a simple. ”You are forgiven. Now don’t do it again!”

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      • What i find particularly interesting, and which is always overlooked, is that there doesn’t exist a single physical description of the man, let alone any contemporary note, or even some graffiti. But a description, wouldn’t that (shouldn’t that) be given?

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      • Of course. It is disingenuous to suggest he would have gone unnoticed, and this is where the veracity of such miracles as the feeding of the 5 and 4 thousand respectively come into play.
        In context, these crowds are huge.
        You’ve seen the Life of Brian.

        It suggests he had a large following and was well known in the area and environs.
        He certainly got short shrift in his ”home town”.
        Stunts like this bring sharply into question whether he truly was an historical figure?

        The denial of him being a ”real person” has been like the Sword of Damocles over the neck of every non-Christian biblical scholar.
        To suggest such a thing is/was to commit professional suicide.
        So, if the non-christian scholar is ”allowed” to dismiss the miracles, what remains?
        Was it Crossan, who stated we can only consider 20% of what the bible records as Jesus’ words as being ”his” own? And my gut tells me Crossan is hedging.
        If you strip away the miracles and the hyperbole there really is nothing left.
        Even the crucifixion becomes nothing but symbolism.
        I’ve mentioned before that Ehrman is also hedging, and I stand by that – I reckon in hs heart of hearts he already knows Jesus is a narrative construct and so do the majority of professional theologians – including the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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      • An amalgam of numerous crisis-cultists rolled up with dreams and aspirations and packaged into an east-to-transport metafictional narrative which got tremendously misinterpreted when it reached the northern diaspora first in Syria, and then Turkey… That’s how I see it. You look at the Gospel of Thomas (which I’ve heard suggested pre-dates Pauls letters) and it seems to support this idea. It reads like a bulleted point-form script. The character does nothing but speak in easy-to-remember koans.

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    • He’s God. If he wants to be righteous, that is in the right, he must be just, so he cannot just say you are all forgiven. He says, I will put something in the place of you, and that was Jesus. Jesus than had to bear the weight of that punishment. If he was just a man, than Christianity falls flat on its face, but if he was God, than he has the strength to take our punishment for us.

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      • If he was a god, and presumably able to do anything he wanted, why did he have to die/allow himself to be killed?
        What was the reason a blood sacrifice was required? After all he made the rules and then killed himself.

        Second, how did dying take away our ”sins”?

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      • Start with your second comment. Dying took away our ‘sins’. He bore all the punishment for all the people on earth as he was god. This meant that if you believe he had the power to do that, then he has done it for you. There is no remaining punishment for ‘sins’.
        Now for the first comment. This was a question that I had near the start of my ‘faith’. What is God’s ultimate purpose, in creating the world and humanity. It was to glorify his son. This was the best way to do it. Secondly, the fact that Jesus died is part of why I believe. That he would have the commitment to die for his belief in God, means that I trust him. If he had waved his hand, I would have said whatever.

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  10. Apologies John that I’m joining this post late. I did NOT intend to be so slow getting here, but as you may have surmised over on another wonderful blog, I was doing all sorts of new Chicken-dances! 😮

    My first comment on this great point and post will be this…

    I’ve always included in my dialogue with Xian apologists or evangy-fundies if time and tempers allow(!) 😉 … a similar question: What makes and justifies the Xian faith universally exclusive and unique!?

    As I’m sure you’ve learned like I have over 24-years, Xian apologists are TRAPPED within their own Greco-Roman mandates. If they try to go outside the synoptic gospels and 1-3 early Roman church-father’s letter(s) sent to struggling congregations, they RISK undermining their 325 CE mandated “protection”! Hence, all the never-ending circular arguments strictly within Xian sources. It’s really an impossible position to defend.

    Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on this delightful post. I may have more. 😀

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    • Morning Professor! Good question, and certainly hitting at the same theme. It’s always interesting to see the apologist enter the subject thoroughly confident that it’s the most ridiculous question ever asked, only to very quickly find themselves in a strange and awkward universe of confusion and disappointment. From Lao Tzu to Siddhartha Gautama, from Zoroastrianism and Jainism to Hinduism and Judaism there is nothing at all original in anything Jesus said (or did), and this tends to come as quite a surprise to the wide-eyed apologist who has been lead to believe they’re sitting on quite a unique and original story. From that perspective it’s a great exercise to lead the apologist through. Of course, they, like my friend Tom, object till their blue in the face, but ultimately the seed has been sown, and that seed, we can only hope, fosters a permanent rot eating away at the utter nonsense these people believe.

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      • You’ve given me the image of an osterich sticking its head deep in the sand when evangies & apologists refuse to gaze into a kaleidoscope of valid wider lenses on the entire subject & peripherals of their faith. But I do truly emphathize with their terror of no hero from a horribly wrathful God — who gets off & ego-stroked on complete & utter human disempowerment & intellectual suicide — but also their terror of looking like an evil traitor to their fellow believers. Seriously, how many people have the courage & determination to not only to thoroughly question, but walk a/n (very?) unpopular path? That doesn’t jive with our primal gregarious DNA.

        I know this because I was once in their shoes walking proudly & as confidently as they are today with the same horse-blinders. From Lawana Blackwell…

        Patterning your life around other’s opinions [or Greco-Roman-Constantinian consructs?] is nothing more than slavery.

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  11. “How do you give something away with the knowledge that you will get it back in three days, and then claim it to be the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’?”
    ― Jake Jesser”

    Women giving birth, and men (and women and children) in war zones, not to mention natural disasters and famine, have suffered before death far more that Jesus purportedly did. The whole sacrificial nonsense was meant to emotionally manipulate people and keep the coffers full, and it worked like a charm.

    As far as Tom the teabilly goes, we have two more neurological studies published this past month which compliment several other previous neurological studies showing that those who are fearful tend to be politically conservative, meaning they have found their emotional centers associated with fear, disgust and aggression very active, with increased gray matter volume (larger right amygdala).

    In other words,Tom is scared chitless of you. 😉

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  12. And since most christians consider existence to begin at the point of conception, all that was really required for mission success was a spontaneous abortion in the womb. It’s ridiculous, of course, but this line of reasoning really illuminates how silly the concept of a god sacrificing himself to save others truly is.

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  13. Pingback: On a Blog Far Away | ladysighs

  14. Mr. Zande,

    I was led here by a link on a post about you. Something about being naked, I’m not too sure.

    I’ll admit to only reading this one post (but not all the links. I only have one life and cannot waste what time I have left!) and must admit to being a little confused. Please allow me to explicate.

    As I have come to the understanding that you question the word of God and have not yet been stuck down by the Almighty, the quotation that ‘he doth protest too loudly’ springs to mind. Are you not, in fact, a closet believer who is trying reverse psychology on us poor saps? You know the scriptures and are well versed in the actions of the One and Only Lord Jesus Christ.

    Ok, I can’t keep that up much longer, I’m pi**ing myself here.

    In all honesty though, you poke a viper and it’s going to bite and that’s exactly what you have done to that poor, delusional person. Now he has banned you as it has dawned upon him that the pen and logical argument is greater than the best selling fiction written by numerous authors (sic).

    Your dedication is commendable but don’t you find it tedious? I could not read all that tripe without going insane!

    As for helping the believers meeting their creator early, or even assisting them wherever possible (and legal), Darwin’s Law deals with that, even if they deny his work.

    I have just started following you and look forward to your next argument and may even add something a little more constructive, as long as you don’t expect me to quote any scripture, even if I was a Catholic!

    YDx

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  15. Only 6000 words? You’re obviously dealing with an amateur. A professional Christian author would have released a multi-volume set.

    Apologetics: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

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    • Damn, I had to look Mimesis up. That’s an interesting proposal, though. Given the limited “professional” writing jobs around at the time its not at all strange to posit that these “professionals” operated like a sort of guild in practicing their art, honouring other works through imitation. Interesting stuff!

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  16. Pingback: Goodbye Citizen Tom | The Divine Spark Within

  17. Once again, I disagree. Jesus had to die on the cross when he did, of course he did, he was God wasn’t he? Of he had died when Herod wanted him dead, what would have happened? Well, we would all be atoned for our sins if we had faith that Jesus was God and so could actually do that. But if he was a baby, what evidence could he have given that he was God. Yes, he could have come down to earth guns blazing, or holy fire blazing, whatever, and then jumped on his own sword, but would that convince us, the critical people that we are? And if he struck enough fear into our hearts that we did turn ourselves over to him, we wouldn’t do so whole heartedly, as true faith in Jesus requires. He would not be able to save us, because we would not trust him or have faith in him.
    So maybe he could have given cures for the all the diseases and completed the science of the world. Then we would trust him and he could die for us. But then he wouldn’t be just, which is an essential part of who God is. He would be making Earth perfect for us, so we wouldn’t need him to save us. Doing that would be wrong for God’s plan for so many reasons. (exaggeration, just several, as above).
    I would say that he died at about the perfect time to save as many as he could while still being just. I mean, apparently there are 1 000 000 000 people who believe in Jesus. (exaggeration, but in which direction?).
    Now my turn. What do you believe? Are you an atheist? Really?
    You criticise my religion but have a major flaw in your thinking. At the end our respective lives, if you are right and I am wrong, then we are dust molecules who did nothing and will do nothing again. We did nothing together because I wasted my time on religion, while you wasted it on a blog, or whatever rubbish you get up to. We both had fun, so leave that out of it, I enjoy myself. Of course, you had the philosophical high ground. But we are both dead so who cares?
    However, if I am right and you are wrong, then you get eternal suffering in the worst of places, a constant agony. I get eternal life, with the feast in heaven, with a God who cares, with a billion brothers and sisters.
    Which option sounds better? I think I’ll stick with my religion, ill founded though it may be.

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    • “However, if I am right and you are wrong, then you get eternal suffering in the worst of places, a constant agony. I get eternal life, with the feast in heaven, with a God who cares, with a billion brothers and sisters. Which option sounds better?.”

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      • Essential. He gave us a choice. You get to chose where you want to be, in the end.
        Remember, we deserve the suffering, because we stuffed up his original perfect world by choosing to disobey him. He could have wiped us off the planet, yet he gave us the chance to live. Anyway, some people who are Christians don’t believe in hell for that exact reason. They believe that you will get eternal ‘nothingness’.
        Thanks for all the comments guys, food for thought and whatnot.

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      • Jollyman, you did not ask to be born. You had no choice in the matter. You’ve been programmed — your brain wired to believe this anti-human rhetoric, and let me tell you — if there was no money to be made, and if you didn’t contend with death anxiety, Christianity would cease to exist. You’ve been lied to, deceived and emotional manipulated for filthy lucre’s sake.

        ““If an idea can’t stand on its own truthfulness, it has to find another way to survive. And often the way that happens is by the gradual, unintentional, or intentional refinement of the highjacking of our emotional architecture. Possibly the most effective, most powerful way a belief could do this would be to devalue or eliminate all other sources of self-affirmation— which Christianity does with devastating efficacy—so that there is no hope, or beauty, or meaning, and more importantly, no integrity of the self without it.”

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      • “If a belief can do this to you, you will have almost no chance of being able to critically evaluate its truthfulness. Christianity alters your identity to ensure the survival of itself. And the ones who are the most vulnerable to this message are the ones who already deal with the insecurity of feeling like they are not good enough: young people who want to understand love and truth, and what it means to be good, which is the very nature of being an adolescent. And to them, as the adults they trust and look up to, while believing we are doing what is loving, we tell them that you can never be good enough—unless you accept this: this is what love is, this is what you deserve for your flaws. That is the Gospel—the death of Jesus has no meaning unless you first believe that it should have been you.”

        Source: https://youtu.be/aa5FDATiErk

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      • No I did not ask to be born. Neither did you. I notice that you haven’t answered my question, something that we Christians cannot do either it appears. Neither side has answered the question.
        Isn’t it better to go through the world with some hope that you will not become a dust molecule, that you did nothing in life that matters? I mean, you are going to die someday, science cannot change that, but religion might. No I don’t mean you will live forever, but you may live forever in a new world. Science cannot help you, but a God can.
        Both of us have biased opinions that we attempt to augment with facts but in the end, nothing matters in your world view. What you do now is what counts, so by your world view, do whatever you want, and have fun in life.
        By my world view, I enjoy being part of the Christian faith. You may be cynical about it, but I enjoy it. Is that more wrong than your view?
        It still comes down to the fact that I first mentioned. If you are right, you and I are both nothing; if I am right, I gain the world and you lose it.

        Why have you started this blog?
        Is it so that you can cause people to have doubts about their faith. In your scientific view, that is a terrible thing to do to someone, to tear up their world, and make them face the reality that they are NOTHING!
        Is it that you know that a religion is right, and you are categorically trying to find one that fits science. You know that no religion will fit science, for God made science. God is on the outside of all things because he made them.
        Is it that you enjoy proving people wrong. If that is so, please continue. You are doing a fantastic job, and as none of us matter in the end, as we are all nothing, your enjoyment now is all that matters.

        God cannot be wrong by your view. He serves a purpose, to distract people from the horrible reality that YOU are NOTHING.

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      • Jollyman, after many years studying the Bible as a devout believer, I chose to leave Christianity for moral, ethical reasons. Yahweh, Jesus’ daddy is a celestial dictator — but many people who’ve been deeply indoctrinated, like you, like I was, can’t see this (deactivated neural circuitry due to attachment) and/or will justify this behavior because they are fearful of the indoctrination of hell and have a very difficult time facing their mortality.

        I put this short video together, taking quotes from John’s blogs. These quotes come from conservative rabbis, distinguished biblical archaeologists and scholars. You can find many more where these came from, as John has painstakingly posted them in several posts (one noted at the end of the video), all of which show that the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) are myth. These findings impact the credibility of Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So you believe there is no true purpose in life? That we are a bunch of atoms that luckily got together. I know this argument is old, but you think that the whole universe is a chance meeting. I find this explanation more unacceptable. Yes, I have had a Christian upbringing and you say it inhibits my ability to believe other things, but science loses as many answers as it finds.
        No explanation seems like it could be possible except one with a God, because if there is a God, it makes sense that we cannot understand everything.
        Mortality? I know I will die. That’s life. Christianity is hope. Science is not. Science is a branch of religion that thinks that you are pure chance, that you do not matter. Maybe we don’t, but then why are you trying to discredit religion? If nothing matters, why change anything in the world.
        Moral and ethical reasons?
        Nice clip.

        Like

      • Hi Jolliman, thanks for watching the clip. You wrote:

        “So you believe there is no true purpose in life? That we are a bunch of atoms that luckily got together. I know this argument is old, but you think that the whole universe is a chance meeting.

        True purpose? You mean like living? Is your purpose on Earth to do everything you believe your choice of god wants you to do so you can save your hide from hell? Is that living? Dare I say — no it is not. What good parent would tell their children that they are loved, but if they don’t love them back, there is an eternal inferno prepared for them?

        “Mortality? I know I will die. That’s life. Christianity is hope. Science is not. Science is a branch of religion that thinks that you are pure chance, that you do not matter. Maybe we don’t, but then why are you trying to discredit religion? If nothing matters, why change anything in the world. Moral and ethical reasons?

        You will die and then be resurrected and live for eternity. Isn’t that the hope? That you won’t “really” die if you behave and worship the “right” god? That’s death anxiety, and that is one of the reasons humans created gods. You just so happened to accept the god of your culture, Yahweh, Jesus’ daddy, a war god of the Iron/Bronze age.

        Jolliman, I do matter. I matter to my friends, my loved ones, my pets. I matter as a citizen of this planet. I matter with the work I do. I matter as a mother. I matter as a lover. I matter as a friend. I matter as a daughter. I matter as a granddaughter, I matter as a sister and so on. So, none of that matters to you? Only the big honcho in the sky that solely requires faith to believe “he” exists?

        Are you capable of being ethical/moral without the belief that a god is watching you 24/7?

        But if truth be told, your god, Yahweh, has much lower standards, ethically, than I do. There might be a creator, but if it’s Yahweh, I will not lower my standards to worship such a god in order to reserved a spot in heaven.

        You wrote: why are you trying to discredit religion?

        Discredit? My question to you is why are you defending a religion that condemns anyone who doesn’t believe in your god, condones and promotes war, slavery, the subjugation of women, corporal punishment, genocide and mass slaughters of unbelievers in Yahweh, stealing other people’s property and virgin girls for sex slaves. Don’t you read your Bible?

        You wrote “If nothing matters, why change anything in the world.”

        Again, I ask you — are you only ethical because of your belief in Yahweh, and a hope for reward?

        “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” ~Albert Einstein

        Liked by 1 person

    • He would be making Earth perfect for us, so we wouldn’t need him to save us. Doing that would be wrong for God’s plan for so many reasons.

      Are you saying that it is your belief that your particular Middle Eastern god created the earth purposefully full of suffering and misery so it could extract submissive devotion from the things it created ?

      What a strange but thoroughly intriguing belief to hold. It can be summarised, I think, this way:

      Knock, knock
      Who’s there?
      It’s me, Jesus. Let me in.
      Why?
      Because I have to save you.
      From what?
      From what I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me.

      Like

      • I love knock knock jokes. But that’s what that joke is, a joke.
        The world was perfect remember. Than we stuffed it up. So instead of wiping us off the planet, he gave us the chance at new life in heaven. However, to be completely just and fair, he had to dish out the punishment, hence a world with suffering.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, no, it’s not a joke at all. That is a robust summary of Christian theological thought, articulated in thirty-two words. If you’re interested, I can, however, do it in ten.

        Jesus sacrificed himself,
        to himself,
        to save humanity from himself.

        Is that better?

        The world was perfect remember

        No, no I don’t remember, and I certainly don’t see any indication of this ever being true. We have quite remarkable evidence for all of earth’s ages, and this era you allude to doesn’t seem to be found anywhere in the planets history. Do you have a date for this historical passage? Also, can you perhaps provide the evidence which clearly shows that there was once an armistice between all living and not-so living things… evidence for a time when fire did not burn flesh, and water did not drown babies?

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    • Haha! An all-powerful, all-knowing, all-perfect God had a perfect plan, but somehow man phucked it up. Comedy gold.

      And how do you know you won’t be facing Odin in the afterlife? You’d better hope you die in battle so you don’t forfeit your opportunity to spend eternity in Valhalla.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I will concede on nothing new or original. However, useful would be subjective not objective so that’s not really valid. However, my question to you is this, why would it be a requirement of Jesus to bring something new or original if He was fulfilling a prophecy?

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      • Why wouldn’t he? At the very least a new (non flat earth) cosmogony would have been good. If the only purpose was to die (the blood sacrifice) then he should have just been murdered by Herod, as the story goes. Mission accomplished! He didn’t, though. He actually conducted a three year ministry, so the story goes. A three year ministry to say what? Absolutely nothing that hadn’t already been said before, and often said much, much better, and not a single scrap of “useful” information. Rather pointless waste of time, wouldn’t you say?

        Like

      • The three year ministry was to prove that He was the Messiah. I would argue that is QUITE useful and important. That being said, why would he need to argue for a non-flat earth since the Scripture he inspired didn’t claim that to begin with as I told you on another blog?

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      • Do you even know what He did during his three year ministry? Tons of miracles, including raising a man from the dead.

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      • None of those “miracles” were new. Dionysius, for one, did all those things like walk on water and turn water into wine. Resurrection of the dead is also nothing new. In the Old Testament alone there are three occasions: Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow, Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman, and a dead man comes back to life when he touches Elisha’s bones.

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      • A generation before Jesus, Simon of Peraea was called the messiah by the Jews, lead an uprising, was killed by the Romans, and was then commanded by Gabriel “to rise from the dead within three days”. Dionysius was crucified and rose after three days and ascended in heaven. So awkward was this particular similarity that Origen was forced to address the matter in his Contra Celsus.

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      • The term “usefull” may just as well refer to objective as it refers to the subjective. For us to examine it in an objective perspective it only needs to be determined usefull to whom and for what. It would seem obvious in what sense, to whom and how the question defines usefull. However, to explain as much, if we assume Jesus appeared in benefit of the entire human kind, then that is who and for what we can get rather close to objectively usefull, as in beneficial to human kind. Right?

        If the entire lifespan of Jesus and especially his ministry and fulfilling some prophesies was to convince people, or prove that he really is a flesh and blood son of a god in the same sense as Osiris, Heracles, or Achilleus, rather than just a man that abides to the Mosaic law, like the pathriarchs of old, as the religious Jews viewed the term, then he pretty much botched the job. Did he not?

        Most contemporaries were not convinced. Same appleis to most people even today some two millenia since his time. In fact most people who believe this story about him today are the descendants of people who were coerced often in shockingly violent ways. What they believe is a resulf of generations of systematic indoctrination, that claims it is a virtue to have faith in this particular fairy tale. Why is faith even required? Because reason goes against it.

        Add to injury, that the alledgedly most important proof and most wondrous miracle of resurrection he bothced totally, by performing while there was nobody even watching. Only few people who were willing and superstitious enough to belive this nonsense fell for the story. What an under-performance from the alledged creator of the entire universe?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Credible evidence? Contemporary evidence? LOL!

      David, to remind you, this post isn’t even about litigating the nonsense supernatural claims. We’re dealing here just with the things allegedly said and done… Things said and done by a person you claim was the Creator of the Universe, yet despite speaking for three years failed to actually say a single new or original or genuinely useful thing.

      Odd, huh?

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      • Sorry David, but the benefits of explaining to frightened, ignorant people that epilepsy, for example, was not in fact demonic possession, rather a neurological disorder that required care, not being stoned to death as believed and exercised by 1st century Palestinians, is not an “opinion.”

        And again, if the single purpose of the earthly sojourn was to simply perform the blood sacrifice (the notion itself nothing at all new) then that could have been achieved in a matter of months by simply dying at the end of Herod’s directed blade. Mission Accomplished!

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      • Not even sure what your first paragraph is even trying to convey. And dying at the end of Herod’s blade would not have fulfilled prophecy.

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      • To remind you, “useful is your opinion,” you said. As I have demonstrated, it’s not an “opinion” to reduce actual suffering.

        Ah, he had to fulfill the prophecy, huh? You mean by sending men to the village ahead to find him a donkey so he could ride in Jerusalem?

        (Matthew 21:2) saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.

        Isn’t it amazing how the donkey prophecy was “fulfilled” by someone who already knew what the prophecy predicted? Quite convincing! LOL!

        (Zechariah 9:9) Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

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      • I am not going to get into a ridiculous prophecy debunking session here with a Creationist like yourself. Sorry. That sort of nonsense belongs only in the halls American bible schools.

        To repeat what I said earlier: this post isn’t even about litigating the nonsense supernatural claims. We’re dealing here just with the things allegedly said and done… Things said and done by a person you claim was the Creator of the Universe, yet despite speaking for three years failed to actually say a single new or original or genuinely useful thing.

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      • He healed a man of leprosy, made a lame man (actually several) walk, made several blind men see, raised Lazarus from the dead, cast out demons from a tormented woman, saved a woman from the death penalty. Yeah I guess you must be right, he didn’t reduce ANY suffering at all…..or else you must have a pretty absurd definition of suffering.

        Here is what Webster’s says:

        suffering
        noun
        : pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc. : physical, mental, or emotional pain

        sufferings : feelings of pain

        I believe all of the scenarios I listed would qualify under the definition of suffering.

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      • Tell me you’re trying to be silly here?

        Ignoring the fact that you are citing supernatural claims that have no corroborating evidence, these storyline “events” are nothing but one-offs. The human condition was not advanced one inch. No knowledge was imparted. No genuinely useful truth was shared so it could be used.

        You are citing circus tricks.

        Show me something people to this day say, “You know, we’re damn lucky Jesus told people this, it has saved millions of lives in the last 2,000 years, and reduced untold amounts of suffering.”

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      • That whoever believes in him will have eternal life. That is very applicable and saves anyone who receives it from suffering.

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      • David, as I said, I’m not interested in litigating supernatural claims here, or for that, flighty theological promises which you can never substantiate. I can make up any claim I want, but that claim—that promise—means exactly zero to you, or anyone else, if I can’t demonstrate that it’s real. Would you accept my claim as somehow “valid” if I told you the Great Lord Veles (Peace Be Upon His Robust Form) will deposit 18,000 gold bars on your great granddaughter’s doorstep if you run naked down the street this instant hollering “I’m a teapot, I’m a teapot!

        I doubt it. I hope, therefore, you can appreciate my position here in regards to your last comment.

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      • Not really, There is plenty of evidence as to why we can consider the Bible a trustworthy account.

        We know that there was a historical crucifixion and we also know there was an uprising due to a man being worshiped named Jesus. Now, why do you think these would be occurring? Certainly the Romans were not interested is someone healing people on the Sabbath.

        That being said, if you are not interested in supernatural claims then you aren’t interested in Truth.

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      • Do you accept the supernatural claims of the Hindu or the Muslim? Do you believe Muhammad rode to Jerusalem on a Pegasus? Do you accept Dionysus turned water into wine?

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      • No. But then we get into an apologetic argument about which God is real. You said, you don’t accept the supernatural period.

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      • Exactly. So, at best, you’re conceding you lied by saying I’m not interested in truth. At worst, you’re admitting to being a hopeless hypocrite.

        Hypocrites, David, are very hard to converse with, I hope you understand.

        Now, what I said is that I’m not interested in litigating nonsense supernatural claims (or flighty theological promises) here as that is beyond the scope of the question asked.

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      • Well might I ask you why you persist on being so brain haemorrhagingly ignorant?

        Yes, ignorant would have been a far better word, so I apologise for poor word choice, not the content.

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      • Ignorant? Lacking knowledge or awareness in general? Uneducated? I am sorry, none of the definition actually pertains to me. Thanks.

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      • I believe the burden of proof (since you love that subject) would be on you to prove my ignorance based on the definition.

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      • @David

        Did you need some more straws to grasp at, or shall I head to the store to get some more?

        David said:

        He healed a man of leprosy, made a lame man (actually several) walk, made several blind men see, raised Lazarus from the dead, cast out demons from a tormented woman, saved a woman from the death penalty.

        (bolding mine)

        I like JZ’s circus tricks analogy, but also consider the limited scope of what Jesus did (as described by David).

        Why did he cure just one case of leprosy? Is there a limit to the power of his magic healing juice? If you are the Great BadAss from the MF’n Sky you cure ALL the leprosy, and you do it before goddamned BREAKFAST.

        As in *poof* that disease that I created earlier and that is afflicting all you sorry sods just got its license to kill revoked – Love Big “J”.

        Now that would be something to put in a bible.
        —–

        More David:

        However, useful would be subjective not objective so that’s not really valid.

        (bolding by me)

        Why does almost every christian become a fracking philosophical-grammarian when posed a simple question? Reminds me of dudes trying to explain how awesome egalitarianism is to radical feminists… ;P

        Is “useful” a difficult term to grasp?

        I’m pretty sure the term can be understood without having to evoke Foucault’s ghost to encrapulate the discussion while quietly strangling clarity in a dark ally.

        JZ’s question is hard to answer not because of any syntactic trick or metaphorical wordplay; it is hard to answer because it cannot be done without evoking magic and the notion that,”because I believe it to be true, it must be true.”

        Those tactics don’t work when arguing with adults, or those you cannot bully into submission.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. A meta analysis of JZ and David for David’s sake…

    David: You immediately dismiss anything supernatural which means you aren’t interested in truth.

    JZ: Again, do you accept that Dionysus turned water into wine?

    David: No, as I have already stated, but once again that is a misdirection of what we are actually discussing.

    A point that could be taken here is that David, you claim not to believe in the magic that Dionysus allegedly performed. Here, you are actually in agreement with the atheistic proposition that people was magical powers don’t exist.

    The next step though is applying the logical extension of the argument – that people with magical powers don’t exist – to your claims.

    Which leads to this:

    Why believe in christian magic, but not Greek magic?

    You are being hypocritical when you say the other people’s magic doesn’t exist, but “clearly” your particular magic does.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Real sacrifice is when someone allows harm to come to himself, in order to reduce the harm of another. A soldier diving on a grenade to save his buddies is sacrifice. If Jesus was a god, and his “sacrifice” was planned, isn’t this god a bit like a soldier pulling a pin on a grenade and then jumping on it himself to be a hero? Why pull the pin in the first place?

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  21. Firstly, this is my very favorite phrase:”… towering product of some 6,000 words was a vaporous theological opinion…” Yay for that! Love it and I will probably steal it at some point.
    I can rarely comment on your actual posts John because you are simply too smart for me. And, risking duplicating someone else’s comment here because I haven’t read through all 3,000…. I think one of the things Jesus did that was different was present the third way: neither fight nor flight but holding the opposites right in the middle. A perfect victimhood, creating no victims in turn, and not using his life circumstance as an excuse for self-pity (the traditional victim, in the corner licking wounds, looking for someone to blame). Anyway, that’s what has been relevant for me, something to really sink my nails into if I were capable of growing them. (Oh, wait! I just realized I made a terrible pun — the sinking of nails when referring to Jesus, who of course was crucified. Completely unintentional and even crass but I’ll congratulate myself nonetheless.) All the words, I’m not sure. Because they are just words.
    xxxxx

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    • What’s mine is yours, my fine potter friend!

      Now, that is an interesting suggestion: a third, middle way. Can’t say for sure, but wouldn’t, however, Buddha (and perhaps the Jain’s) also meet this outward disposition? Total non-violence, but directed and purposeful nonetheless?

      I have a Jesus joke, too: Place your wrist up to your mouth and chew, asking, “What’s this?” Answer: “Jesus chewing his nails” 🙂

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  22. Terrible joke! Rufina is splendid, thank you, laying eggs almost every day which is more than previous 2 yrs. I suspect she’s been doing yoga, for if what my very devoted teacher tells us in class is true, she seems to be growing younger from the inside out.

    Maybe the difference between Buddha vs. Jesus is that Buddha didn’t suffer, he wasn’t a participant in anything except the general “life is suffering” life, although so full of wisdom and even enlightenment. I think the OT spends a lot of time on fight vs. flight response to various injustices. while Jesus does neither, but holds the coincidence of opposites, the gray area, the “both” rather than “either/or”. Even the symbology of the cross — uniting N-S-E-W, between the “good” thief and “bad”. The third way. In my opinion the scriptures, at least NT, are infinitely more interesting and thought-worthy when read as story, allegory, whatever, instead of historical documents alone, which as you would know better than I, cannot withstand that type of assessment. I think it’s necessary to literally be out of one’s mind, or I should say, not in your right mind (left brain loves this sort of meaning-beyond-words) to get a sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – On Dogma | Dead Wild Roses

  24. Hi John

    I was interested to follow your recent exchange on ColorStreams blog. I have to complement you for remaining calm given the extreme provocation. I do think I understand something of CS’ philosophy. I had shared this quote with MAK and I think it is worth repeating as it helps one to understand why CS is looking to edit comments, remove and change links and even remove whole comments:

    “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” quote from Martin Luther.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sums it up perfectly, Peter. Yeah, Colorstorm is an oddity, but ultimately I think the seeds we sow are getting in. He knows, for example, that Moses was not a real historical character. I’ve been through it with him countless times, which is precisely why he insists on claiming the opposite post after post after post. If somewhere down the line he starts to actually assess this information, and apply it, then some ground has been made.

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      • Hey Victoria

        Want to hear something odd? I have a great deal of respect for you, John, and many others. There is no doubt where you all stand in this issue. Peter, on the other hand is somewhat of a different story, as he seems to be basically adopting an non believing stance, and continues to teach believers. Yes, that is dangerous.

        Peace

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      • Not a thing wrong with questioning. I’m all for that, just as I am all for taking a stand for what one believes. The issue I have with Peter is he is teaching believers. Look, just for the sake of integrity a person who no longer believes should not do that. Not debating the specifics of my beliefs, but a person who no longer believes them to be true, teaching about them, is in fact a danger to them. My only point to Peter, and I hope he sees this as I really don’t like talking about an absent blogger, is get off of the fence, pick your side, and drive on.

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      • Wally, essentially, what you are doing is telling Peter to hurry up the process— leave some stones unturned. Is that how you became a Christian—didn’t take the time to thoroughly study and came under the pressure of your fellow men? Or, perhaps the pressure of your parents, and your culture?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, my comfort level with talking about Peter when he is not around to help clarify is quite low, so I’m going to defer more talk about him. To me, that’s somewhat disrespectful, and I would like to avoid it.

        Me? Actually, Victoria, you no nothing about me other than the assumptions you make about how people arrive at faith. My particular stone turning took 45 years of my life, and was done will little or no real influence from either my parents or my culture. My father was, in fact, and atheist, and my mother was a completely non practicing Christian.

        My arrival at faith did, in fact, come after years of resistance and fighting. In fact, not too many years ago, I would have been making the same points as you make now. That’s just some background for you to help you understand that I am not here because of childhood instruction or indoctrination, but of my own free will and critical thought.

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      • Sadly John, you are correct in that.

        Nonetheless, from the standpoint of my world view, even you and Victoria can see that, obviously I don’t consider that right. Kudos to you two for boldly standing for what you believe, even if I don’t agree. We should all do that. Openly and honestly. That’s my only point, really.

        Although, I suspect you find the idea of atheist pastors quite amusing and entertaining. I however, do not.

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      • “Although, I suspect you find the idea of atheist pastors quite amusing and entertaining. I however, do not.”

        Wally, there is a lot a person has to deal with when they leave the fold. I suspect that you are clueless, otherwise you wouldn’t be expecting Peter to rush things up and get off the fence — even though it apparently took you 45 years to come to your conclusion about your belief. So what’s up with that?

        However, Peter opened himself up to you all on Tom’s post explaining what’s going on with him and how difficult it has been for him, and you appear to lack compassion. Then you act all Christian-like, in a smug way, stating that Peter is aligning with the A-team.

        Exactly what business is this of yours who he “aligns” himself with?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Victoria

        You are actually correct. Who another person chooses to follow individually is not my monkey and not my circus.

        Given what I believe and my vested interest, and even responsibility to the purity of The Lord’s church, it is certainly my business if people who profess belief but do not have it are in roles as teachers in it.

        But, any further discussion of that man’s situation is, in fact, better discussed with him personally.

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      • No, Wally, you’ve made it everybody’s business by coming on a public blog and telling Peter to make up his mind on your timetable. What part of “Peter still has a belief in God” did you not understand? Over 41,000 Christian denominations/sects with their own interpretation, and you’re concerned because Peter doesn’t buy into your interpretation of Christianity.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. No Pete, I don’t ‘change’ links; just send them to the toxic waste site. That is called a false statement by the way.

    hey jz- nice try: ‘He knows that Moses was not a real historical person.’ Now THAT is called a lie my friend.

    You have read and exchanged enough to know you would like it to be so, but there is no ambiguity in my words.

    And to you both:

    ‘He made the stars also.’ Ever seen such glory in five short words……

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    • Hi CS. First up, if you actually bother to read what is written you’ll see it was Citizen Tom who changed the links destination, not you. You simply exercise massive censorship… the type of censorship that would make the Chinese blush: editing people’s comments, deleting them, and removing links. It’s the hypocrisy of evangelicals. They say they love America, love your Constitution, yet shit all over one of its central directives: the Freedom of Speech. It is, however, a sure sign of just how fragile your beliefs are. If they were strong they would require no defence, and certainly would stand proudly against even the most robust scrutiny. You know your beliefs are brittle, which is why you censor. It’s really as simple as that.

      Now, you do know Moses never existed. You know he was a literary invention. You know that a completely contradictory history of the Jewish people has been confirmed. You know that despite all your efforts, you have failed to find a single archaeologist, biblical scholar, or Jewish rabbi who sides with your public position. Now CS, it’s quite clear that you have rather pronounced emotional issues, but deep down there is a sane man who recognises the reality of the matter.

      What you must reconcile then is this: How do I readjust my worldview knowing Jesus didn’t know basic regional history?

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  26. I’m stuck on the useful part. If you’re a philosophical person, you can find peace by many things Jesus said.

    If you’re an evil, Satanic person, you probably want to live your life without consequences (or at least you’d like to think that), which is a lie and why you will burn in a Hell of your own design. “God” doesn’t punish you. You punish yourself.

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    • Hi Matt

      Agreed, “useful” isn’t a particularly helpful word, people can find comfort in prose, but by it I meant tangible, actionable information that directly reduced physical suffering… Something that actually lifted the human condition.

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    • Whoa! That’s a whole lot of verbal vomit. And apologists honestly wonder why no one takes them seriously 🙂 First up, I don’t see where he’s answered your question. All the rest seems to be incoherent babbling. Is he trying to imply Dawkin’s has said without god we have no morals? If he is, then he has wildly misunderstood where most atheists stand on the subject. As far as I understand it, the people who can be bothered to dive into this argument with theists state quite clearly that there is no such thing as “absolute” morals. It’s a construct of the theist and not rooted in reality.

      Noel knows this stuff pretty well, so he might be able to help you out further.

      https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/

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  27. I remembered one uniquely useful thing Jesus did: He rose from the dead. The theory goes, if you voluntarily give up the physical world and truly believe in yourself, then you will be able to liberate yourself from the prison of your physical body and transcend time and space. I think it sounds like an interesting challenge.

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    • Nice try, Matt, but just about every religion ever devised, and every sage who has ever opened his or her mouth, has promised the way to liberation.

      But by all means, though, keep trying. I’m sure there’s something new, original, or genuinely useful there….

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  28. @TFP

    Where did you want to start deconstructing the fail? The multiple arguments from incredulity, or perhaps the ones from ignorance?

    If you turn off the lights you can see the soft radioactive glow of the nuclear grade stupid that emanates from that post.

    Too harsh? How else does one critique vapid, self serving, drivel?

    That post,in sum, manages to shrink the total knowledge of humankind. 😦

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    • Hi Cindy, and thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, though, you’re just citing a theological opinion, not fact. I could, of course, make the exact same claim about a talking house brick named Sebastian who loves us unconditionally and wants to have a relationship with us, his children, and it would carry as much authority and truth as your claim.

      So no, I’m afraid vaporous theological opinions do not address the question posed in this post.

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    • Cindy,

      My book is finished and out: The Owner of All Infernal Names: An Introductory Treatise on the Existence, Nature & Government of our Omnimalevolent Creator.

      I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and/or rebuttal to the thesis. I think you’ll find it rather convincing.

      I just posted a part of the Introduction to the Argument, and all the links to Amazon are in the black and white cover icon.

      And just so you know, all proceeds go directly and wholly to animal rescue and shelter here in Brazil.

      Like

      • Thanks, John, for the invitation. I’m afraid I won’t be able to read your book. It is my desire to honor God in the way I live my life, and based on the title and description, it seems that reading you book would only serve to frustrate me since this is not the God I know or the Creator I read about in the Bible.

        Having said that, it does grieve me to know you hold such a view of the Creator whom I know and love. He loves you and desires that you know Him as well. May I ask, how did you come to such a view of God? I’m not looking for arguments, which I’m sure are well-presented in your book. Rather, I’m wondering what first gave you such a heart for the suffering in this world and drove you to look for answers as to its source?

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      • I would say, not impartial at all. I think you have an ax to grind. . . what happened that turned you so cynical? Against the God who loves you? A simple question that begs an answer, John. This is not about winning an argument or succeeding in answering your question. It is about your life. If I’m wrong, I guess I’ve wasted my life and then it will end and that will be that. But if you are wrong, you will face a just God to answer for your transgressions without the benefit of a Mediator. Your eternal destination is at stake. I care enough to reach out to you. . . so again. . .what happened that inspired you to write this book?

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      • I’ve been thinking about the title of your book and your conclusion, as you say, based on an “honest, perfectly impartial teleological survey of Creation” and I see issues right away. First of all, I’m thankful that you have acknowledged God as Creator of all things. At least this is something we have in common and for this I am grateful. Since this Creator made all things, including you and me, yet He is wholly and inherently evil, incapable of any good, from where does the good in His creation come? Just the fact that you desire to help the less fortunate by donating your royalties to Brazilian animal shelters is good. Or what about the love of a mother which drives her to risk her life to save her child’s? Or the constancy of the sun and moon cycles upon which we can base our calendars? Think how a malevolent God could mess with us simply by turning the reliability of each sunrise and sunset into random, chaotic, undependable events. He could randomly turn the earth just out of spite so that we’d be plunged into darkness at any given time. Thankfully, this isn’t so.

        Isn’t it good that this Creator gave us the capacity to help others, to act unselfishly, as well as creating a stable environment in which to live? This is where I see the premise of your argument falling apart. Inherent and complete evil cannot create good, real good. It would only appear as good but not really be good. Is your desire to help animals genuinely good, or only a facade? Thus I conclude your book is a self-serving exercise designed to discredit a God you refuse to worship. If you can prove He is completely and utterly evil, you are off the hook. Who would willingly bow to such a god?

        What really angers me is the thought that someone hurt you in the name of God, so much so that you would go to such lengths to try to discredit Him. This hurt you have endured by cold and uncaring hypocrites angers God, as well. What people do in His name is not always from Him. And He does not want to see any of His creation suffer. Yet we do as we encounter this dark and broken world apart from Him.

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      • Hi Cindy

        I appreciate your efforts to engage the subject, but I must say it’s somewhat of a pointless exercise if you do not understand the treatise. I will however briefly address a few of your points, but I will not go into any detail until you can actually engage in an honest, educated manner.

        No, the Creator did not create you and me. We are the product of evolution: risen apes, not fallen angels.

        You are confused as to what “evil” actually is. I’d recommend you read the book.

        Goods are welcomes by the Creator. Natural and moral goods are, in fact, encouraged. Hope is essential to the Omnimalevolent Creator. If neither men nor beast ever tasted victory they would slowly, but eventually, cease striving for it. Where hope exists so too does activity, and from the enormous perspective of The Owner of All Infernal Names, hope is to be favoured over ruin, dreams preferred over nightmares, for in the larger narrative—the only narrative that truly matters—it is hope and pleasant forecasts that is the surest possible path to the greatest possible harvest.

        And extract from the book:

        Dreams, after all, must be erected before they can razed. Prospects and aspirations and expectations must be birthed and floated before they can be overwhelmed and drowned. Optimism must be established, plans mapped out, investments made and ambitious journeys launched before a thousand and one profitable little deaths can be delivered. A population must be fattened before it can be starved. A revolution, like an ignorant wide-eyed child, must be set free before it can be ravished by ghouls of every shape and colour. One and a half billion people must be fed and protected to some degree of satisfaction—a precious few even allowed to live spectacular lives in idyllic settings free from any and all concerns—so the six and half billion thirsty, starving, sick, war-torn, homeless, and displaced can recognise and appreciate their sorrowful lot. Impossibly courageous adventures must have, at the very least, some scent of imaginable success or else the adventurer would never unfurl his incomplete map and wonder, what if…

        Who would willingly bow to such a God? No one, which is why He cherishes His anonymity. He does not seek to be known to, or worshipped by that which He has created, or allowed to be created. That, Cindy, is why the Creator is invisible. Prostration means nothing to Him.

        And no, Cindy, I was not hurt by anyone. I assure you of that. I’m not damaged in any way.

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  29. John, I suppose when you stand before God without the benefit of an Advocate who argues your case on your behalf, you will see the usefulness of Jesus and your absolute need for Him. I hope you reconsider before it comes to that, however, because if you wait until then, it will be too late.

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    • Cheers for that Cindy, but I’m doing quite fine without your particular Middle Eastern fantasy. I do hope, however, that you don’t conduct yourself this way around children, threatening them with your nonsense.

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  30. You are living in a fantasy world, John, if you think there will be no judgement day. Repent now, while you have the chance. Even though you see no use for Jesus, He loves you enough to have taken your punishment on your behalf. Whether or not you believe in Him, He believes in you.

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  31. @Cindypostsscripts

    You are living in a fantasy world, John,

    Sayeth the believer in magic and magic books. Is this an argument from authority or has the irony blindsided me once again…

    You have no proof of any of what you happen to parroting Cindy. Thanks for reinforcing the idea that religion is about coercion and fear-mongering though, as those points merit repetition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey The Arbourist,
      I can see you are looking for proof, but in the same way you don’t have to prove the existence of someone you love, assuming you do love someone, I don’t have to prove the existence of Jesus. The difference He has made in my life is undeniable but you will never know unless you find out for yourself. He invites you to enter into a personal relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter how much you have mocked or scorned Him. In fact, one of His most ardent followers and writers of most of the New Testament viciously persecuted those who believed in Jesus, until he experienced an encounter on the road to Damascus that left him blind yet convinced Jesus was in fact who He said He was: Messiah, Savior, Son of God. It takes faith to trust Jesus is who He says He is, just like it takes faith to believe there is no God or need for Jesus. It’s surprising, really, for one who claims Jesus is of no use whatsoever that you spend so much time mocking Him and His followers. Why bother if He’s only a blip on the screen, one man lost in the vast history of mankind, a nobody?

      Like

  32. @CPS

    Hi Cindy, thanks for responding.

    “in the same way you don’t have to prove the existence of someone you love, assuming you do love someone, I don’t have to prove the existence of Jesus. “

    Actually it is fairly easy to do that – I love my partner, and I can reach out and touch them. If you scan my brain when I first see them, you will see specific areas light up on the scanner that deal with social bonding and attachment. Plus they are corporeal… just sayn’.

    ” The difference He has made in my life is undeniable but you will never know unless you find out for yourself. He invites you to enter into a personal relationship with Him.”

    I gave up talking to my imaginary friends when I was a child. I do not see the need to start that up again.

    ” It takes faith to trust Jesus is who He says He is, just like it takes faith to believe there is no God or need for Jesus.”

    This is just one example of a several false equivalences you make in your post.

    Faith, by definition, is a belief held without evidence. Therefore it takes no faith to take an atheist position on god and jebus, because no suspension of rational though is required to take the position. i.e. – there is no evidence either existed, thus it is rational to conclude they do not exist. No “faith” required.

    ” It’s surprising, really, for one who claims Jesus is of no use whatsoever that you spend so much time mocking Him and His followers. “

    Religions are a toxic feature of society and need to be analyzed, discussed and hopefully, eventually, eradicated from modern civilized society. Religion is opposes progress and reason – that should be enough to judge it unfit for a progressive society.

    ” Why bother if He’s only a blip on the screen, one man lost in the vast history of mankind, a nobody?”

    Because if enough people believe in magic society tends to go to shit faster than you can say ISIS. There is always a need for people to be saying in an clear unwavering voice that religion is absolute bollocks and detailing how corrosive religion is to secular, evidence based methods of structuring and running a successful society.

    That is why I bother. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sometimes fail in my efforts to articulate why I argue with Atheists and other liberals. The question of believing or not believing in God is never resolved. Neither side will give up it’s professed beliefs. I find your analysis of the toxic and corrosive nature of religion to be the precise terms I was searching for in describing leftist ideology. With your permission I will begin using them.

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      • Hi Scott,

        It is true that Liberals are generally much, much smarter than Conservatives, and smarter people do tend to be less superstitious, less paranoid, less hateful, more rational and, therefore, generally trend towards being atheists. By you lumping all liberals in with being atheists you have somewhat brilliantly exampled the general malaise and shallowness of the radical Conservative mindset, so thanks for that. It’s always good to have independent confirmation of such things. That, after all, is what living in “evidence-based reality” is all about.

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  33. So exactly what did Arbourist do? He lumped all religious people together in order to condemn them. And what did you just do? You lumped all conservatives together and for that matter you lumped all Liberals together in order to cite proof that they are ” less superstitious, less paranoid, less hateful, more rational ” than Conservatives.

    I also received confirmation from you of how most liberals think. I give you and Arbourist full marks for consistency. You do not change or what is the word, yes evolve.

    Your ” evidence based reality ” as you call it sounds like it never fails. It must be a comfort when life smacks you upside of the head like when a loved one dies before his or her time, or when illness takes everything you have. No God to complain to. Your self reliance must be off the charts.

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    • Hi Alan, You should really try reading comments carefully before replying for fear of looking rather silly. As you will observe, I wrote: “It is true that Liberals are generally much, much smarter than Conservatives…” Being a Conservative, and probably supporting the Tea Party, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not fully versed in English usage, or the subtleties of advanced sentence structure, but for future reference, the word, “generally,” denotes most, or typically, not “all.”

      But, thanks again for confirming exactly what I wrote

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      • If I ever became afraid of looking silly I would never say anything. Thank you for the grammar lesson. It is not really a strong point for me. I will try to profit from your instruction. I find it useful to look in on you guys from time to time. I try to restrain myself when you talk amongst yourselves. I saw that another Christian was involved in the talk and could not stay out. Pardon the intrusion.

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      • You’re always welcome, Alan. No intrusion at all. This is an open forum with no censorship or screening.

        Hey, I have a book coming out (probably) next week. I’d love to hear your critique of it.

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  34. I’d be happy to read it as long as it is on the short side. I do not have the time or concentration anymore to read a War and Peace length book. Old age and all. As much as I am against your posts, I appreciate your open forum. I find that very rare nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alan, book is out. I posted a part of the Introduction to the Argument on my blog, and all the links are in the black/white cover icon.

        I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the strength of the thesis.

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  35. Word on the street a certain man has a book in the works. May I offer a preview of unseen opinion?

    -Mr Finklestein, the modern god of the ‘past,’ whether intended or implied, has stated there was no Exodus, as ‘he’ says the Genesis account is pure myth based on ‘no’ evidence.

    -The enlightened ones of ‘today’ are vastly superior in learning and intellect, and have easily discounted what were once known (and still known) as facts.

    -Religion is thus a cause for ‘the retarded in thought,’ and an assault on science.

    -Christ Himself was a poor historian, advancing ideas that no reasonable person would believe.

    -Mr Herzog is supportive of the little god, as has also lended a voice of protest and disdain against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    -Israel is a leech on society. The scriptures cannot be trusted. There is no God, as there is no proof. Of course, Finklestein, Herzog, and Zande all agree.

    The conspiracy and scheme of global proportion of believing in a God at all, has survived because people are weak minded and are afraid to face progress or superstition.

    Then there are those five smooth stones: ‘He made the stars also,’ thus giving Finklestein, Herzog, and others who are in bed with them, zero credibility. Good luck though jz with your pea shooter of unbelief against the foundation of heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, not even close, CS, but its always entertaining to see the circus going on inside your head 🙂

      Might I say though, you Sir are going to be wildly surprised by the book. Astonished, dare i even say. Amazed, even. But, sadly, you’ll have to purchase it and read it before touching that wondrous sensation. I’ve just this minute made a last moment adjustment to the e-book cover (print cover is signed off on and ready to go), so whereas it should have been released today in the e-format, we’re looking more at tomorrow or perhaps Thursday. Do know, though, every cent made from this goes directly to animal rescue and shelter here in Brazil. At the very least, you can therefore know you’ve contributed to the reduction of actual suffering in this world.

      Like

      • Hey john

        Then again maybe you could issue the book to children, call it ‘The alphabet; proof from the Acropolis to Zebras; how science and archaeology try to prove there is no God.’

        Certainly you would not want the innocence of a child to be left alone with his thoughts……………..he may actually defer to common sense and a Creator…………’

        Any child left to his own mind without the influence of so called ‘knowledge,’ will choose God every day of the week for the explanation of all that is.

        It takes a special kind of theft to take what he naturally knows………..

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      • You see, your own ego and self-directed sense of importance is getting in the way here, CS. Archaeology doesn’t disprove there is a god. Near Eastern archaeology has, over the last 100 years, proven the Hebrew origin tale is a myth… an inventive geopolitical tale spun for all the same reasons creative origin tales are spun in every culture. See the difference? Now, as there is a god thrown into that tale, then that too is, evidently, a myth. If the true history of the early Jews doesn’t match the tale, then the characters (natural and magical) described in that tale are, quite clearly, also fictional. Facts are facts, aren’t they? You just can’t argue with facts. We know what the early history of the Jews was, and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the tale. Now, how you adapt to these facts is up to you, but how you respond will generally reflect your perspective (and grasp) on reality.

        But again, you couldn’t be further off regarding the book. I’m telling you, you’re going to be surprised. Trust me, you’re not expecting what you’re about to get.

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      • Okaaay.

        Some opinions are poor, others are better. Many think Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer.

        Some give an opinion and ‘guess’ who will win the World Cup. Opinions are a dime a dozen and make for daily conversation.

        ‘According to you,’ or ‘according to me,’ meh, I wrote an essay recently about this very thing.

        At the end of the day, what stands the testament of time is not the opinion of men, or the produced efforts to construct truth, but what will always and irrevocably stand and withstand every chisel and hammer is: ‘according to the scriptures…’ 😉

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      • Yikes jz

        You may want to amend that to ‘manufactured hilarious contradictions,’ and ‘alleged historical blunders…………’

        Ok then with this latest, it must be a comic book…;) But hey, just another lousy guess at who win the World cup 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  36. @Colorstorm

    “You may want to amend that to ‘manufactured hilarious contradictions,’ and ‘alleged historical blunders…………’”

    How about a pretty annotated picture illustrating the contradictions present in said magic book? John has it here as well, but it a work that should not be ignored with regard to arguments about accuracy and consistency.

    Liked by 1 person

      • @JZ

        It is invented; just like the bible…*ba-da boom-ching* (low hanging fruit, sorry).

        Ah, then it is just willful ignorance. I can understand that – cherished beliefs/my very identify!?!!! under attack. Shields up and what not.

        Counter-will is good, it helps us individuate, but if one finds it being evoked all the time on certain issues it might be wise to reflect a bit on why that is.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Hey John,
    I think I read that you are donating the proceeds of your new book to local animal shelters. I have always thought that the way a person treats animals says a lot about that person’s character. Knowing that you care enough about the suffering of animals to sacrifice your profits in order to help the cause of the suffering tells me you care about the vulnerable and are doing something to help alleviate suffering in the animal kingdom. I’m sure you feel the same about human suffering as well. For this I commend you and give you props!

    As I’ve been considering your question regarding Jesus’ impact on society, it occurred to me that no one could ever give you an answer that would satisfy you, unless, of course, one is agreeing with your position. As one who claims to not believe there is a God and who therefore doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ, you would always position yourself against any argument that would claim otherwise. You are a bit biased, to say the least. You are asking those who walk by faith not by sight to explain the importance of the Head of their faith to one who walks by sight not by faith. Is this even possible? Therefore, I fear such an attempt to answer your question from a Christian worldview is an exercise in futility.

    If I were to answer your question using my own beliefs that are rooted in the Bible, I’d say that since all things that were created were created through Jesus, by Him and for Him, and that all things are held together by Him (Colossians 1), then it follows that everything He did was new, originally and quite useful. I would even claim that the compassion you have for the suffering is from Jesus Himself and that He put that in you as part of His design. But you will shoot this line of reasoning down because you don’t take God at His Word, since to you He doesn’t exist. A futile attempt, I know. . .

    Still, there is something that bothers me. You claim to be an atheist, believing that God does not exist, yet you spend a lot of time trying to debunk the beliefs of Christianity and the teachings found in the Bible. I would think you’d rather spend your time extolling the virtues of atheism and showing why it is the better way of living. You probably do spend some time on the positive side, but it seems much of your passion goes toward disproving God in general and Christianity specifically. So I have come to the following conclusion: You do believe in God but your anger for Him drives you to disprove His existence. You have been hurt in some way, most likely by those who claimed to follow Him and now you take it out on Him. If I’m even close to the truth, I’d love to hear how you came to atheism. What drives you? And please, if I’m getting too personal, there’s no need to answer. I just know a lot of people who’ve been hurt by religion and then lashed out at God who really had nothing to do with it. It is my belief that Jesus hated religion as much as you seem to; this is something you share with Him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cindy.

      To clarify, I never asked about Jesus’ impact on society. The question was, and remains: name something genuinely new, original, or useful which Jesus said or did. There is no room for opinion here. I’m not interested in litigating any supernatural claims (although many people have tried to offer these up). I’m merely interested in seeing if anyone can name something genuinely new which Jesus said or did. There is no trick.

      You see, saying since all things that were created were created through Jesus, by Him and for Him, and that all things are held together by Him (Colossians 1), then it follows that everything He did was new, originally and quite useful is just an opinion, a theological flight of fancy with no actual grounding in reality. It therefore doesn’t imply. I could make any claim I like and it’d have exactly the same value as your claim. Zero.

      I’m a little confused about you mentioning suffering. Are you trying to say no human being had an empathetic thought before Jesus?

      To your last point: I speak about religion (not just your religion) for the exact same reason anti-smoking campaigners speak about the dangers of smoking, or virologists speak about certain diseases.

      And yes, to your first part, reducing actual suffering in a meaningful and lasting manner should be our only motive.

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      • Thanks, John. I guess I was trying to have a conversation with you so I could find out a little more about you and your worldview. Since we don’t share the same view, it’s hard for you to understand who Jesus is to me. I think to you, he is just a man who walked the earth for 33 years and did or said nothing of significance. To me, He is the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. He is the source of all good things. Without Him there would be no words to say, no kindness to extend to others, no way to relieve suffering. He is the Source of it all. He is my Savior, my Lord and my Friend. Because of the relationship I have with Him, which is a real bond with a loving and compassionate Being, my life is richer, fuller and filled with peace. I can’t explain that to you anymore than you can describe your relationship with your brother, your father, your wife, your sister, your friend. You may be able to try, but I’ll never truly know how important that person is to you; I can only take your word for it. It’s the same with me and Jesus. It’s the same with millions of others and Jesus. But because you don’t share that same experience, you doubt and can’t really understand. You can, however, respect. This is my intended purpose for engaging in conversation with you.

        As to your quest to speak out against religion, I am with you on that. Men do horrible things in the name of God or Jesus or Allah. But the twisted ideas these humans get as to what their God wants cannot be attributed to God himself. In other words, don’t blame Jesus for what people do in His name. He is just as upset as you are about religion. When we get together, we can do some pretty destructive things, but those things are not of God, they are of man. So rail against religion all you want, but don’t mix up religion and God. They are not one and the same. In fact, Jesus railed against religion himself. He often called the religious leaders names like “brood of vipers, blind guides, fools, hypocrites, whitewashed tombs” and the like. He didn’t look kindly on what these cold-hearted men were doing and saying in the name of God.

        Even if you never receive the answer you are looking for regarding Jesus, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. And I’d like to understand your story, what drives you to fight against religion. I’m not trying to have a debate with finely tuned points. . . just a conversation.

        Thanks for indulging me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Cindy. Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from. I was raised Catholic, schooled by Carmelite nuns then Augustinian priests. And again, I speak about religion for the same reasons a virologist speaks about diseases. I really can’t make that point any clearer.

        Now, what I “think” of Jesus (if he even existed at all, which is highly questionable) is, once again, entirely meaningless to the question posed. Again, there is no trick. I haven’t crafted this question to confound or trip up unwary Christians. There is nothing sinister in it. It’s a simple, straightforward question: Name something new or original which Jesus said or did.

        To date, no one has been able to name a single thing. Well, there was one thing, when Jesus turned the fish into an Automatic Teller Machine dispensing coins, but considering that is a supernatural claim it doesn’t fit into the spirit of the question. I think the inability of a single person to name something new or original is tremendously interesting, especially for Christians, considering the claims Christians make about the man. One would, after all, expect a visiting deity—the Creator of the Universe, no less—to have at least said something new. A new, more accurate cosmogony would have been enough, although doing/saying something that reduced actual suffering would have been even better. But Jesus didn’t mention a new cosmogony, instead maintaining the Jewish belief that the earth was flat. Jesus believed the earth was flat. And everything else he said (that which has been recorded) had been said by numerous sages before him, and often said much, much better.

        In short, there is nothing remarkable or original in the story. In fact, there is nothing new in the role Jesus was allegedly playing. 1,000 to 2,000 before Jesus, Zoroaster spoke of the world’s madness that has been caused by a malignant and unbalanced spirit, Angra Mainyu, that would be corrected in a great settlement delivered by a saviour figure—the Saoshyant: the World Renovator and Victorious Benefactor—who will defeat the evil of the progeny of the biped, deliver retribution for offenses, reward noble deeds, and establish the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness). Sound familiar?

        Don’t, though, get me wrong. I’m not anti-Jesus. I’m merely interested in establishing facts, then weighing reality against those facts.

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      • John, I think it’s a matter of perspective, don’t you? If you don’t see the value of what Jesus (or anyone for that matter) did for mankind, you will not judge his earthly mission as useful. I think you established being useful as reducing actual suffering in a meaningful and lasting manner. I can agree to that as a definition for what you mean by usefulness. As to Jesus’ success in saying or doing something useful, this is where the perspective comes in to play. You don’t see the value in Jesus’ mission because you don’t perceive the great need He came to meet. It’s not that no one can answer your question satisfactorily, because many have. The problem is that you are asking the wrong question. So let me turn it back to you: What do you see as the root of the suffering you see in this world? If, assuming there is a God, He made everything just how He wanted it to be, why is there so much pain and agony? What is the source of suffering?

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      • Hi Cindy

        Again, you are merely appealing to a theological “opinion.” That opinion has precisely zero value in relation to the question asked. I’m sorry, but so too does your question concerning the origin of suffering. I’m not interested in litigating “claims.” If, however, you really need to know, almost all of the claims made in Judaism/Christianity/Islam were lifted from Zoroastrianism, so there’s nothing even new or original there.

        Now, here’s an example of the question in action: Was anything in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount new or original? Answer: No. It’d all been said before (long before, in fact), and in many respects articulated much better, by other religious leaders, poets, sages, and even playwrights. If you scroll through the comments I have given examples of these earlier examples in a few places.

        And again, this isn’t a trick question. It’s really frightfully straightforward. Name something new or genuinely original which Jesus said or did?

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  38. Hey John,
    I’m attempting to help you understand why no one is able to answer the question you have posed to your satisfaction. I’m trying to help you see that the question you have posed is the wrong question, a red herring of sorts. Unfortunately, you fall back on your same arguments and fail to answer my questions or follow my line of reasoning. I do have a point. Really, I do. But I’m not getting anywhere because you refuse to play along.

    I realize I did fail to warn you that I was only addressing the “marginally useful” part of the question. The “new and original” is another matter that must be addressed separately. This exercise in futility may be “frightfully straightforward” but it is also “head-scratchingly irrelevant,” especially to those who are being saved.

    Dare you answer, even if you’ve dismissed it as unrelated to your question? What is the root of suffering, from where is it generated? I promise you, I’m going somewhere with this so cut me a break and take a moment to think about your answer. . . 🙂

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    • Hi Cindy

      I’m trying to help you understand that you’re not grasping the question. To repeat, it’s not a trick. It’s monstrously straightforward and stupendously transparent… and that seems to be exactly what is confounding you and every Christian who has tried to engage it. You can’t actually deal with such a simple question. Your entire belief system is held together by creative excuses and elaborate theodicies all designed to make-up for the tremendous flaws in your worldview and the colossal contradictions that worldview encounters when superimposed over reality.

      So OK, you’re not dealing with the “new and original.” Thanks for clarifying that, although I do believe that is the major part of the question. So, in effect, you’re avoiding the question altogether. But that’s your prerogative.

      You want to focus on the “marginally useful,” yet you are refusing to stay within the spirit of the question. Yes, I agree, it’s a tad broad, and that was my mistake in the wording, but I can’t now go and change things retroactively, just clarify what “marginally useful” means. To these ends, I have stated that it means reducing actual suffering. Now, I’m not saying people haven’t taken comfort in Jesus’ alleged words. If it helps them, then great, and I wish more people would follow the central message as presented. None of those words and messages were, however, original or new, not by any stretch of the imagination, but again, if people enjoy the Christian version of age old wisdoms and life philosophies then great.

      That, though, does not reduce “actual suffering.” Somewhere in this thread I have given an example to illustrate this point. Epilepsy. It’s a neurological disorder. In 1st Century CE Palestine, people with epilepsy were stoned to death because deeply fearful onlookers believed the sufferer to be possessed by demons. This, of course, is nonsense born of simple ignorance and unfounded fear. To reduce “actual suffering,” in this instance, Jesus could have informed people that the sufferer was not in fact possessed by demons and did not deserve to be put to death in such a heinous and brutal manner, rather was merely sick (through no fault of their own) and required care and understanding. This, Cindy, would have reduced actual suffering, and at the same time would have been quite an endorsement for Jesus’ purported celestial knowledge… so the story goes.

      This is just one example. I hope, though, you appreciate exactly what is being said. A “warm fuzzy” feeling is not reducing actual suffering. Chocolate produces a warm fuzzy feeling. Sex and love and affection and well-structured sentences produce a warm fuzzy feeling.

      And no, I apologise, but I’m not going to engage your question because it is entirely, wholly, and completely irrelevant. You are going to try and offer up your particular theological excuse for why suffering exists. In effect, you are trying to sell your story. Why should I accept that opinion over, say, the Buddhists, or the Jains, or the Hindu’s, or the Zoroastrians? Their explanations are far, far older than yours, and in many respects, far, far more realistic and believable… if only from a literary perspective. Give me twenty minutes and I’ll invent an even better “claim” that explains suffering; one that will blow yours out of the water because it doesn’t require a clever cover story or inventive pretext. That won’t, however, change the fact that it is—and shall remain—a claim.

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  39. Jz wrote:

    —And no, I apologise, but I’m not going to engage your question because it is entirely, wholly, and completely irrelevant—

    Gee john, isn’t this exactly what I said when i refused to entertain your offer to answer your question…………….

    Careful now, you wouldn’t want to make me appear too credible. Perhaps you should answer Cindy……….. 😉

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    • Hi CS

      Which question are you even referring to? With the amount of censorship and evasive tactics you deploy its hard to keep track of anything with you. That said, it is however safe to assume that, unfortunately for you, the difference no doubt was, my question was relevant to the subject at hand. Cindy’s is not, as I have repeatedly explained.

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  40. You know, John, this reminds me of my husband’s frustrations. He is a retired soldier who started an exercise business several years ago. As a fitness trainer, he is frustrated by people who don’t see the value in the product he is selling: Sound training in proper exercise form, guidance in how to train in order to reach their goals, support and motivation to stay the course. . . many see the need to exercise but most can’t understand why they need his expertise. That is until they can’t reach their goals, are frustrated at their lack of progress, or they receive a medical diagnosis that could have been avoided had they stuck to a regular fitness regime. Very few people actual “get it.” A few see the need for what he offers and therefore understand the value and relevancy in the service he offers. These are the ones who submit to his training plans and find true success.

    Its the same with you; Until you recognize the great need humanity has, the problem that exists throughout all of mankind, you will not see the value in what Jesus offered, the mission He came to earth to fulfill, which He did perfectly. But only if you seek the one true solution to the problem of suffering, real, palpable human suffering, you will never see the value of the only solution that exists. And that solution is found in Jesus Christ. Either you take it or you don’t. It doesn’t mean the suffering is not eased, it only means you didn’t understand the root of the suffering and thus the mode of relief of said suffering.

    So again: What is the root of suffering, John? It’s a simple, straightforward question. Much easier than yours, I would think. Please. It’s not a trick, just an opening to a real conversation as we seek the truth together.

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      • Interesting, Neuronotes, please expand. I’m curious as to how you believe a lack of knowledge or an oblivious existence leads to all the sorrow, grief and anguish we see all around us.

        And I’m still waiting to hear John’s thoughts on what causes pain and agony in this world. . .

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      • Cindy, are you of the opinion the that pain and sorrow are caused by sin, you know — disobedience in the Garden of Eden? Because if this is where you are going, then I suggest you see a cult specialist and go through an extensive deprogramming, then I suggest you seeing a therapist. Are you on antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds? There is much sadness in your eyes. You can’t fake happiness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry n-notes that your heart sees nothing but darkness where others see daylight.

        You would be content stealing hope from the hopeful, faith from the faithful, and truth above all, all because you cannot, yea rather you will not accept the indictment of a Creator’s claim over His very dirt.

        Apparently, you are fine and dandy being a tresspasser; fortunately today, God is much more tolerant and patient of man’s ignorance. Unfortunately, the sands of time are sinking.

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      • Yea, Notes, you told me that before, as a matter of fact you inspired a post:

        –Paul the apostle’s (ahem) mental problem– in the which if you recall, your claims were leveled easily.

        But tkx for putting me in such esteemed company with others of ‘like precious faith.’ Commendations are rare these days.

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      • Neuronotes,
        I think I may see what you’re getting at, although I’d rather hear more from you. I heard a philosophy described today that influenced a friend to become a teacher. He said that if we can educate people, we could create a kind of utopia. Is this your view as well? Please tell me more.

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    • Cindy, as I have repeatedly explained to you, your particular theological opinion has no bearing whatsoever to the question asked. Exactly what part of that can’t you understand? Please, re-read the above comment for any further clarification you might need. I am, of course, assuming here that you did not read that last comment… Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say, your eyes “saw” the words but you refused to “engage” what was clearly articulated.

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      • John, I’d like to thank you. Actually, I did read your replies through several times and I just don’t see the truth in your arguments or examples. I want to express my sincere gratitude to you because I think you have beautifully illustrated my point. In the world according to John, your reasoning makes sense. I don’t operate in the world according to John. Instead, I function in the world according to God where everyone lives but not all acknowledge. Therefore, we are not connecting.

        So, it seems we have reached an impasse. I have answered your question but not in a way that seems relevant or satisfactory according to your worldview or perspective, and you refuse to answer my question. I will let others draw whatever conclusion they wish from this fact.

        It is my hope that one day you’ll be willing to venture down the road I attempted to show you, because it is my belief that when you do you will discover the abundant life you were always meant to live. All my best to you, John, and if you ever wish to continue our discussion, just call out my name and I’ll be there. 😉

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      • Cindy, you answered nothing. The only thing you have contributed here was an attempt to open a door to express your theological opinion. That opinion, Cindy, has nothing at all to do with the question: Name something new, original, or genuinely useful which Jesus said or did. That opinion, Cindy, carries no more weight than the theological opinions of the Zoroastrians, the Hindu’s, the Buddhists, or the Jains. Creative theodicies—“excuses,” in literal language—are vaporous no-things.

        The question related directly to the things Jesus said or did, and you, like everyone else, have failed to name a single new, original, or genuinely useful thing.

        I would encourage you to meditate on this tremendously uncomfortable (yet thoroughly fascinating) revelation, and perhaps start re-evaluating the rather elaborate and ornate “claims” you blindly dress the character Jesus in… A character who, as you have so perfectly demonstrated, didn’t say or do anything new, original, or useful.

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  41. Oh, and John, I am eager to tackle the “new and original” part of your question but it requires an entirely different line of reasoning. Therefore, I’ll save that for later. . . something to look forward to! 😉

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  42. @Cindy

    “I just don’t see the truth in your arguments or examples.”

    So then list why John’s arguments are wrong. But you won’t because I’m guessing you have a particular definition of “truth” that doesn’t correspond well with reality (see religious magical thinking in general).

    “In the world according to John, your reasoning makes sense. I don’t operate in the world according to John.”

    John’s world is grounded on reason and empirical evidence. If you don’t operate in the realm of rationality then not seeing ‘truth’ in arguments is the least of your worries.

    “Instead, I function in the world according to God where everyone lives but not all acknowledge.”

    Evidence required, otherwise you’re just speaking out of your behind.

    ” I have answered your question “

    Actually you have not and even in your conclusion you continue to evade and attempt to obfuscate what should be an elementary task if your magic was true.

    ” I will let others draw whatever conclusion they wish from this fact.”

    Answering simple questions is beyond the capacity of the indoctrinated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Arbourist,
      I can understand a bit of your confusion with my answers. They seem obscure and muddled to say the least, about as clear as mud. I’m trying to establish that this is because we are looking in different places to find the answers to John’s question. Our perspectives are different and the expectations of what a Messiah would save us from are poles apart. This is actually a similar point of contention found during the time Jesus walked the earth.

      Jesus fed 5000 near the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Many were following Him because He was healing so many, relieving the physical pain and suffering of many. They wanted more of what He had to give. After multiplying a meager lunch offered by a small boy into a feast that filled the bellies of all, he retreated, knowing they wanted to make Him king, a purpose He did not come to fulfill. After this exuberant group caught up to Jesus again, He discerned their hearts, knowing they were looking to Him to deliver them from Roman rule or poverty or some other kind of physical hopelessness. He tried to explain to them that His kingdom was not of this world. He came to address spiritual hunger and solve a spiritual problem. Many rejected Jesus after that because He made it clear they would have to take Him by faith, believing the words He said as truth.

      This is the same struggle we are having today, is it not? John cites an example for the 1st century CE where people with epilepsy were stoned to death in the “mistaken” understanding that they were possessed by evil spirits. Jesus did cast out such destructive spirits from many and they were thus healed of their ailments, so I don’t know how people would draw the conclusion that they must stone those possessed. This solution for dealing with the problem of possession that presented with symptoms as epilepsy didn’t come from Jesus. When He got rid of the spirits, the victim was free from suffering, but these people didn’t follow His example. Instead, they dealt with it in a different way.

      So, to see the suffering Jesus came to relieve one must realize He came to address a spiritual need that impacts our physical life in a very real way. I guess you could say we have to look at Him with eyes of faith in order to perceive the suffering He came to relieve. Not everyone is willing to do this, I get that. It’s your choice, really.

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      • Hi Cindy

        Listen, this is not about “perspective.” I’ve been trying to tell you this. It’s simply about the tangible facts from the story and comparing them to reality. I’ve repeatedly told you, I’m not interested here in litigating any supernatural claims, and I’m especially not interested in any imaginative theodicies which your religion, or any religion for that matter, has offered up by way of an excuse for why the world is not as it should be if your god, or that god, existed. Such things are intangible. They are opinions.

        What we’re interested in here is, was there any “new information” given by Jesus? Was there anything new or truly original in any message he delivered?

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      • And Cindy, Buddha fed the multitudes, too, with a miracle 500 years before Jesus:

        The Teacher with his five hundred monks finished his meal. The great guildmaster and his wife also ate as much as they wished, but there was no end to the cakes, and even when the whole monastery of monks and eaters of broken meat had received, there was no sign of finishing. – Jataka 78

        Nothing new or original there, I’m sorry.

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  43. John, I’m afraid I have to say your answer is a cop out. Instead of trying to understand what I saying, you fall back on your old arguments. You’ve set the standard for your question to something you can relate to, but I’m trying to show you that those who “get” Jesus’ mission see that He doesn’t adhere to your expectation.

    Let me try a different tack. I’m sure you understand that we are not simply physical creatures, but that there is an emotional and spiritual side as well. This is why many who are sick cannot be healed. I personally know several people who are suffering from real physical ailments which doctors are unable to address. The reason is because there is an underlying emotional or spiritual issue which is the root of the sickness. Unforgiveness often causes physical maladies, anxiety manifests as heart or stomach conditions, etc (http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3386). If doctors fail to treat the whole person, healing often is not complete.

    Even the U.S. Armed Forces recognizes the importance of emotional and spiritual stability to the success of their mission. If a soldier is worried about his family’s well-being, he is distracted and will not perform to the utmost of his ability. Thus the Family Readiness Group program was born to address this emotional need. (http://www.armyg1.army.mil/MilitaryPersonnel/PPG/Hyperlinks/Adobe%20Files/FGR%20CDRsGuide.pdf) Additionally, chaplains have always deployed with units in combat situations in order to address the spiritual health of the soldiers. The whole person must be considered if any human is expected to perform his or her best. These are examples of how modern society recognizes that we are more than just our physical bodies.

    Jesus came to address the spiritual need which is so great that it impacts our physical health as well. When He relieves this spiritual suffering, those who believe in Him and trust in Him as Lord often find the emotional and physical pain is reduced as well. Jesus understands that the root of our suffering is spiritual in nature, thus, He came to permanently and completely fix this problem. And when He did, those who believe have the hope of physical, emotional and spiritual restoration.

    If you don’t believe this I can understand and respect that, although I believe your life would be made whole if you would believe. But your unbelief doesn’t minimize the impact Jesus made on the lives of those who do believe. Surely you can respect that.

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    • Hi Cindy, thanks for that, but I’m afraid it is you who is failing to grasp what is being written, and what is being asked. Countless sages who lived long before Jesus spoke of restoring “health” to the human condition, and many laid out incredibly detailed paths to achieve this end. Buddha’s central message was exactly this. If you are trying to claim Jesus was the first to present such a concept then all I can say is your education system has let you down terribly.

      Listen, if you’re not going to offer up anything tangible that can be rationally assessed as “new” or “original” or “genuinely useful” then I would recommend you just stop commenting. Repeating myself is growing quite tiresome.

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      • Hey John,
        I would agree that many religions have come up with methods to follow in order to find enlightenment, inner peace and the like. But none address our core problem. This deep spiritual need is the root of all suffering and was only eradicated by Jesus Christ.

        Imagine, if you will, there is a God who created all things to function in a certain way. Then the humans He created chose to do things their own way instead of His, introducing suffering, brokenness, and ultimately death, into the utopia He created. Since this Creator who is the Source of all good desired relationship with those He made in His own image, He sent His Son as the once-for-all scapegoat, taking on the punishment mankind earned and making a way for those who take Him by faith to return to that utopia. Man broke it, Jesus fixed it.

        This spiritual wholeness comes by faith, and while Buddha may have introduced a method to follow, none could ever truly succeed. Since the salvation Buddha taught only came by man’s effort, it could never be attained. But Jesus, the Perfect Holy One was able to deliver what man never could: peace with God and restoration of our relationship with Him, freedom from guilt and hope for eternal life.

        I have tried to establish the difference between the way you are looking at Jesus and seeing nothing new or original or useful, and the way those who have accepted Him by faith and have undergone a powerful transformation. One is devoid of faith and thus sees nothing of value, the other is driven by faith and sees treasures beyond description. I want you to see what I can see, but I can’t reason you into this faith.

        As tiresome as it may be, I can’t help but continue sharing the power that is in Christ Jesus! May you come to know Him as I do. . . .

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      • This deep spiritual need is the root of all suffering and was only eradicated by Jesus Christ

        That, Cindy, is an empty theological opinion. That said, we can, however, assess the concept behind that opinion, and see that there is nothing new or original in it. The notion of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin is ancient, far older than Judaism (Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which called for less unnecessary suffering), but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not “original” to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have: “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

        So you see, not new, not original, and in the larger scheme of things, not at all useful.

        Listen, it’s clear you either don’t understand the question, or are simply deliberately ignoring the context of what is being asked. New, original, genuinely useful. It’s not complicated, and it’s not a trick. It doesn’t, Cindy, encompass vaporous “opinions.” We are assessing only the originality (if any) of the character’s words, message and actions. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        I’m sorry, but you have now bored me senseless here.

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  44. Come on, man. Jesus was way cool!

    Sure, Jesus was a bit of a slacker. But even though he didn’t bother much with “lyrics”, Jesus still built me a pretty damn good hot-rod!

    And I’ll always love him for that.

    (Here’s hoping the video links didn’t embed)

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    • Of course not, but as I have already explained to you, people getting a warm-fuzzy feeling from Jesus’ re-interpretation/plagiarism/re-wording of far older wisdoms and life coaching techniques bears no relevance to this discussion whatsoever. This is why I have clarified “useful” to mean (as I have always intended it to be meant) genuinely new/practical information that has reduced actual suffering.

      Bear in mind, Cindy, the word is “actual.”

      And to repeat: We are assessing only the originality (or genuine usefulness/practicality) of the character’s words, message and actions. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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      • Your experience is no more valid than a Buddhist’s experience, a Muslim’s experience, a Jain’s experience, a Zoroastrian’s experience, or a Hindu’s experience. It’s no different than a fan of Dr. Phil’s experience. Your “experience” is not exceptional, Cindy. It is to you, sure, but not in the larger narrative. A follower of Veles, or a Druid would claim the exact same experience and tell you, Cindy, that theirs is real, and yours is false. You can appreciate this, can’t you?

        But are we, or were we ever, discussing “your experience”?

        I don’t think so.

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  45. Yes, I do see your point, John. And I appreciate your explanation, thank you. I do wonder why this question, though? Why does the original or new hold so much weight with you? If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question? I’m curious as to what you are getting out of this exercise? I believe it’s futile for the reasons stated before, that Jesus came to meet a spiritual need which is why you fail to see His value, His usefulness. If this is so, then why the question? What is your intent? Because I don’t buy that you are warning people against religion. If that were so, you should be focusing your warning on the people who twist the church into something it was never meant to be, the corruption and the abuse of power that hurts so many. Instead, you are targeting Jesus. . . why is this?

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    • @CPS

      “And I appreciate your explanation, thank you.”

      I think that you don’t Cindy, because it has been the pattern that you say stuff like this, and then continue to ramble on about unrelated topics, not ever addressing the question. Not even a little bit.

      ” If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question? I’m curious as to what you are getting out of this exercise?”

      Because people who are not brainwashed can see the thundering truth of the matter. The truth that like a smith’s hammer ringing on the anvil of your deliberate ignorance, that if dealt with at all in a reasonable, rational, manner the answer is clear.

      There is nothing new or original about jebus. His acts, his ‘miracles’, his particular brand of magic are ITERATIVE. His story is based on other stories that the people of the time had hear before and thus they borrowed the magic bits from other stories to spice up their particular story about jebus.

      It is prima facie evidence that there is nothing particularly special about jebus and his story. Let me boil it down further for you – If you are god and have all knowledge and all experience and all power available to you – why, oh why, would you only do things that had done before?

      Jebus didn’t explain germ theory to anyone, he didn’t create a microwave, he didn’t explain gravitational lensing to anyone.

      Nothing.

      Not one iota of knowledge/actions taken that would have let on that jebus had the inside track on omni-knowledge. If you think he was just holding back – then what a ginormous dick he is – germ theory could have saved millions of lives and prevented untold centuries of suffering.

      ” that Jesus came to meet a spiritual need which is why you fail to see His value, His usefulness.”

      Then why didn’t he share anything that wasn’t already a part of the history of the world? You have two (three) options here let me spell them out for you:

      1. I agree, he did not share anything new, thus the notion that the bible is just a story, like the rest of the religions out there is a very real possibility.

      2. I disagree, but then I have to justify worshiping a grade-A Dick (see bubonic plague, measles, syphilis, cancer, et cetera) .

      3. I won’t answer the question either way. Because my belief(faith, delusion) has strangled the rational part of my mind to near death – I’ll continue to trot out red-herrings and loopy-shit in an attempt to defend my version of reality; however far fetched that may be.

      I’m almost entirely certain you’re going with #3. Which leads to this:

      ” Because I don’t buy that you are warning people against religion.”

      This conversation has been/is a large red flag and it has been fluttering in the high wind for days now – it is all recorded here. The power of religious belief to shut out rational inquiry and the ability to respond in a reasonable manner. To look into the face of Reason with a smug self assured smile and respond with a low caliber stream of self serving gibberish… how could you not be embarrassed by now?

      ” If that were so, you should be focusing your warning on the people who twist the church into something it was never meant to be, the corruption and the abuse of power that hurts so many.”

      Red herring #2342323048, fresh from docks, still in the newspaper.

      Let’s entertain this though, just for a minute. What makes you certain that your sect is the right one? Because other sects feel just as keenly and sincerely that you are the misguided one. Whose voices in whose heads should we believe?

      You see that up there – that is the root of religious sectarian conflict in the world; it kills thousands of people everyday because they are arguing about whose magic book or whose version of magic is the one TRUE magic.

      If that doesn’t trouble you, then your ‘faith’ has stripped away more than just your reason.

      ” Instead, you are targeting Jesus. . . why is this?”

      You do realize that this question works for just about any god-head right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arb, you make a highly valid point here. I think Cindy would use (among other tools, of course) the exact same method of examination used here to disprove the divinity claims of, for example, Muhammad, Zoroaster, or perhaps even Mithras. Given this fact, we can both sympathise with her anguish at this foolproof method being used to scrutinise her particular flavour of god-belief.

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      • Thanks, Arbourist. I appreciate you reading my reply so studiously. I failed to see your response until now. . . .I will have to respond another time for I must go for now. . .

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      • Hey Arbourist,
        I hope you didn’t give up on me. . . I’ve been praying for you. It touches me to see your hostility. I sense you struggle with being accountable to Someone higher than yourself. It is a scary thought, indeed, to be in the hands of an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. The One who carefully put you together just as He wanted you to be is not an evil overlord who is seeking His own best interest. Instead, He is a Father who desires relationship with those who choose to take Him by faith. It is by faith we are saved, not from bubonic plague, cancer, measles, syphilis and all other forms of physical suffering, but from a much more malicious and insidious source of suffering. Sin is the term the Bible uses to describe all the ways we fall short of His standard, and its this sin that is the root of all that is wrong in this world. It has utterly broken everything as it was meant to be, and every human knows this to be true because we all hurt in some way. Suffering is now a part of this world, not because God caused it, but because He allows it for a time to give all opportunity to turn to Him in faith. There will come a time when He will set everything right again and then all suffering will be gone. This is all a part of , as you call it, the “sect” we call Christianity or “The Way.” I have the assurance that what I believe is true because I see God at work each and every day, changing the heart of my stubborn family member, supplying my needs in surprising ways, and giving me peace that makes no sense in the midst of my struggles. I have the assurance because I know Him just as much as you know your loved one whom you can touch and see.

        I agree, the Bible is a “magic” or supernaturally powerful book because it is the very Word of God. You either take it by faith, or you dismiss it. God is not a bully-God who forces you to accept Him. Either you do, or you don’t. But none of us escapes His dictates because He, as the Maker of all things, calls the shots. If you do continue to reject Him, it is at your own peril. He patiently waits for you, giving you ample time to come around, continuing to pump your heart and expand your lungs with air. None of life would be here without Him, but you don’t have to acknowledge that. It’s entirely up to you.

        Yes, every other belief system can claim to be “the One,” but only one is. I stake my claim on Jesus. If I’m wrong, I die and go into nothingness. If I’m right, I have eternity to live free from pain and suffering with Him. If you’re wrong, your eternal destiny is at stake and the consequences of your unrepentant heart will condemn you forever. If you’re right, you die and go into nothingness. As I see it, Jesus is the only hope for living out eternity in a kind of pain-free utopia. It is my hope that you will see this truth as well. I care enough to warn you. I’m praying for you, Arbourist.

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    • Hi Cindy

      Why does the original or new hold so much weight with you? If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question?

      Isn’t it obvious? We have the fantastic claims made by Christianity about who Jesus was—a god, the Creator of the Universe, no less—coming to earth and holding a three-year ministry. One would expect, naturally, that ministry to have contained something new, something original, something truly remarkable. Why bother even holding a three-year ministry if nothing new was going to be said? Why bother speaking at all? If the goal was to simply die then the drama would have been played out in full by simply letting Herod’s blade do the job when he was an infant. Mission accomplished!

      The question simply seeks to examine the claim by comparing it against the facts. And what is revealed was that there was nothing remarkable, new, or original in anything Jesus said or did in his purported three-year ministry. Nothing at all.

      Don’t you find this thoroughly intriguing?

      Don’t you find this enormously baffling?

      Facts matter, don’t they, Cindy? Now, if those facts are uncomfortable to you then that is something you are going to have to deal with in your own time, at your own pace, but as Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine so eloquently put it:

      “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality made, and the final judge of truth.”

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      • Thank you for expanding on your reasons for asking this question. I think you are speaking to the purpose for Jesus’ ministry. . . if it was only to die, then why not get it over with. This makes sense from where you stand. If you don’t understand the need Jesus came to address, you wouldn’t understand why He had to die the way He did.

        There are several reasons His death came in the way it did. One, he had to fulfill prophesies. If He died right off the bat, He would not be the Messiah all had been waiting for because He would not have fulfilled those prophesies and people would therefore not recognize Him as such. Two, His sacrifice needed to be a final sacrifice made by a sinless, perfect man in order to permanently secure salvation for all who believe. This is how Jesus’ sacrifice was different from the ones you cited in Leviticus: He was without sin yet became sin for us, so that we don’t have to bear the punishment. While the people of Israel, the Jews, were expected to find an animal without blemish to sacrifice, none were perfect. Thus the forgiveness that came was temporary. Jesus provided a way for forgiveness to be ours for all time for those who believe. I know this sounds ludicrous, but there is a triune nature to God which is hard for our small, human minds to comprehend. Third, Jesus spent 33 years as a human, being tempted, undergoing suffering, so that He can understand what we go through. Not for His sake, but for ours. So that we can freely come to Him with our problems and we will find comfort from He who understands and can relate. There is always something comforting about knowing someone else gets what we are feeling. Jesus does.

        These are only a few examples of why Jesus had to die when He did, and why His mission was indeed impactful for those who are being saved. While this may not seem to answer your question in the way you desire, it does answer it for those who believe. It is a matter of faith, you see.

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    • This answers your question somewhat Cindy, and John will not mind, as it is his own quote:

      ‘Perhaps not so surprisingly, Christianity – in its most reckless, pure form – has since its very inception been little more than a socially irresponsible death cult; a degenerate, death-anxious religion that has produced a continuous supply of socially derelict luminaries who have, in the spirit of their sage, longed for nothing short of the total annihilation of our home world.’

      I suggest however the answer is much easier to recognize, and it is as obvious as light is from darkness.

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      • Thanks for that, CS… although I have absolutely no idea, once again, what on earth your point was. But in context, I then go on to list just a few of the over 300 captains of Christianity who have longed for the destruction of our home world, predicting (wrongly, of course) the annihilation of all life on earth at the hands of your particular Middle Eastern god. Nice cult you’ve gotten yourself involved with there, CS, and reason why that post is titled: Death Cult Christianity.

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      • Thanks, Colorstorm. That does help, but I can see how John could come to this conclusion seeing some of the horrible atrocities committed in the name of Jesus. Its shameful and not a great representation of Jesus and His mission of reconciliation. . . .what do you think?

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      • Cindy, “Death Cult Christianity” has nothing at all to do with atrocities committed in the name of the church. It was about captains of Christianity predicting the end of the world. You should read the post. It’s quite enlightening.

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      • Cindi- What do i think?

        The word of God stands blameless. There is a place called Hammersville somewhere down under, where all the worn out tools used to attack God’s word spend their days in useless misery.

        But not a dent or lack of lustre in that which is forever settled in heaven,

        That’s my answer.

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      • Hey Colorstorm,
        I did want to thank you for your reply and sorry it took so long for me to respond. Agreed. . .I was just trying to make the point that many judge Jesus based on what they see in those who claim to follow Him even though their fruit says otherwise. Therefore, observers are not getting a true picture of the Jesus you and I know and love.

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  46. @CPS

    “I hope you didn’t give up on me. . . I’ve been praying for you.”

    Well I’ve been thinking for both of us, I’m still not convinced it is a fair trade.

    ” It touches me to see your hostility. I sense you struggle with being accountable to Someone higher than yourself. “

    Hostility? Err… no. Let us appropriately call it for what it is: frustration and maybe some masochism sprinkled in for flavour. This isn’t a fair contest, it never is when one person is constrained by the bounds of rationality, and the other is not as has been demonstrated by our conversation.

    ” It is a scary thought, indeed, to be in the hands of an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. The One who carefully put you together just as He wanted you to be is not an evil overlord who is seeking His own best interest. ”

    Roughly 24 children have already died in the world because they can’t access clean water in the time it has taken to read your post. Their deaths are not in the hands of any malevolent invisible sky daddy – they died here in the bleak reality that rational people inhabit. It is also in this bleak world where the means exist to prevent these needless deaths. Abdicating your moral and ethical responsibility to some All-father is the very pinnacle of unjust and depraved behaviour.

    “He is a Father who desires relationship with those who choose to take Him by faith. “

    Or by the sword….*cough* The Crusades…

    ” Suffering is now a part of this world, not because God caused it, but because He allows it for a time to give all opportunity to turn to Him in faith.”

    Oh so people who are raped need to suffer so they can find god? If they haven’t found god by the first rape should they be raped again?

    Your lack of ethical compass is showing.

    ” There will come a time when He will set everything right again and then all suffering will be gone.”

    No evidence for this exists. Nothing but a fairy tale for adults who can’t/won’t take the world for what it is. It must be soothing experience – but know that it is denuding your morality and sense of justice.

    ” I have the assurance that what I believe is true because I see God at work each and every day, changing the heart of my stubborn family member, supplying my needs in surprising ways, and giving me peace that makes no sense in the midst of my struggles. “

    All of this indistinguishable from the trials that other religious people impose the people around them and reality they choose to inhabit. What you speak of is not quantifiable, nor is it specific to your particular brand of religious experience.

    One who was genuinely interested in the world as it is, would question why the above is true.

    ” God is not a bully-God who forces you to accept Him. Either you do, or you don’t.”

    I will, via my time-machine (because making up self-serving fantasy is fun!), send the message back to the victims of the Inquisition they all they really had to do was “Just Say No to god” and the ‘He” would understand…

    ” But none of us escapes His dictates because He, as the Maker of all things, calls the shots. If you do continue to reject Him, it is at your own peril.

    Any being that requires coercion to win their favour IS NOT worth believing in. Accept me or burn in Hell – input that into your ethical calculus and explain how that can be anything but appalling.

    ” If I’m right, I have eternity to live free from pain and suffering with Him. If you’re wrong, your eternal destiny is at stake and the consequences of your unrepentant heart will condemn you forever.”

    The worst of humanity does not deserve infinite punishment. Not ever – even if Jesus does love the Hell math.

    One again must remark on the ethical makeup of being that evokes eternal torture as possible option.

    ” It is my hope that you will see this truth as well. I care enough to warn you. I’m praying for you, Arbourist.”

    I would rather you do something useful with your time. It has been the usual theist/atheist loop, thanks for playing.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I was fascinated to see the long discussion with Cindy. I was interested to see that she never once sought to address the question, in essence her whole approach was disingenuous. As a former Christian it was clear to me that she was on a mission to try to convert you.

    Interesting always to see CS pop in with his gem’s of wisdom. If ever there was a parallel universe, some sort of alternative reality then CS is the greatest evidence I have seen to support such a concept.

    Liked by 1 person

      • What has genuinely disappointed me since my Christian faith crumbled has been the reluctance of Christian bloggers to enter into an honest exchange of ideas. In essence the worldview gap seems too large. Their starting position is that the Bible is the infallible word of God so any evidence I raise to demonstrate this not to be true is dismissed out of hand.

        The reality is that people believe despite the evidence, rather than because of it.

        I suppose they see the evidence I produce as a trick of the Devil. Much like how the ‘Devil’ uses science.

        It is so sad, but what is one to do when people are willfully blind? Even worse is the continued propagation of outright lies being stated as fact. What I am unsure about is whether the lies are being propagated as deliberate deceit or as a willful neglect.

        But I still find it sad that it is only liberal Christians who will consider and address evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose they see the evidence I produce as a trick of the Devil.

        Oh, that is EXACTLY how David and some other commenter described it a few hours ago. David said, in response to a David:

        ”David, you may not understand the lexicon of Christianity. Awomansaved was not attacking you, personally. Biblically trained, it becomes very obvious when Satan’s influence is behind words, events, etc. As we mature in faith, take in the Word, and learn to walk with Christ, good and evil are easier to discern. She wasn’t calling you evil. She was calling the influence behind your words the “Enemy”. If you don’t claim to be a saved, born-again Christian, it shouldn’t be a big deal… it’s the least of your concerns. If you are a Christian, it should begin to trouble you greatly.”

        http://appliedfaith.org/2015/08/18/celebrating-the-author-of-the-black-holocaust/

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      • I gave up commenting on David’s blog, because he pretends to be ‘academic’ and ‘open minded’ but appears in reality to be neither.

        The ‘Devil’ argument is just a way of such folk excusing themselves from having to address evidence.

        Over on Isaiah 53:5 when I restricted my arguments to what was actually written in the Bible, the other hackneyed response ‘context’ was used. In the end one respondent on that blog admitted that no amount of evidence would convince him the Bible was in error. I must be a masochist.

        If you happen to have some spare time I do recommend the podcast on this link. It is a discussion with the person who set up the website that details all the errors in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is fascinating because Paul Grundy explains how hard it was for him to leave the JW’s and why it is so hard to get through to deeply religious people.
        http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2015/08/21/4297526.htm

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      • I was raised Anglican, a very mild form of Christianity. But when I got serious about faith I ventured into Pentecostalism.

        I have an Auntie who was JW, she became ill and when she could no longer offers hours of unpaid work they seemed to lose interest in her. She did her own research on the JW’s and realised they were telling their people lies and eventually left. She faded away and was not formerly shunned, so she still has a few JW friends. I still remember two things she told me after she left:
        1. She prayed and prayed and prayed, but God never answered;
        2. Whenever she went to raise concerns with the leaders, the problem was always with her. She just had to submit more and try harder.

        Shunning is so cruel and also tragic, my mind drifts to the scene in Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevya shuns his daughter Chava after she decides to marry the Ukrainian Fyedka. The tears of Chava could not overcome the religious indoctrination. The same happens in Islam, yet some seek to defend religion and fail to accept how cruel it is!

        A slightly different version from the 1939 film:

        Liked by 1 person

    • You caught me, Peter! It is my hope that all of mankind would see the truth and come to know Jesus as I do, as Savior, Lord and Friend. I know Him in the same way any person can be known and the bond I have with Him cannot be “reasoned” away. In fact, I can’t imagine life without Him. Religion, however, is another matter altogether. I’m not a fan and would say that I would join you in being anti-religion.

      I did want to stop by and say “Hi” to John and see how his book is selling. I hope things are going well for you!

      I also wanted to invite you to read today’s post over on my blog, Writings on the Doorframe. The subject matter perfectly dovetails with our conversation from a couple of months ago. I’d be honored if you’d take a moment to read it.

      http://cindyspostscripts.blogspot.com/2015/08/spiritual-eyes.html

      All the best, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Good grief! Just messing about here and came across Cindy. I did not read this the last time I was here.
    This is one seriously messed up screwed in the head woman.

    After reading enough of these people it is like witnessing another model from the Clone Factory.
    FFS, JZ, each and every one simply spews out the same putrid redundant nonsense.

    It’s like having one’s own pet William Lane Craig.

    You should actually re boot this post and just feature Clone Cindy.
    She’s like ColorStorm with an extra half brain cell – maybe.

    Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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