Thursday, May 28, 2009

Worshipers of an evil god.

There is a simple truth. The god described by Christian mythology is evil. The documentation of this is overwhelming. Accepting human sacrifice Judges 11:29-39. Ordering genocide 1 Samuel 15:2-3. The sacking of Amelek is just one example of the many peoples the Christian deity is said to have ordered his people to exterminate. Ordering the capture and rape of little girls Numbers 31:15-18. Forcing people to commit cannibalism Leviticus 26:16, Leviticus 26:29, Deuteronomy 28:53, Deuteronomy 28:57, Isaiah 9:19-20, Jeremiah 19:9, Ezekiel 5:10 among others. Commanding parents to abuse and murder their children and even sell them as slaves Proverbs 23:13-14, Leviticus 20:9, Exodus 21:7.

On the subject of slavery the Christian god figure was very fond of that as well Exodus 21:2, Exodus 21:7, Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus 25:39, Leviticus 25:44-46, Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9-10, 1 Peter 2:18. These passages lay out clear instructions on buying, selling and beating your slaves. It also exhorts the slaves to be obedient and not rebel. These verses were used by Christians to support keeping African slaves in the United States.

This alone should be enough to display the vile nature of the myth that Christianity calls good and just. It is not however the greatest evil. That is reserved for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This variant of the ancient harvest god myth has been perverted by Christianity to make a mockery of justice. In the Christian version of this myth, the corn god was sacrificed as atonement for the sins of mankind. On the surface this seems nice enough, get out of hell free card just accept Jesus. The problem is no one thinks about what it means. It means that Christianity denies morality in exchange for worshiping its god. It is no longer important to be good and just. There is no punishment for evil, the punishment is for those who aren't saved, who don't accept or trust Christ or however they say it. Some Christians will claim that the punishment is for sin and Jesus forgives them. This is just semantics because they have to admit that "all humans are sinful" and there is no way to the father except through Christ so the result is the same.

It doesn't matter what you do, if you suck up to their deity you are spared if you don't you are tortured. That is why Christianity is evil. It destroys morality for those who believe it. Older religions believed in works and justice. They may have been no more real but they had value. People were given the choice of reward for good or punishment for evil. Christianity gives reward for being a Christian and punishment for not being one. Christians can be as wicked and sinful as they like, and many are. It doesn't matter because "Jesus Saves".

That leads to scenarios' like this. A man abducts and rapes a young woman, to avoid any age of accountability dodges we will say she is thirteen. He brutally rapes and tortures her for days, before finally killing and eating her. Afterwards he feels bad about it and scared of punishment and worried about hell. He crosses the street to a church, repents his actions and "makes a decision for Christ" or whatever phraseology that particular cult uses. He then dies a true Christian. He is rewarded with eternal bliss in the presence of his god. His little victim however was a Jew, or Wiccan, or atheist. She is damned to hell and eternal torture because she was murdered and eaten before accepting Christ. That is the true evil of Christianity. The true evil of Christians is that they call this "perfect justice". They will dance and dodge and claim that doesn't happen and it is just made up, some will even say out of ignorance that "God doesn't do that" however it is the fact of their doctrine. It is not made up, it has happened. Stacy Moskowitz was a practicing Jew when she was murdered by David Berkowitz. David Berkowitz was the Son of Sam serial killer, he murdered several other people also. David was found guilty and now serves multiple life sentences in jail. While in jail, David has become a born-again Christian. According to the Christian myth Stacy is in Hell being tortured by demons and the serial killer who murdered her is assured a place in heaven. Christians call this good. Berkowitz is their brother in Christ, and Stacy is just a miserable sinner recieving the punishment she deserves.

Fortunately it is just a story. Those of us who reject it can be good and moral. We can live life knowing it has value and meaning outside of flattering some ancient storm god. We can live by the moral instincts nature has provided, the codes of ethics that humanity has cultivated over centuries, and the codes of law implemented by our respective governments. If we desire forgiveness for our wrongs, we can seek it from those we have wronged. That is true forgiveness, not the fake forgiveness that comes from praying to an imaginary god.



Thanks to Beamstalk for the information about David Berkowitz, I quoted him directly.

48 comments:

Leigh said...

Going back up to the Jesus sacrifice thing, that is something about Christianity that really pisses me off.
I follow the Norse religion, and so I have a dying god, Odin. It's a big deal for us Heathen, after all Odin dies for knowledge, he sacrifices himself to gain the knowledge that makes him a god.
Lots of other religions have that story, usually the god is dying for something really important, for knowledge, to bring life back to the land, to allow his people to live.
Jesus's sacrifice seems petty and kind of pointless compared to that. It's a selfish sacrifice, and it's annoying. They took a powerful story and messed it all up.

Ryk said...

@Leigh
Agreed much of the most useful metaphors and wisdom come not from monotheism, but from pagan belief. This makes sense because all of the Monotheistic faiths were originally polytheistic. Whatever wisdom they still have is a holdover from that time.

It is likely that all gods are simply variants of the myths common to the original human tribes that eventually spread throughout the world. That is why the stories repeat. In some cases the stories are clearly plagiarized. The Noahic flood being copied from the epic of Gilgamesh for example. In others the Gods have been distorted through tales and stories. For example the metamorphosis from the original YAH into both the monotheistic Hebrew YAHWHEH and The Grecian Zeus. Both are aspects of the same being.

Norse tradition has more than one sacrificial God. I have always equated Balder/Thor with the Christ myth. Balder was the gentle son of Odin quiet kind and well loved, but he was murdered with mistletoe through the treachery of Loki. This left the second son Thor to be the combatant that brings down the serpent at Ragnarok. This matches nicely with the story of the gentle messiah who came as a teacher and healer to give warning and salvation who is murdered on the cross, and the conquering Messiah who returns at Armageddon to herald the end of the world and strike down evil. It seems simply a cultural variant on the same story. Memes are important and I think our religious history is recycled and reinvented in every region man settles and with every generation upon the earth.

JD Curtis said...

Ryk baby, what's shakin' man? I wanted to address a couple of things from this thread and from the other blog a little later on today. Tell me, do HTML links work here? If I wanted to provide a source I'll use those instead of just pasting a link. JD Curtis

JD Curtis said...

"Evil in the general sense of western morality. Such things as child rape, human sacrifice, cannibalism, and slavery are all widely regarded as Evil. Actually there are I believe no places on earth where these are considered good. They are all things ordered by your supposed God. However it is this presumption of the right to forgive some and torture others that I see as the greatest of the evils attributed to it"

In order to acertain where you are coming from, what examples of "cannibalism", "child rape" and "human sacrifice" are you referring to?

"Eyewitness testimony is inherently unreliable and even in legal cases is disregarded if it conflicts the physical evidence."

It can be. The authors of three of the gospels, for example, were eyewitnesses to the claimed events and a fourth was personally aquainted with witnesses. By that standard they are more reliable than many historical texts whos authenticity arent questioned.

"There is ample evidence that the gospels were not written by any one who knew Jesus"

See above. Insofar as other extra-Biblical acounts of Jesus, we must remember that in the Roman Empire, word often travelled slowly and I would be suspicious of any testimonies that date from the immediate time of Jesus and would expect them to be from some years later.

"There is also evidence that the Jesus described in the Gospels is a composite myth based on many messiah figures from the time after the fall of the temple mixed with Greek and pagan myths and philosophy"

I have heard this before. Just to make sure we are discussing the same things, maybe you could name a couple of the "Greek and pagan myths" and we could examine them.

JD Curtis said...

"The Bible contains some of what may be called history although archaeology backs up little of it. It is the tribal legends of the ancient Israelites. It contains their myths, laws, geneologies, and some bits of history. The few histories that can be demonstrated in no way substantiate the religiouse aspects except in documenting the myths of the people. The creation story, the flood story, the wandering in the desert are all contradicted by modern archaeology and geology."

This is just willful ignorance barely rising above some sort of sub-Wikipedia level. Science is confirming that which was written millenia ago in the Bible. The historical existences of King Saul, the Hittites, Nineveh and most recently it seems, Nehemiah's Wall and the locations of Sodom and Gomorrah are all indicative of the accuracy of the Bible.

Ryk said...

@JD

I will adress some of your points as I can, Oh and yes links are fine. I will trust that people will avoid sites with spam, trojans, spyware and goatse. As to the accounts of child rape and cannibalism I cite the scripture in the main body of the post. The same with the genocide and slavery.

I have seen no evidence that the gospels were written by abyone who knew any of the Messiahs who appeared after the fall of the temple. It is commonly believed that they were written much later and not by any actual disciples. The only "witness" is Mark who heard it second hand from Peter. The other two synoptic gospels mathew and luke were written much later using Mark as a reference. The Gospel of John is the only one of the many Gnostic gospels to make it into the official Bible. It's author was likely independant of the other three but it is doubtful that he witnessed anything.

As to the other non biblical accounts they are not particularly reliable and in the case of Josephus widely regarded as fake. In any case even if given perfect trust they only demonstrate that there was a heretic named Jesus, who founded a cult, who's members worshipped him as a god. They do not support ressurection or miracles. I believe there were many would be messiahs that appeared after the fall of the temple. One or more likely were called Jesus as the name means alternatively salvation or he who saves. Christ is also a greek term meaning annointed. So that name is likely a mythical name rather than an accurate one. Any messiah would have been called Christ and there were many Yeshu and Yeshua in that time. Two at least are early messiahs which are likely part of the composite Christ myth. Two essenes (which could be the same figure) Yieshu ha Notzri and Jesua ben Pandera are early Messiah figures who are likely part of the Christ myth. Another who was executed by Pilate seems possible as well. However the Gospels are likely a composite of these figures, with a lot of mythmaking added on and a lot of filler to retroactively fulfil prophecy.

As to the greek and pagan myths that were incorporated into the Christ legend are Dionysious and Mythras were both grafted on in order to attract sophisticated Romans to the faith. Constantine was a Mythrist who also worshipped Christ. He often confused them praising Jesus as a sun God which is a mythran attribute. The emporer was likely hedging his bets praying to to popular Gods like any good Roman would.

Ryk said...

@JD continued I hate the character limit.

The creation story is easily discredited, in fact trivially so because it contradicts scientific fact. The flood is contradicted because geology has zero evidence of a consistent worldwide flood plain, certainly not one that contains fossils of a variety of modern species mixed with dinosaurs and such. Also even the most generous estimates of the date of the Noahic flood has several civilizations passing undamaged, uninterrupted and unaware right through it. Also archaeology and history demonstrate that the Noah myth is plagiarized from the older epic of Gilgamesh. Many of the other stories from the Bible are also copies of caananite and babylonian myths.

Also there is no archaeological evidence of the forty years in the desert, there is no record in egypt of any of the plagues or the loss of thousands of slaves.

Yes some of the historical places and even individuals can be authenticated that is to be expected. The same can be said regarding the The Iliad , the Odyssey, the labors of Heracles, the Skjoldungasaga, and many other ancient tales. This does not substantiate the associated magic and Gods.

If you have time for some reading I would recommend This. It is a nice essay that brings together a number of perspectives and lines of evidence. It is simply an essay and not a primary resource but it is very well out together.

Ryk said...

@JD
please forgive the quality of my spelling in the last posts, I am suffering from a lack of sleep due to illness, and a slight excess of beer as a failed ploy to induce sleep.

JD Curtis said...

I'm not the Grammer Nazi. I'll post something later. Get some rest.

Jquip said...

"According to the Christian myth Stacy is in Hell being tortured by demons and the serial killer who murdered her is assured a place in heaven"

Interesting that you get quite a bit correct (and cited) about the Christian mythos to so horribly drop the ball at this very moment. As Stacy was a practicing Jew she would find salvation or damnation under the Covenant of the old testament rather than requiring an acceptance of Christ.

Even if we grant that the narrative still sounds nice it still relies on a fundamental misunderstanding of what possible relationships a deity or set of deities would have with man. (As do the cited portions relating to genocide, et al. Also, the final point in this reply.)

I'll grant you the problem of jailhouse conversions; though this is hardly unique to Christianity. It is the human condition that we take the path of least resistance for personal redemption. All the better if it's only for appearances, eh? That said, Christianity requires more than an acknowledgment of the divinity of Christ to get the eternal rewards. This too is a glaring misunderstanding on your behalf of how Christianity functions.

The most damning thing, to me, of the chain of logic you set up here doesn't occur until you mention Thor in the comments. You already acknowledge that various religions give rise to tales of moral behaviour. And you acknowledge that these are recycled over time. If that is so however then it is clear that you have tried to falsely separate the various moral tales of religion from the code of ethics and legal system that you chide us to enjoy.

Lastly, putting paid to the line of thought entirely, is that the only forgiveness is the forgiveness we can seek from those we aggrieve. This is a very archaic concept of victor's justice that we do not entertain in the modern world generally. But it's enough to simply state that seeking forgiveness from the Christian God for aggrieving him and his laws is precisely the same sort of forgiveness that you characterize as the only "true" forgiveness.

I'll give you a great deal of credit for your obvious thoughtfulness. But you lack any depth to your insights as yet.

Milo said...

The Christian's doctrine of hell condemns the religion as evil. Everything good in its teachings are tainted and nullified by this one belief. It seems most Christians deal with hell in an abstract manner and have a difficult time dealing with specifics, i.e. the Ann Frank syndrome. It's like pulling teeth to get one of them to admit that according to their bible Ann Frank is being tortured in hell. Anyone who has read her diary and knows about her life cannot imagine that this girl would be subject to hell after everything she went through. Yet that is exactly what the Christian must believe. Hitler is an amateur compared to God. What is a few months in a concentration camp next to eternal torture? Ray cannot emphasize enough the evilness of Hitler, why can he not see it applies to his God also? Luckily there is no hell or heaven or God.

Ryk said...

@Jquip

I would be interested in seeing the source for your information that seeking forgiveness from the victimized party is not practiced widely in the modern world. It sounds interesting. I agree it is not widely practiced by Christians because they seek forgiveness from their deity which does not require any effort to earn. I think the phenomena is unique to Chistianity however. Among people I know who are non Christian, atheists, agnostics, Pagans, Jews and Muslims it is common practice when having wronged someone to seek their forgiveness. I even know a few Christians who engage in the practice.

You seem to assume that Jailhouse conversions are not true conversions. Using a variant of the no true Scottsman fallacy. How do you know? It seems likely the David Berkowitz is a true Bible believing Christian now. So if he is, does he or does he not deserve salvation and a place in heaven? Is he or is he not your brother in Christ?

You also claim that Jews can achieve salvaation under the old covenant. This is fallacious for two reasons.

1. It is untrue Jesus said that no one comes to the father except through him. Since observant Jews deny Jesus was the Messiah and have no use for. They are condemned according to your religion. Those denominations who argue as you do are calling Christ a liar.

2 It is an unsubtle dodge. The scenario is just one of many rape murders that happen. Had Stacy been a Pagan, atheist, or Muslim you would not be able to use this dodge. So even if you pretend that your religion has a loophole for Jews it only discredits part of the example it means nothing to the point of the discussion.

Finally if your religion has a loophole for Jews wouldn't it be better to be a Jew? As a Jew you could achieve heaven whether or not Christ was the messiah. Under pascals wager you would be far better served in that regard.

Milo said...

Don't forget the case of Karla Faye Tucker.

Jquip said...

"It sounds interesting. I agree it is not widely practiced by Christians because they seek forgiveness from their deity which does not require any effort to earn."

In the true form of dueling anecdotes I will say that I've seen equal amounts of all Faiths beg forgiveness from their victims -- or, insanely, their victims family -- at the sentencing hearing. And it is that sentencing, under law, that is all that matters to the argument. I have apparently made the erroneous assumption that fulfilling your term of punishment under the legal system was the only proper form of penance and redemption in a secular system. But if you'd like to claim that it is only via the forgiveness of the victim then it is your view that is far more heinous as it disavows any ability to find a personal salvation or redemption. Should the victim -- or, insanely, the victims family -- refuse to grant you such a boon.

"You seem to assume that Jailhouse conversions are not true conversions. Using a variant of the no true Scottsman fallacy."

That's an odd remark for you to make as your entire argument as to the lack of worth of Christianity posits that there are nothing but Jailhouse conversions. If you had any passing familiarity with the religion you are criticizing you would be well aware that simply proclaiming your conversion to others is not the same as a true conversion. Such a conversion -- being born again, as it were -- being evidenced by Faith and Works. If one fails to live correctly after the conversion then no salvation is granted. (Sidestepping the issue of indulgences for now, natch.)

"Since observant Jews deny Jesus was the Messiah and have no use for. They are condemned according to your religion."

Which is interesting. If Jesus was not the Messiah then the Messiah is late by prophecy. And so Judaism and all its offspring are proven false. Though, while interesting, it is completely irrelevant to the teachings of Christ on the matter. And is an unsuitable rebuttal to the flaw in the example you chose. There are, no doubt to me, much better examples that you can use to make your point on that matter.


"So even if you pretend that your religion has a loophole for Jews it only discredits part of the example it means nothing to the point of the discussion."

Lovely. So if you are in error in your knowledge of the rules of the game it must be a "loophole" that lets your point stand regardless its complete inapplicability to the circumstance? It seems an odd manner to impeach a system by claiming that it is the way you want it to be rather than the way its been affixed in text for some 2 millennia.

Of course it is no matter to me. I neither accept the validity of Pascal's Wager nor have Faith in any absolute statement of the nature -- or lack thereof -- of the supernatural. And while Atheists might like to claim me I do prefer to be known properly as an Agnostic.

Again, it would do you well to understand what you are throwing down the well before you embark on such an action.

Ryk said...

@JQuip

It seems you thought I was confusing forgiveness with avoiding punishment, in the Christian fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Forgiveness from the person you wronged can not take the place of legal punishment, and I wouldn't say it should. What I am saying is if someone serves 30 years for rape that doesn't make them forgiven, only the victim can forgive. Serving their sentence may make them free of legal obligation. However in less the victim forgives them they are still nothing but a dirty rapist. Only the victim can absolve guilt and they don't have to. Sometimes the guilty need to seek punishment under the law, and make restitution, and work for a lifetime to gain that forgiveness. Likewise forgiveness from the victim does not absolve someone of their legal punishment. If the victim forgives the rapist after five years then that is wonderful for him but he still has twenty five years to serve.

You also misunferstood my argument. I am willing to accept that David Berkowitz AKA Son of Sam is now a true Christian that he has sincerely converted and been forgiven his sins by God. If he has I still say why should that absolve him of his crime, while his victim suffers in hell? How does simply worshiping a God make up for a murder? That is the point, it doesn't matter what crimes or sins a Christian committed before they converted they are still absolved. Likewise it doesn't matter how small and minor the sins of a nonbeliever were they still suffer eternal torture. That is why the Christ myth is so evil. It punishes unbelief, not behavior. Saying that it punishes behavior but you can avoid the punishment through whatever sort of salvation the partiucular Christian variant endorses, is just semantics and dishones. Christ said no one comes to the father except through him. Any non Christian even a sinless one would be damned to hell because they weren't "saved" through Christ. Or whatever terminology is proper for the brand of Christian in question. The reason I qualify things like "saved" is because all of the different brands have their own terminology and if I don't phrase things correctly they will focus on how I phrased it in order to distract from the argument.

On the subject of whether Jews being saved you dance around a bit but you don't answer. So I will phrase it clearly.

Do Observant Jews who live correctly according to their faith go to heaven, despite not believing that Jesus was the Messiah.

If so where is this stated, and why does it not contradict the statement by Christ that none shall come to the father except through him.

If they do not, why did you indicate that they did.

As to me being in error of the wording of the Gospels I think you are the one in error. Everything I have said is correct according to scripture. It contradicts how many Christians choose to portray their religion but it in no way contradicts the Bible.

It matters little to me whether you are atheist, agnostic, or Christian. It doesn't alter the fact that you are in error. I have corrected atheists on many occasions for being in error. It is not like I would say "Oh well your not a Christian I guess you are right then." I am sorry I confused you with a Christian, that was rude. It makes no difference in how I would respond to your points however.

Jquip said...

"It seems you thought I was confusing forgiveness with avoiding punishment, in the Christian fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Forgiveness from the person you wronged can not take the place of legal punishment, and I wouldn't say it should."

Bravo! You just made the very argument you damned Christianity for. Shall I paraphrase you and say "this is why you are evil"?

This should be sufficient for now and I'll address this point alone for the time being to keep the noise down.

Ryk said...

@Jquip

Please elaborate, because what you said here is complete nonsense. How can claiming that only the victim has the right to forgive support the argument that an imaginary being can forgive in their place? If you mean that the imaginary being punishes whether or not the victim forgives which is what I think you are getting at you are ignoring the important part in favor of trivia. The important part is the imaginary being refuses to punish the guilty if they kiss his ass. That is the corrupt part. That is why Christianity is void of morality because it is not about good or bad behavior, it is about sucking up to their imaginary friend.

JD Curtis said...

Numbers 31:15-18. I see no instructions in these verses to rape children. If you see it maybe you could point it out to me. The children are to be spared the sword in this and often times in the ancient world, wholesale slaughter of conquered peoples was not unheard of. From Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary "This war was the execution of a righteous sentence upon a guilty nation, in which the women were the worst criminals. The female children were spared, who, being brought up among the Israelites, would not tempt them to idolatry. The whole history shows the hatefulness of sin, and the guilt of tempting others; it teaches us to avoid all occasions of evil, and to give no quarter to inward lusts. The women and children were not kept for sinful purposes, but for slaves, a custom every where practised in former times, as to captives. In the course of providence, when famine and plagues visit a nation for sin, children suffer in the common calamity. In this case parents are punished in their children; and for children dying before actual sin, full provision is made as to their eternal happiness, by the mercy of God in Christ."

JD Curtis said...

Judges 11:29-39. It would appear that Jephthah came up with the idea of offering up a burnt sacrifice to God if He would deliver his enemies through military defeat. God did not instruct him to do so and both Wesley's and Henry's commentaries indicate that he did not sacrifice his daughter "but only devoted (her) to perpetual virginity. This appears, From ver.37,38, where we read, that she bewailed not her death, which had been the chief cause of lamentation, if that had been vowed, but her virginity: From this ver.39, where, after he had said, that he did with her according to his vow" he adds, by way of declaration of the matter of that vow, and she knew no man. It is probably conceived, that the Greeks, who used to steal sacred histories, and turn them into fables, had from this history their relation of Iphigenia (which may be put for Jephtigenia) sacrificed by her father Agamemnon, which is described by many of the same circumstances wherewith this is accompanied." (Wesley)

JD Curtis said...

1 Samuel 15:2-3. The destruction of the Amelkites was pronounced long before their eventual demise. "The sentence of condemnation against the Amalekites had gone forth long before, Ex 17:14; De 25:19, but they had been spared till they filled up the measure of their sins. We are sure that the righteous Lord does no injustice to any." (Henry)


It would appear that they were given opportunity to change their ways but they refused. I think the best commentary on these verses is from a writer who stated "God is good. He defines the good. But there is no sense in which the word "omnibenevolent" can be reasonably be applied to Him as He is described in the Bible. And the fact that many Christians are not intellectually sophisticated theologians does not excuse anyone, least of all atheist critics, from addressing the tenets of the faith as they are laid out in its foundational document." (Day)

I'm not trying to change the topic here but the writer brings up an important point. "Omnibenevolence" is an elusive term that cannot be applied to a God (if he exists) who transcends time and space and gets to see all of the eventual consequences of Hhis plan, actions and prophecies whereas we are mortal, finite and limited and we are afforded , at best, a brief snapshot of the entire series of events in history. This is one reason why I think there is so much anger at God in the world today.






From Wesley "the hereditary and restless enemy of Israel (Nu 14:45; Jud 3:13; 6:3), and who had not repented (1Sa 14:48) of their bitter and sleepless hatred during the five hundred years that had elapsed since their doom was pronounced. Being a people of nomadic habits, they were as plundering and dangerous as the Bedouin Arabs, particularly to the southern tribes. The national interest required, and God, as King of Israel, decreed that this public enemy should be removed. Their destruction was to be without reservation or exception."

JD Curtis said...

Leviticus 26:16. I really don't see cannibalism here. Maybe you could help me out.

JD Curtis said...

Leviticus 26:29. "ye shall eat the flesh of your sons"-"The revolting picture was actually exhibited at the siege of Samaria, at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (La 4:10), and at the destruction of that city by the Romans. (See on [49]De 28:53)." Jamieson Faussett Brown commentary. This appears to be prophetic rather than a commandment to go out and eat people.

JD Curtis said...

Deuteronomy 28:53 "And in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee, thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters whom Jehovah thy God hath given thee." Again, prophetic. Telling them how bad things are going to get. Not saying that cannibalism is allright and go out and do it.

JD Curtis said...

Deuteronomy 28:57 "She won't share with them the afterbirth from her body and the children she gives birth to. She will secretly eat them out of dire necessity, because of the hardships your enemies will make you suffer during the blockade of your cities" Ditto, prophetic.

I think I see a pattern developing here. Are ther any verses you can think of that encourage it or say it (canibalism) is OK? Do you think alot of this could have been avoided through repentance?

JD Curtis said...

"Commanding parents to abuse and murder their children and even sell them as slaves Proverbs 23:13-14, Leviticus 20:9, Exodus 21:7." Let's take a look at these.

Proverbs 23:13-14 "Do not hesitate to discipline a child. If you spank him, he will not die. Spank him yourself, and you will save his soul from hell."

Really Ryk. Corporal punishment. Thats it. How many youngsters today could use a good butt-whuppin? My parents didnt "spare the rod" and I'm grateful for it. It builds character and caused me to think twice before doing something wrong again. Look around this week and see if you don't see some "parent" trying to deal with their kid like they are their "buddy" or something and the kid doesnt listen at all and merely mocks the parent. There should be no question as to who is in charge in a child-parent relationship. If you doubt that disciplining a child can "save his soul from hell" then it it might also "keep his butt out of jail" someday by causing him to remember right from wrong and that there are consequences for wrong behavior.




Exodus 21:7 "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do." From the Jamieson Faussett Brown Commenary "

Ex 21:7-36. Laws for Maidservants.

7-11. if a man sell his daughter-Hebrew girls might be redeemed for a reasonable sum. But in the event of her parents or friends being unable to pay the redemption money, her owner was not at liberty to sell her elsewhere. Should she have been betrothed to him or his son, and either change their minds, a maintenance must be provided for her suitable to her condition as his intended wife, or her freedom instantly granted."

This was the reality of the times that they lived in. For comparison, are there better laws from this time period you could cite?

JD Curtis said...

Leviticus 20:9 "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him." http://www.biblequery.org/lev.html It would appear that the person who kept the fifth commandment would not have anythig to worry about. While checking through some commentaries, I came across this concerning Leviticus 20 "

Q: In Lev 20, why were so many crimes punished with the death penalty?
A: Apparently these things were serious enough to merit execution in God’s eyes. Instead of trying to fit God into our own preconceived notions, let us learn what God taught, and then look for reasons for this. Crimes meriting the death penalty fall into three categories:
Taking human life: intentional murder and unintentional murder if they do not flee to a city of refuge. An important difference between the Old Testament Law and other laws is that it did not matter if the victim was slave or free. A person being executed for taking human life is fitting punishment for taking human life.
Sexual sins: Most sexual sins, adultery, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, are punished with death. Many sexual sins are addictive, and they try to entangle others in their sin. For the good of the community at that time, they were executed.
Open defiance: Worshipping other gods, fortune telling, etc. is defiance against God for God’s chosen people, the Jews. Of course a Jew could leave the people, assimilate in another country, and do what they wished. But for Jews living as the chosen people, God did not tolerate defiance against Himself. He also did not tolerate defiance against parents, such as openly cursing them. (Leviticus 20:9).
735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.67-68 points out that the Old Testament had fewer crimes punished by the death penalty than other law codes. Many other law codes would kill thieves.
As a contrast to the Old Testament Law, the Islamic Sharia Law is different. If a freeman and a slave kill a slave together, the slave is executed and the freeman only has to pay half the blood money. Here is the quote: Malik said about an adult and a child when they murder a man together. ‘The adult is killed and the child pays half the full blood-money.’ Malik said, ‘It is like that with a freeman and a slave when they murder a slave. The slave is killed and the freeman pays half of his value.’" Muwatta Malik 43.3.3


So even if it sounds harsh, overall and on net balance, the Old Testament had fewer crimes punishable by death than other law codes.

Ryk said...

It is no surprise to me that you use interpretations to justify the behaviors condoned by the Bible. I admit the parts about caanibalism are prophetic however it reads far more like BibleGod is threatening them rather than warning them. If so it is another of his murderous temper tantrums.

As to Jephtah. Please show me where in the Bible it says that she was not sacrificed. It does not she does mourn having to die a virgin but the verse clearly states, he did with her as he had promised, he had promised a burnt offering. Also had your god not wanted the gift of roasted little girl he could have caused something else to greey Jephtah first. Also since Jephtah continued in good favor with Biblegod afterwards and continued to judge Israel it seems that Biblegod was happy with the sacrifice. Had this been a morality tale about not making foolish promises Jephtah would have been punished or rebuked.

Beating children with a rod is a bit beyond spanking, bashing in their heads with rocks for "cursing their parents" is wicked and selling them as slaves is despicable. I am aware that all of these things were the custom at the time. That is my point. Your God is not some good and wise being. It is the tribal myth of a bunch of bronze age barbarians.

Ryk said...

As to the acts of genocide and rape. For one e.ven if I accepted your justification that the girl children were kept as slaves rather than raped, it would still be the act of ignorant savages. However I don't accept it. If they were taking slaves why specifically female virgins? Your interpretation is completely self serving and does not reflect the text. Why slaughter all of the helpless prisoners, even male children and infants, but keep virginal little girls. Because the pillaging horde wanted rape with their plunder.

The fact that you actually accept the many acts of genocide that BibleGod commanded proves my point. Humanity has outgrown the crude moral code of the Bible. We are better than your god figure. That is why Christians are ashamed of these verses and try to interpret them away. Your God can not have be the source of morality because the morality of the Bible is inferior and ugly.

Even the useful parts, such as some of the ten commandments are simplistic. They fall well within the range of what any civilization would need in order to function. They are the minimum morality, not the best. Even the supposed wisdom of Christ is in no way deep or revolutionary.

JD Curtis said...

I admit the parts about canibalism are prophetic however it reads far more like BibleGod is threatening them rather than warning them

Please differentiate between "threatening" and "warning" them in this particular case. "Warning" them sounds like a sissified version of the same thing.

As to Jephtah. Please show me where in the Bible it says that she was not sacrificed.

From the above commentary "both Wesley's and Henry's commentaries indicate that he did not sacrifice his daughter "but only devoted (her) to perpetual virginity. This appears, From ver.37,38, where we read, that she bewailed not her death, which had been the chief cause of lamentation, if that had been vowed, but her virginity: From this ver.39, where, after he had said, that he did with her according to his vow" he adds, by way of declaration of the matter of that vow, and she knew no man. It is probably conceived, that the Greeks, who used to steal sacred histories, and turn them into fables, had from this history their relation of Iphigenia (which may be put for Jephtigenia) sacrificed by her father Agamemnon, which is described by many of the same circumstances wherewith this is accompanied." (Wesley)


Any way you slice it, God did not command Jephtah to sacrifice his daughter. Period> Any other interpretation of the verses cited is inaccurate. It doesnt state outright that he did kill her. Human sacrifice was forbidden in scripture. "Lange says, "At all events, it does not 'stand there in the text,' as Luther wrote, that she was offered in sacrifice." And the fact that the maidens mourned her virginity and not her death seems to prove that she did not die."

Why slaughter all of the helpless prisoners, even male children and infants, but keep virginal little girls. Because the pillaging horde wanted rape with their plunder.

This is at best presumptuous on your behalf and at worst, an insight as to your state of mind. Nowhere does it say that children are to be raped. I think I'll pass on the two-way Rohrshach test with you as such an experience might cause me to run screaming into the night from the psychologist's office.

The fact that you actually accept the many acts of genocide that BibleGod commanded proves my point.

Please reread my post from 4:08 and let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Your God can not have be the source of morality because the morality of the Bible is inferior and ugly.

Again, by what system, from that point in time, are you using to determine that such morality laid out in the Bible is "inferior and ugly".

JD Curtis said...

A couple of points that I didnt address in my earlier posts........

Insofar as the Gilgamesh/Noah contraversy, this link provides that there are seven similarities between the two accounts however there are at least twenty eight differences that make them distinct. Not the least of which is that the vessel described in the Gilgamesh account was unseaworthy, while Noah's was.

As to the greek and pagan myths that were incorporated into the Christ legend are Dionysious and Mythras were both grafted on in order to attract sophisticated Romans to the faith.

Insofar as Dionysious is concerned, one writer put it thusly "There are no histories which claim the Greek god Dionysius turned water into wine nor are there any purported eyewitnesses to him doing so; the histories which do mention water turning into wine at two temples dedicated to him don't even pretend to take the tradition seriously. Pausanius writes: "Three pots are brought into the building by the priests and set down empty in the presence of the citizens and of any strangers who may chance to be in the country. The doors of the building are sealed by the priests themselves and by any others who may be so inclined. On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine.... If the Greeks are to be believed in these matters, one might with equal reason accept what the Ethiopians above Syene say about the table of the sun."

And then, of course, one must also take into account that no one actually claimed to have ever seen Dionysius, for the very good reason that the sight of him was generally supposed to immediately precede being torn to pieces by his maddened Maenads. Dionysius is a mythic deity; there has never been any belief that he was a historical personage in either his Greek or Roman form. (Day)

Insofar as Mithras is concerned, "The Zoroastrian Mithra is not the Roman Mithras. There is no evidence, historical, archeological, or scientific, of any connection between the two other than the similarity of the name. The characteristics and rites are very different; particularly the latter in that there were no rites of Mithra of any kind. Roman Mithraism post-dates Christianity, so to the extent that any similarities between Jesus Christ and Mithras are to be considered evidence of a religion's fictitious nature, it must be directed at Mithraism, not Christianity. The historical record is also clear that in the second century AD, it was believed that Mithraists were copying Christianity, not the other way around." (Day)

It would appear that in both instances, the other competing claims were copies of Christianity and not the other way around.

Ryk said...

I did not saythat Dionysius was real or actualy turned water in to wine. I am quite aware that Dionysius like Jesus is a figure of myth. Also I am aware that there are several distinctions between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Tale of Noah. Obviously the two myths are different retellings of the same story. It makes sense that as the early tribes that became the Hebrew people adopted monotheism that they would develope their own variants on the original myths. As Yah evolved from a simple storm God, the weaker younger brother of Baal, into the suprem deity of a monotheistic religion the stories told by the tribes who worshipped him would also change. I find it interesting that Yah also evolved to become the Grecian Zeus and later the Roman Jupiter. So technicaly while the Romans were repressing the Jews they were worshiping variants of the same god.

It is difficult to Say who copied who regarding Mythras and Jesus. Certainly the Essenes the various messiah cults and the Gnostics all predate Mythraism, but by the time the Gospels were incorporated into what we call the Bible there was certainly opportunity and reason to graft bits of Mythraism onto Christianity.

JD Curtis said...

William Lane Craig once answered a skeptic's question about extra-canonical sources thusly..

"outside of the canon are there that support Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in bodily form, and ascension into heaven?

Actually, there are lots of extra-canonical sources that support Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, sources which I suspect you’ve never thought of. You’re thinking of later extra-canonical sources like Josephus and Tacitus. But the really interesting extra-canonical sources are the earlier ones, that is to say, the sources used by the New Testament writers themselves. Now before you cry foul, you need to reflect that these sources are not themselves in the canon but go back even closer to the events than the canonical books. These are, therefore, the center of historical Jesus study today, not the later extra-canonical sources. Honestly, if you’re focused on what later extra-canonical sources there are for Jesus, you’re really missing the boat.

What are some of these sources? The Passion story used by Mark, the formula cited by Paul in I Cor. 15.3-5, Matthew’s special source called M, Luke’s special source called L, and so forth. Some of these are incredibly early sources (which helps to answer your second question). The pre-Markan passion story probably dates from the 30s and is based on eyewitness testimony, and the pre-Pauline formula in I Cor. 15.3-5 has been dated within a couple of years or even months of Jesus’ death. I think you can see why these are the really interesting sources, not some later report by Josephus.

Now these sources provide abundant, independent testimony to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Later references to Jesus by the Roman historian Tacitus, the Jewish historian Josephus, the Syrian writer Mara bar Serapion, rabbinical writings, and extra-biblical Christian authors confirm what the New Testament documents tell us about Jesus but don’t really give us anything new. You can find such sources cited and discussed in R. T. France’s very fine book The Evidence for Jesus (1986) or in Robert Van Voorst’s definitive Jesus outside the New Testament (2000). What is key for the historian, however, will be, not these later sources, but the New Testament documents themselves and their sources.

Which leads to my question to you: why are you interested in extra-canonical sources rather than the primary source documents themselves? Doesn’t your very question betray the prejudice that the New Testament documents are historically unreliable? But if there are sources outside the New Testament that speak of Jesus, ah, that’s real evidence!

You need to keep in mind that originally there wasn’t any such book called “The New Testament.” There were just these separate documents handed down from the first century, things like the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of John, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, Greece, and so on. It wasn’t until a couple centuries later that the church officially collected all these documents under one cover, which came to be known as the New Testament. The church only included the earliest sources which were closest to Jesus and the original disciples and left out the later, secondary accounts like the forged apocryphal gospels, which everyone knew were fakes. So from the very nature of the case, the best historical sources were included in the New Testament. People who insist on evidence taken only from writings outside the New Testament don’t understand what they’re asking for. They’re demanding that we ignore the earliest, primary sources about Jesus in favor of sources which are later, secondary, and less reliable, which is just nuts as historical methodology.

The real question is, how reliable are the documents for the life of Jesus that came to be incorporated into the book we now call the New Testament?
"

JD Curtis said...

I am quite aware that Dionysius like Jesus is a figure of myth.

On what evidence do you base this assertion Ryk? There is far better evidence to prove the historical existence of Jesus of Nazereth than Alexander the Great who almost nobody questions if he was real or not.

Regarding Josephus, I emailed a professor yestersay (she teaches History of Western Civilization to undergraduates) at a small Eastern college re: the accuracy of Flavius Josephus and she emailed me the following. He is a Jewish historian, and eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem. Because of the generally balanced treatment of all sides, he is regarded as accurate. His work doesn’t received the same scrutiny as the Scripture (because it doesn’t claim inspiration), but is the equivalent of Herodotus, Thucydides, Pliny and others.
It would appear, on the surface anyway that Josephus is regarded as credible within acedemia. On what basis are you stating that his writings are fictitious?

I didnt mean to spam you with too much info, so let's keep this simple. Two questions.

1. Did you examine the New Testament accounts of Jesus and if so, why did you think they were lacking in authenticity?

2. Do you think that the other extra-biblical authors cited were referring to someone else?

Ryk said...

@JD
I would sat the sources for the new testament are extremely unreliable. Considering how late the gospels were written, the fact that they were unlikely to have been written by the people who had any firsthand knowledge, it seems there was ample time for mythmaking. Particularly by a group actively trying to found a religion.

However I have not read these pre gospel documents. If you can point me to a place that I may find copies to read that would be appreciated. In fact I am intrigued, I had understood that the original mythic texts from which the gospels were drawn no longer existed. Frankly I didn't know that it had been conclusively proven that such a document existed.

Ryk said...

@JD

The writings of Josephus are considered reliable but the comments about Jesus are obvious forgeries added much later. I am on the road at the moment and don't have access to all of my material but this essay does a very good job of summarizing the evidence that Josephus never wrote thos passages.

JD Curtis said...

I don't wish to change the subject and I want to address some of that which you brought up this weekend. However, earlier you brought up the subject of "cannibalism" and while reading today, I came across the following and I just thought I'd throw this out there.

James C, Hefley provides a telling anecdote about the end of cannibalism in one tribe because of Christ. During World War II, on a remote island in the Pacific, an American G.I. met a national who could speak English carrying a Bible. "The soldier pointed to the Bible and grinned knowingly "We educated people don't put much faith in that Book anymore,' he said. The islander grinned back . 'Well it's a good thing for you that we do' he said while patting his stomach, 'or else you'd be in here by now'"

D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe; What If Jesus Had never Been Born? pg 24
Source cited by Kennedy, Newcombe. James C. Hefley; What's So Great About The Bible? pg 76

Ryk said...

@JD
Good one, that joke got a laugh. I guess Cgristianity is preferable to some other religions, at least as far as this story goes. It sounds apocryphal to me. It is cute but it seems far fetched. Does the story mention which tribe,or island? Does it name the soldier. Does it indicate if the tribesman was being humorous. I say this because most traditional cannibalism was ceremonial rather than nutritional. It sounds like if this is more than just a folk tale you are dealing with a tribesman who has a sense of humor.

Anyway swapping tribal animism for Christianity is mostly a lateral shift. It comes with a little added civilization, but to truly upgrade the tribes would need to abandon superstition altogether.

JD Curtis said...

No, it doesnt really give any more details than that. I only have access to the Kennedy-Newcombe book, maybe the source cited has some more details.

One other part of What I Jesus Had Never Been Born has a reference that has some more details in it. Cannibalism is mentioned.

In 1844, H.L Hastings visited the Fiji Islands. He found there that life was very cheap and that it was held in low steem. You could buy a human being for $7.00 or one musket! That was cheaper than a cow. After having bought him you could work him, whip him starve him or eat him, according to your preference-and many did the latter. He returned a number of years later and found that the value of human life had risen tremendously. One could not buy a human being for $7.00 to beat or eat. In fact, you could not buy one for seven million dollars. Why? Because across the Fiji Islands there were 1,200 Christian chapels where the gospel of Christ had been proclaimed, and people had been taught that we are not our own; that we have been purchasd with a price, not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe; What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, pg 27

I'll try to address some of your other points tomorrow.

Ryk said...

@JDCurtis

Thanks for your comments about Fiji. I will look into it when I can. I will of course look for several sources. Dr. Kennedys claims are not unreasonable but they are unusual in terms of historical cannibalism. In any case it is certainly interesting.

JD Curtis said...

I would sat the sources for the new testament are extremely unreliable. Considering how late the gospels were written, the fact that they were unlikely to have been written by the people who had any firsthand knowledge, it seems there was ample time for mythmaking.

Ryk, this weekend, if you can find the time, I would like you to examine the following couple of videos. After you have viewed that which I post, I would like to get your thoughts on them.

The first is titled What Do Scholars Believe About The Resurrection of Jesus? It's about 5 minutes long.

The second is titled Are There Inconsistencies Between The Four Gospels?

Only if you enjoyed the first two would I recommend a personal favorite for your viewing pleasure.

I had a chance to look over the link you provided re: Josephus. I would like to look into the matter in greater depth this coming week.

JC

Ryk said...

@JD
I am unlikely to have time to follow your links soon. I am home for the weekend but have to travel again tomorrow. I am currently devoting most of my time to my family but I will try to give them a look when I am back on the road.

JD Curtis said...

No hurry. The first one is about 5 minutes long and the other two are shorter than that. I thought it would be more interesting watching a video than just reading something. In the mean time I'm going to examine that which was written about Josephus.

JD Curtis said...

RE: Josephus Ryk, I just came across this video that perhaps we could both agree on.

Ryk said...

@JD

Interesting I had actually seen the first abd third video before. I recal seeing an extended version of the first one that included more of the debate but I could not find it. I have heard Craig many times. The problem is that nothing he said actually establishes the accuracy of the Gospels. At best it concludes that they are roughly faithful to the source material. Also I do not dispute that one of the early messiahs was crucified by Pilate. I have no credible evidence of it outside of the Gospels but I also have no evidence against it in particular. As I have mentioned before Yeshua or some variant thereof is a symbolic name and offhand I can think of three distinct historical messiah figures who used it.

However if the source material is a myth then the Gospels are as well. The question is how to authenticate the story. On one extreme(not mine) we have the premise that the whole thing was created out of whole cloth by the early churc fathers. On the other we have the relatively common but false belief that the Gospels were directly written by the apostles following the ressurection and were the basis for Christianity. I doubt either of these have any merit but they have supporters. The truth is somewhere in between. The only way I can think of to substaniate it is with historical references independant of the Gospels and the early church. However such references are almost nonexistent.

Ryk said...

@JD continued
I have heard a number of variants by scholars regarding what parts of the Josephus passage should be considered true and which not. I think calling it not a forgery is overly generous. The attempt to decieve is clear. This was neither an error or an attempt at clarification or exposition, it was clearly an attemp at making Josephus sound like a Christian. Some of the writing could be the actual words of Josephus despite being out of context. However the creator of this video allows more than is prudent. For instance he retained doer of wonderful works which is nearly as unlikely from Josephus as was the part about calling Jesus the Christ which the video acknowledged was false. Also it is unlikely that Josephus would have used the term Christian. Christ is not a proper name it is a title, meaning annointed ones. The early disciples called themseles Christian meaning followers of the Christ however a Jew like Josephus would have not done so. It is unclear if anyone outside of the religion used the term that early on, not even all of the early followers used it. It is possible but not demonstrated that it may have been used by the Romans but the Jews of the time would not have. After removing those all that is really left of the passage is an acknowledgement of the existence and beliefs of early Christianity which is not in dispute. It is known that there were Christians, It is also known that they believed Jesus of Nazereth was the messiah and rose from the dead. What is disputed is did this actually happen, nothing in Josephus substantiates that. The other passage from Josephus calling James the brother of the so called Christ is more credible in the sense that it is both appropriate for Josephus to say and consistent with the tone of the surrounding work.

The issue is that I am not disputing that someone claiming to be the messiah was executed by the Romans. I am not disputing that he was named some variant of Yeshua. The questionis did this person or any of the self proclaimed messiahs actually do miracles or rise from the dead. Contemporary sources are silent on the subject. Which is surprising considering the presence of both Hebrew and Roman commentators in abundance who would have written about actual public miracles.

Here is an interesting video showing the abundance of prolific commentators who did not notice reports of ressurections, healings and powerful magic.

This video

You are correct that I am willing to accept parts of the Josephus passage despite being skeptical, I just think less of it is accurate than you do. It is however all suspect because it is impossible to know what was and was not added later we can only speculate.

JD Curtis said...

You raise some interesting points to discuss and I hope to address some of them this weekend. Thanks for your response.

JD Curtis said...

Pardon the delay. Insofar as the Josephus quotation fom the video, maybe we could both agree that the reference to Jesus being the "Christ" was interpolated. This would not be consistent with his (Josephus') Jewish background. The other details mentioned would seem historical in nature and I don't really see where the problem of acceptability would be. If there are other points you would like to discuss, please list them here.

I'll check out the video you supplied tomorrow.

Can we put the Mithrian claim to rest? If not, if it could be shown that the Roman legends post-dated the claims of the early Christian church, would that suffice?

Ryk said...

@JD

I will have to do a bit of reading. On the subject and currently lack the time. I am not overly committed to the mithraist connection but I do not feel it has been dismissed. It would have to be proven that mithraism predated the writing of the gospels and I don't believe this is the case. It was popular in the first century which may be slightly later than the writing of the gospels by some accounts. However the initial creation of the religion is contemporary with even the earlier dates by which the gospels are said to have been written. By 60 AD it had attracted the attention of the Romans and its origin is decades older than that. Putting it squarely contemporary to the gospels. Of course the early church fathers accused the mithraists of being the ones doing the copying and I can not discredit this entirely.

I think it is probably true that as contemporaries and rivals the two mythologies were heavily influenced by one another. At the time both were popular among the Romans who were in the market for a more disciplined and authoritarian brand of religion and both Christianity and the mysteries of Mithras were competing for the role.

Constantine, who sponsored the council of Nicea which selected the gospels for the Bible and founded the formal Christian religion worshipped both Christ and Mythras apparently interchangeably. It was Constantine that directed and controlled the creation of early Christianity and it is certain that his belief in Mythras influenced, the choice of gospels. Also it is impossible to say whether the gospels included by the council were in their original form or were altered to fit what the Emporor and the bishops wanted.