Monday, September 26, 2011

Anthropomorphism and God

Normally I hate using big words on my blog to describe religion or Christianity in particular, but... I have had this topic on my mind for quite some time and have finally decided to write about it here. I believe that this is one of the tell tale signs that man created gods and not the other way around. When I read the bible I do not see any imprint of the divine, in fact it all looks like a product of human fabrication.

I generally attack Christianity because it is the number one religion in the world with the most adherents, and because it is what I know. But the analyses contained in this article is relevant to all religions past and present that worship some form of deity that is similar to man.

So let's start this article by defining that big word that is included in the title of this article in the simplest way possible. According to the Sage dictionary that I have on my system it is defined as: 'The representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits.' It is important to understand that this definition is needed to understand not just today's religions but those of antiquity as being of human origin.

It is interesting to note that our gods, from the beginning of time have always been described as having some sort of human form or traits. Many ancient gods are also described as gender specific by his/her (goddess)followers. The Greeks and the Romans religious beliefs were a perfect example of anthropomorphism. They generally believed that everything in the universe, including random acts of nature were determined by the gods. Disasters were the physical display of a gods displeasure with his/her adherents.

The biblical God is said to be omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere at once), and finally ineffable (defying expression or description). Yet, the bible is chock full of descriptions of this god and coincidentally he seems all too human for my taste. In fact, all of those divine traits are overshadowed by his human traits. This God displays both positive and negative human traits that if we are to take the bible at face value betray the sacredness of God himself.

Most of the time we hear from believers that God is love but we seldom hear that he is also jealous and a consuming fire as described in Deuteronomy 4:24. God hates certain acts or deeds, he is jealous of other gods, he punishes and curses those that oppose him etc. All of these negative traits in my opinion don't belong to a deity who is supposed to be holy, perfect, and without sin. When you think of it doesn't the bible teach that hating and cursing people is a sin? The bible teaches that you should love your enemies and bless them that curse you (Matthew 5:44). Yet God can't seem to adhere to his own Word.

Why is this disparity so contradictory to what we hear about God from his adherents? Because it is not the word of God but the word of man, it's as simple as that. God is said to be holy yet his words and deeds as ascribed to him by the many authors of the bible betray this assumption.

The bible teaches that we were created in His image Genesis 1:26 when in fact the truth is the other way around. We created God in our image and I believe that if we were any other species capable of worship our god would look just like us as is illustrated in the 2001 movie 'Planet of the Apes.' In this film the apes were awaiting the return of their chimpanzee messiah Semos. Many have stated that God is the creation of primitive man in a pre-scientific age. In closing I second this opinion.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Jesus could not tell his own story

A couple of months ago on an atheist blog I participate in often another atheist asked the following question: "Did Jesus even know how to write?" I replied in the affirmative basing my reply on the gospel according to John 8:6-8.

6 They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger.

7 As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, 'Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.'

8 Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground. (NJB)

To my knowledge this is the only place in the N.T. where you hear of Jesus writing anything at all. In fact, in this particular text it does not even bother to say what it was he supposedly wrote on the ground.

This question got me to thinking about why if the message of Christ was so important and so dire did he not write his own autobiography or doctrinal texts? I think this is a legitimate question that needs a reply. He is supposed to have been the son of God or God incarnate depending on which branch of Christianity you choose to subscribe to. Because of this lack of foresight we are left with a bunch of anonymous works that have been altered through time and are nothing more than a collection of nonsensical contradictory expressions of their authors personal beliefs and interpretations of doctrine.

One of my favorite works is 'The Age of Reason' by Thomas Paine. Although he was a deist and a believer in a God, he did not subscribe to any written text claiming divine origins or inspiration.Paine believed in nature as the unmistakable language of God. For those of you interested in reading this book for free you can access an online version at Here is a direct quote from that book:

"It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a
word of God can unite. The Creation speaketh an universal language,
independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and
various as they be. It is an ever existing original, which every man
can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot
be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not
depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it
publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches
to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man
all that is necessary for man to know of God."

Although I am an atheist and do not subscribe to a belief in gods or a God of any kind I agree with Paine that the written word is an unreliable means for any deity to reveal himself to mankind. The fact that it is subject to translation, editing, suppression, and the manipulation of mankind makes it nothing more than useless.

The history of the church has proven these statements time and time again. The church decided which books or works they considered divinely inspired or not. If they did not like what the author had to say his book was rejected and not included in the Canon.

In conclusion to this short essay I believe that the reason Jesus did not write his own autobiography or any doctrinal texts is because he simply couldn't, because he did not exist.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On miracles

One of the issues I have encountered numerous times with my discussions with theists is that they believe what they believe on faith, therefore, facts to the contrary are not relevant. The whole idea of faith is basically to accept in this case the alleged writings of the so called prophets and apostles of the bible without any evidence to corroborate their stories.

Another big issue is that of miracles. You simply cannot put the gods or in this case the biblical God to the test. Since miracles and God belong to the realm of the supernatural they are completely outside the reach of the scientific community. There is obviously no way to verify whether Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, walked on water, ascended to heaven like a bird etc. All of these tales in my view are just that tales that completely fall under the classification of myth.

One question that nags me from time to time is why doesn't God do those same kinds of miracles today? Sure there are many amongst the more charismatic branches of Christianity claiming all sorts of miracles but like the bible authors they have no evidence to corroborate their extraordinary claims.

Instead what we see in today's day and age is a bunch of charlatans on television and radio getting rich off of the gullibility of believers. In fact these same charlatans claim that it is a sin to question them most of the time regarding miracles.

Anyone could write a mythological tale and place it in the setting of an actual existing place to give it that feel of authenticity. It's called fiction writing and we have been doing it for at least a few thousand years. I've had Christians try to argue that archeology confirmed that such and such a place existed as evidence that the bible tales in question and the events it claims transpired there must be true! The fact is that all archeology can confirm is that the place existed at one time or another. As to the alleged miraculous events ascribed to that place nothing can be said.

The Bible in its entirety describes some extraordinary miraculous events that defy logic and are an obvious contradiction to what we know about nature and its workings. But as far as today goes we don't tend to see those same kinds of miracles. You never hear about someone who was born blind, death, mute, or missing a limb being completely made whole again. Instead what you see today are a bunch of cheesy so called miraculous occurrences fabricated by the many charlatans calling themselves representatives of God.

Today's churches don't hesitate to label anything a miracle when in fact they are nothing more than coincidences or in some cases of apparent relief from pain etc temporary relief from psychosomatic disorders. Miracles if they ever occurred as described in the bible or today cannot be proven or verified conclusively. it is a matter of acceptance by faith

There is an interesting tale in the gospel of Mark 5:18-20 where Jesus meets a man who was possessed by a legion of demons. The story relates that he was well known in his community for being a lunatic and a violent man who lived in caves and in the cemetary. When Jesus arrived and had cured him of his possession he begged him to allow him to go with him. But Jesus sent him back to town to show and tell the people what God had done for him.

The point here is that this man was known in his entire town by pretty much everyone. He was sent back to testify to those that knew him and would have little doubts regarding the truth of his tale. I have never considered a miracle claim by a stranger without verification. To date there has been none found by objective investigators anywhere. There are occurrences that defy logic from time to time but calling these events miracles in my opinion is a misnomer. I prefer to call them strange occurrences or coincidences.