Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Personal Quest

To my knowledge I am the only atheist in my entire family who is honest and open about his non-acceptance of the bible as divine and Christianity as being the "ultimate truth." From fundamentalist believer to atheist is a radical and big leap from the perspective of most, but it was the journey I had chosen and I decided to see it through to the end. I have been an atheist for the past 18 years, and to date I have lost a lot of so called friends and have received discredit and outright disdain from members of my own family. My rejection of Christianity and its traditions has made me an army of one amongst those who knew me in a different time and place in my life.

Even though I have been an avowed atheist for the past 18 years my interest in Christianity and religion in general has not waned. In fact, it has grown stronger than ever, and continues to fuel my passion for following reason to the end no matter what the conclusions may be. I have been accused by members of my family as being obsessed with religion and Christianity, but I don't consider myself obsessed with either. If anything, I am obsessed with finding out the truth and whatever that entails.

I am on a lifelong journey of discovery, and it is that thirst for knowledge that fuels my passion for truth. I have taken the route of faith only to find it lacking in providing a true understanding of my life and the world that I live in. The many wonders of nature and the universe fascinate me to no end, but I found that faith had no answers for me that would satisfy my craving for wanting to know as much as I possibly could.

I did all that faith required of me. I submitted my will to the all powerful and supposedly loving father figure in the sky. I preached in a street ministry every single weekend and at the time believed that this powerful man in the sky had filled me with his Spirit and the powers that came with it. I prayed and fasted often, immersed in the scriptures as I prayed for spiritual understanding and wisdom from on high.

In those days I firmly felt within body what I thought to be the awesome power of God flowing through me. I believed that when I prayed for the sick, the troubled, and the weary that my imaginary guy in the sky would have mercy on them and take care of whatever was troubling his believers. All the while at the same time when things did not work out I had this nagging feeling deep inside that told me something wasn't right. It was this very feeling that led me to put aside what I had learned in church and through my own studies that had led me to dig deeper.

I read the bible for myself in its entirety and was later surprised to find out that I had come to the same conclusions on my own of some of the greatest free thinkers and atheists of our past. I was fearful at first, but I had decided to ride this train to the final stop. I found out eventually that the more I learned, the further away I got from Christianity and the less I believed anything that was in that so called holy book.

Eighteen years later and I am still on this journey, and based on what I have learned I can tell you that Christianity and religion have now become a thing of the past for me. I no longer see religious belief as logical, and knowing now what I did not know then I can say with certainty that I could never convert to any Christian religion ever again. In fact I could never believe in any religions that rely on their truths from ancient texts, traditions, or supernatural sources of knowledge. I am not out to destroy Christianity, this is my personal quest for truth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Christian Persecution

One of the things that I find very annoying about Christianity is that they always like to make themselves out to be victims of religious persecution. They have been doing this for years and they continue to do it even today. If you go to a bookstore and look at the Christian section you will most likely see several copies of books on martyrdom etc. What they don't tell you is that before they were recognized as the state religion by Rome they were persecuted severely both by the state and competing religions of the region. But once they had become the state recognized religion of choice things changed.

The Christian religion has so much blood on its hands that one could probably fill up the Nile with it! The history of the Christian church is violent and bloody, it is filled with war and conquests and torture and death. There is pedophilia, illicit sex, hidden and illegal abortions, murder, etc. As a former theists myself, one of the things that turned me off to Christianity was its violent past and how the O.T. portrayed its God. Although I don't believe in the bible if some of the tales were true this God was nothing but a celestial tyrant who did not deserve worship at all. Instead all he deserved from me was curses.

I was debating a theist not long ago who said that I did not know my church history, because the Catholic church is not a Christian church! When I attributed the longevity of the existence of the church to its acceptance by the Roman empire, I then got the ridiculous response above.He claimed that if the bible were not true the church would have not been around today, it would have been exposed as false a long time ago. Protestants try to disassociate themselves from the Crusades, the various inquisitions, and witch hunts carried out by the church. But this is in fact impossible to do.

Although the Crusades were launched to squash the takeover of the Holy Land by the Muslim's and Islam, they took advantage of that situation to promote their beliefs by using military might. The Roman empire had its armies and the church raised an army of mostly peasants to help carry out the Crusades. The Church used this situation to destroy and obliterate the existence of competing religions. If Christianity had not been victorious most likely we would have been Muslims and Islam would have been our national religion. It's hard to imagine and I find the thought horrific as I am even writing about the notion. In the end I guess I could honestly  say that we got the lesser of two evils. The ideal situation would be that all religions be wiped off the face of the earth.

You'd think that a religion that was born in turmoil, torture and persecution would know better but I guess that they did not learn a damn thing. It's like a slave who after being a slave for many years is granted his freedom and then he turns around and buys a couple of slaves for himself later on! The church is where it is today because of military might and its various conquests during the Crusades, this was no gospel of peace. During those days church and state were one and the same and that is why our constitution prohibits that. But there are countries where the church has a strong hold on the populace and the situation is not that different.

Even here in the U.S. in the so called "bible belt" region we have laws in our books that although they are not active prohibit blasphemy and other beneficial laws for the church. In Delaware in 1776 a politician had to take this oath before taking office: 'I,_____, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration'."  Whatever happened to separation of church and state in this instance! Here is a good link on laws that benefit Christianity both old and new:

In today's world atheists, gays, women who have abortions, and a slew of others are targets of the religious right. Although they say it's illegal in our constitution to discriminate against anyone for such things as race, sex, religion, and even a criminal past what actually happens is completely different. There are many convicted felons that can't even find a job due to a criminal past. We are the persecuted ones not the Christians. 

The only thing being persecuted by us atheist is Christian ideals, we don't want to see the slogan "In God We Trust" on our money, in our court houses, or any state funded facility. We don't want to recognize Creationism/Intelligent Design as a science or an alternative theory of creation based on the bibles bogus version of creation. It is not science and it does not belong in our schools.

There is nor never was such a thing as Christian persecution after Rome took in the church as its own. The church has been the one guilty of all the persecution and although they can't go around hanging, torturing, or burning us at the stake anymore they are trying to use politics to get their way in this country. We atheists and other so called "minority" groups stand in the way and we simply wont allow religion to force itself upon our lives and society.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Christians Are Not Listening To Jesus

This is an awkward post but I got the idea from a theist who verbally tried to belittle and attack me on my youtube email. He was responding privately to one of my videos where I discount the bible as a book of ancient plagiarized myths among many other things.

He claimed to be a "real" Christian, whatever that means. We had some pretty heated exchanges where we stooped down to the level of two uneducated assholes arguing about scripture complete with personal attacks and a boat load of swear words. It baffles me how to this day not all but some who claim to be Christians can stoop to this very low level of evangelizing, and I use that term loosely.

After I got tired of toying around with him I decided to send him an email where I quoted the following scripture:  'But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you' Matthew 5:44 KJV. If you're a Christian who claims to walk in the footsteps of Christ and seek righteousness then why are you not doing it.

In fact according to the scriptures when Christ sent out his apostles to preach the good news about the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth he said the following: 14 'And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet.' Matthew 10:14 NJB This is not what we are seeing today, contrary to what Jesus preached and taught Christians are trying to shove the gospel down everyone's throat against their wills by extreme evangelizing and by trying to seek legislation in government that support their beliefs.

Instead of preaching to the masses in peace they become hostile and confrontational whenever someone like myself disagrees with them. I'll take this admonishment for the church a little further using their own bible. ' Make sure that no one captivates you with the empty lure of a 'philosophy' of the kind that human beings hand on, based on the principles of this world and not on Christ.' Colossians 2:8 NJB You're not supposed to be confrontational you say what you have to say and leave.

Where in the bible do you see Jesus arguing ardently with unbelievers? In fact he would admonish them and move on. When Jesus went back to his home town the bible states that he did not many works there because of their unbelief. You can read it in Matthew 13:54-58 He did not stick around and fight with the unbelievers he simply ministered to those that did believe and moved on. I guess this is one of those big cherries Christians like to leave on the tree.

I don't know about you but when I was an evangelist 18 years ago it was truly all about love for my fellow man. I preached with compassion and even understanding, but when I saw that I was not getting through to someone I would leave them with a verbal God bless you and I will be praying for you. I never got into arguments about the word with unbelievers it just went against everything I believed back then.

Just for the record, I am and have been an atheist for about 18 years now and don't believe in God, nor do I accept the bible as the word of God nor divinely inspired in any way. I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God, in fact I don't believe that he was even an historical figure. I am just using my knowledge to point out an obvious fact based on my years of observation debating Christians online and in person.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why did Jesus Have To Die?

If you really want to have some fun with theists then this is the question you should ask each and every one of them that you encounter: Why did Jesus have to die? You'll probably get the standard replies about him dying for our sins, to save mankind from eternal damnation, or to restore mans relationship with God. The bible in one way or another actually supports all these responses but the real reason is more mundane and outright stupid. So I will patiently attempt to break down this mythical tale and bring it to its inane and ridiculous conclusion.

According to the scriptures God created man in his own image and likeness which also means he created us perfect and sinless. Genesis 1:26 states that God made man to rule the Earth and everything in it. As God was the ruler of the heavens and all of creation, man in a similar role was given the task of subduing the earth and all  living creatures within it Genesis 1:28. It's funny how the things on earth mirror the things in heaven!So after God had finished the creation phase he took a look at all that he had done and saw "that it was good." He was so tired from speaking things into existence for six days straight that the bible says he rested on the seventh day. I could see the Lord kicking back on a cloud with a cold beer patting himself on the back for a job well done.

The only problem that God did not foresee was that in the garden there was this snake that could talk! And it says that he was the most subtle of all the wild animals (the wiliest). Here is an interesting point to make. In Genesis the snake is presented simply as a snake from the wild, there is no mention of this being Satan in disguise or anything of the sort. You never hear of any connection between Satan and the serpent till the book of Revelation 12:9. I am led to believe that this was a later addition to the myth. Christians like to take the above mentioned text and interpret it as a past event rather than as a future prophecy by tying this event to the serpent in the garden tale.

After man is duped into disobeying God by partaking of the forbidden fruit in the garden which in my opinion should not have been there in the first place he is cast out of Eden and is separated from the presence of God. He now has to make sacrifices to atone for his sin which apparently God is never satisfied with and continues to be angry at mankind. The old testament laws as given to the Hebrews were replete with different sacrifices for all sorts of things. If you are interested in this just read through the book of Leviticus.

One of the most important requirements when it came to animal sacrifices to the Lord was that the animal must be as pure and perfect as possible. According to the old testament things were purified by blood and so as an atonement for the soul it was necessary that blood be shed before the Lord Leviticus 17:11. Here is the irony; the author of Matthew states that God commands men to forgive our fellow man so that he may forgive us in like manner Matthew 6:14,15. So my dear theists why couldn't God keep to his own rule and forgive mankind and let us start over with a clean slate without requiring the sacrifice of animals and finally his son? Doesn't the bible teach that with God all things are possible? Matthew 19:26. All things that is, except the forgiveness of man by God making the conscious decision to forgive us. Could this thing called forgiveness be God's kryptonite?

So according to the scriptures without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin Hebrews 9:22. Note that this is God's own rule and in my opinion it's a stupid rule that could have easily been changed. Jesus echoes this same sentiment about blood and sin in Matthew 26:28. So if you follow this illogical form of logic that is Christian theology Jesus had to come down to earth to be sacrificed simply because there was not one man on the earth who was qualified to do so for we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans  3:23

Because of Adam and Eves sin our natures were made corrupt and thus there was no man on earth that could through the sacrifice of his own life and blood appease God or atone for the sins of mankind. Jesus on the other hand was the supposed incarnation of God and thus a perfect sacrifice that was untouched by sin. In Romans 5:19 and the rest of the chapter it tries to explain that through one man we were all condemned so it is that through one man (Jesus Christ) we are all justified to life.

In conclusion, Jesus had to die because God was too much of an ass hole to go against a rule he instituted. He couldn't simply forgive, so many animals had to die to temporarily appease his blood lust till the time was right for him to send Christ the perfect sacrifice to redeem us forever. But this came with a catch. You have to accept and believe that you are a sinner in need of redemption and then surrender your life to God through Christ and live a life according to his will. Which quite frankly is impossible because God is simply unable to forgive. He has been offended and we are to sacrifice our lives to him forever or pay the consequences in hell. As far as I'm concerned if God did exist (which he doesn't) then he could go fuck himself while he pouts in a corner in heaven. Instead of being called the greatest story ever told it should be called the dumbest myth ever told!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why I Cite The Bible

In response to a comment by Lost Blogger I have decided to write a post on why I often cite and use the bible as a tool to refute arguments made by theists. One of the things I learned when I was in the military was that the best way to win a battle or war was to know your enemy. While in boot camp we learned about weapons used by the enemy, the capabilities of those weapons, and more importantly how to disable those weapons and sometimes even use them against the enemy himself.

Although this is not war at least in the traditional sense, that axiom has stuck with me my entire life. As many of my followers are aware I myself was once what we now call a fundie. I was taught that the bible was the inerrant word of God and that its authors were all inspired by the Lord in some way to compose the various books within its pages. I believed every word as literal and did not accept all of these modern day interpretations of scripture. When I encountered contradictions and was challenged I would simply reply that those were mysteries which today we did not understand but as the apostle Paul said that one day we would know and understand all things clearly 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NJB).

I have read the bible in its entirety three times when I was a theist and once in Spanish, so that I may compare it to the English translation. The more I read the less I believed what I was reading and the more I was shocked to discover that I had been duped! I saw the mythological nature of the scriptures and the very concept of God himself. It struck me as odd that the biblical deity seemed to be not much different than your garden variety tyrant. He had a bad temper, was jealous, changed his mind often, and was swift to mete out punishment usually in the form of death to thousands of his followers as told in the Old Testament.

He was supposed to be just but I found his judgement lacking both in morals and rationality. I came to the conclusion that the bible did not present God in a very good light, but more than this I saw in God a reflection of man himself. The biblical deity is a myth that has been described mostly through the process of anthropomorphism. The Sage dictionary defines this word as: 'the representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits. Christians refer to God as ineffable which means that he defies expression or description, but they don't cease trying to describe him.

It is my conviction that in order to argue with a theist,  in this case a Christian you must inform yourself about what they actually believe in. Otherwise you are going to look like a total ass when you try to argue with them about things they don't actually believe due to your lack of knowledge. I pride myself in knowing the bible more than most theists and use it often just to bring home a point or refute a doctrine.

One practice that theists love to utilize is that of quoting scripture out of context to try and back up their ridiculous claims. If you are not aware of this then you will not only be able to rationally destroy their argument but you will not be able to point out to them how their beliefs based on misquoted verses of scripture are wrong. Many of the so called prophecies about the coming of Christ in the Old Testament fall in this category.

I also use the bible to point out absurdities and show them the many contradictions within the texts themselves. In this case I am using their only weapon against them. I challenge them to try and reconcile what I know to be irreconcilable without performing some sort of mental gymnastics.

On Christian Arrogance

One of the most common accusations that theists love to hurl at atheist/unbelievers is that we are all arrogant. They generally base themselves on the persistent rejection we display towards their ridiculous beliefs. But what they fail to see is that we reject their beliefs not because we are stubborn, but because we require proof. Faith in the mind of an atheist is not a viable means of obtaining knowledge of any kind and is thus discounted as such. I have often called faith the ultimate equalizer in that it, on the other hand does not require evidence of any kind, just an acceptance of its propositions.

Theists in general have a different conception of proof than those of us who are not believers. They allow subjective experiences to count as evidence of their beliefs. These range from the tingling sensation they may feel when they read the bible or sense God's presence, the so called "small voice" in their heads that guides their every action, or what the rest of us may call a gut feeling. Based on all of these fallible experiences they claim that they have an inside track to knowledge that is not accessible through any other means than through the acceptance of the concept of faith. This is the source of their arrogance!

According to the Mirriam Webster online dictionary arrogance is defined as : 'an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions' based on this definition atheists cannot be considered arrogant for several reasons. The main reason is that what we claim is not based on faith but known facts gathered through science and just our everyday observation of how things work in the natural world. We can explain most natural disasters through natural means without trying to rationalize why a god would do or allow such a thing to occur.

Natural disasters are not God's way of punishing idolaters or unbelievers nor is it a way of testing his faithful flock. We don't try to make sense of the world through the use of ancient superstitions and myths. On the other hand Jews, Christians, and all other religious believers all claim to be right about their beliefs basing themselves on faith and what they believe through subjective evidence to be true. Christians and Jews in particular take it a step further by demonstrating that they have a superiority complex based on their special status as believers. The bible backs this up in both the New and Old Testaments.

In Psalm 14:1 it says: ' The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' Their deeds are corrupt and vile, not one of them does right.' According to this verse and many others like it all unbelievers are corrupt and vile in deed and since we don't do right I guess that would also make us immoral. The New Testament says in 2 Corinthians 6:14,15 that: 14 Do not harness yourselves in an uneven team with unbelievers; how can uprightness and law-breaking be partners, or what can light and darkness have in common?15 How can Christ come to an agreement with Beliar and what sharing can there be between a believer and an unbeliever? This text and many others like it apply to fraternizing with unbelievers and relationships.

6 Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is such behaviour that draws down God's retribution on those who rebel against him.7 Make sure that you do not throw in your lot with them.8 You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light, 9 for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and uprightness and truth. Ephesians 5:6-9 (NJB).
 Passages like these help to pinpoint the source of the prejudice displayed by believers against atheists and also demonstrates why many believers think that there is no such thing as morality without God. It is just one of the many examples of intolerance shown by believers towards those that don't share their beliefs. Those of us that don't believe as they do walk in darkness and could not possibly see till we accept those beliefs and submit our lives to the imaginary Lord of creation.

In conclusion, I think that I have demonstrated that Christian arrogance is a fact and that it is also supported by their source of their beliefs the bible. It is this special position of prominence that is given  to them by their imaginary guy in the sky that gives them this feeling of superiority properly defined as arrogance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Concept of Sin Is Ridiculous!

I have often argued with theists that the word sin is not even a real word or concept outside the realm of religion. Sin is strictly a religious idea and outside the context of religious dogma it is entirely meaningless. I feel the same way about words such as divine, holy, etc. I recently went to to attempt to find a dictionary definition of the word sin without all of the holy hoo ha that believers like to add to it. This is what I came up with: 1.'transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam. 2.any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.'

In the definition above the first thing you may notice is that the word sin is immediately tied to religious ideologies. It is interesting to see that in the end of the first definition it uses the sin of Adam as an example. What exactly was the sin of Adam? Well, according to the creation story as narrated in Genesis it was in the simplest of terms his disobedience to a direct command from God. 16 Then Yahweh God gave the man this command, 'You are free to eat of all the trees in the garden.
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat; for, the day you eat of that, you are doomed to die.' Genesis 2: 16,17 (NJB).

Although Adam was induced by Eve who herself was enticed by the serpent to eat of this forbidden tree, They both directly disobeyed a direct command of God. Regardless of how theologians and apologists try to spin this word into some mysterious concept it is nothing more than simple disobedience. There is no mystical meaning to the word or concept of sin, contrary to what an Christian church may tell you. 

Why was disobeying God such a bad thing? Well, when you think of it it demonstrates defiance, rebellion, and discord between man and God. But...was this so bad that it could not be repaired and that the sin of this couple would lead to the infection of the entire creation, not just the human race? Absolutely not! According to the bible the one who determines what is moral, just, bad, or good is God, and as is demonstrated in the scriptures he has changed his mind from time to time. Here is an example: 13 'You shall not kill. Genesis 20:13 one of the ten commandments. 17 So kill all the male children and kill all the women who have ever slept with a man;18 but spare the lives of the young girls who have never slept with a man, and keep them for yourselves. Numbers 31: 17,18.

As you can see, although one of the ten commandments specifically prohibits killing others when Israel went to war against the Midianites under God's direct command and through the leadership of Moses it was okay to kill. In the end sin is what God says it is when he says it is, but it is always subject to change from time to time. That is why when I think of all the atrocities committed by the church against humanity I am not surprised nor do I hold it against them because all they are doing is what they learned from their bible. 

My biggest problem with the concept of sin is that of accountability. Our own human laws make everyone accountable for his or her own crimes and offenses against society. But God doesn't work that way apparently. He is more like a military boot camp drill sergeant, if one recruit screws up a marching drill the whole platoon pays for the offense. How Christians with this knowledge can continue to call their fictional God perfectly good and just is beyond me. 

The bible attributes our sinful natures to the single act of disobedience by Adam and Eve. As a result we are all born in sin and in need of salvation. In closing the idea of sin is stupid, comical, and at the same time outright illogical. We have all fallen short of the impossible standards of this fictional god that only through the fictional incarnation aka Christ can we be made whole again. Sin is not a disease, it's not something genetic, it's not tangible, it's nothing more than a stupid concept.

A real god that was just and true would forgive every man/ woman their transgressions and make everyone accountable for their own shortcomings. He wouldn't condemn an entire creation to utter destruction and torment for all eternity because he was offended by the actions of a few.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christian hypocisy towards science

It always irritates me to no end how Christians love to debase science, yet they have no problem using it when it suits their needs. My wife was watching a television show something like 20/20 in Spanish, and they did a piece on a man who underwent a new surgical procedure that helped partially cure some of the symptoms he was experiencing from Parkinson's disease.

They showed the man trying to draw a circle around a spiral paper maze, and as expected due to his involuntary and uncontrollable shaking he was unable to complete the task. After they did the surgery they once again show the man trying to do the same thing he was asked to do in the beginning and he was finally able to do it with little effort.

The interviewer asked the wife of the patient what she thought about the results of the operation. And her reply was... and I quote: " It was a miracle from God!" What a goddamn hypocrite! Theists have no problem using modern technology yet they love to slam science when it contradicts their beliefs. The wireless microphones they use on television and in most churches are there no thanks to God but to science.

No thanks to religion we have managed to survive and even live longer in this day and age than in ages past. No thanks to prayer and faith in prayer we have managed to find cures to many of our physical and even mental ills. Science has made life easier for all of us atheist and theist alike and has made a huge impact in our society and culture. Through the internet we are brought closer together making the world a much smaller place.

I am tired of seeing athletes of fighting and other sports thanking and praising the invisible guy in the sky for doing nothing for them. When will athletes, actors and musicians learn to take credit for their various talents. You won that fight because you trained hard, you won that Oscar or Emmy because you took the time necessary to hone your natural talents. Stop thanking God for putting food on your table when you know full well that if it was not for your getting up every morning or evening and heading out to work you wouldn't even have a roof over your head.

Science was never meant to destroy the fallacious foundations of religion, its main purpose was to discover more about us and the world we live in. Religion was just collateral damage, and having been the predominant ideology of the day happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I am of the opinion that science and faith are two very distinct ideologies that could never be reconciled. The former relies on objective evidence and observation and the latter relies on faith based on myths and subjective experiences.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Resurrection is a lie!

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead?13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ cannot have been raised either,14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith.    1 Corinthians 15: 12-14 (NJB)

According to the apostle Paul in the above cited text, the entire gospel hinges on the so called “fact” of the resurrection of Christ. The above cited letter was written to the church of Corinth and it is dated approximately around 54 CE, an amazing 21 years give or take a year or two from Jesus alleged crucifixion and subsequent death! Based on the content of the letter at the time of its composition, it was rumored that the church of Corinth had already begun doubting the historical “facts” of the resurrection of Jesus.  In this article I will try and uncover what we know about the resurrection of Jesus based almost entirely on the gospel accounts which relate to this alleged event.

The first question that we have to ask was who discovered the empty tomb on resurrection morning. Well, all of that depends on which gospel you read. According to Matthew it was Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary which he does not bother to distinguish of whom he is referring to. According to Matthew an angel came down and rolled away the stone and gave the women instructions for the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. It also says that as they went to relay the message that the Lord himself met them and repeated the same instructions. Later in the chapter we are told that they met with Jesus in Galilee but that there were still some that were in doubt Matthew 28:17. Feel free to read the entire chapter to help put this narrative in perspective.

According to the gospel of Mark the first to discover the empty tomb was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and finally Salome. According to the author of Mark after the women arrived at the tomb the stone had already been rolled away and a man in the tomb told them to go tell his disciples and Peter that he had risen and would meet them in Galilee. But the narrative then say’s that the women told no one for they were afraid. Later Mary Magdalene is met by Jesus himself and is told the same instructions she had received earlier from the young man in the tomb, who we are to assume was an angel. You can read this narrative in Mark chapter 16 and compare it with Matthew just for kicks.

Luke on the other hand says that on resurrection morning it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna and some other unnamed women that found the tomb and later told the disciples what they had been instructed to say. Not by one but get this two men (angels?) in brilliant clothes. Jesus later appears to two of his followers and then to the eleven. I invite my readers to read Luke chapter 24 for this very different narrative of Jesus post resurrection appearances.

The author of the gospel of John has a very different story to tell about what happened on that early morning visit to the tomb. He states that only Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty and told Simon Peter and an unnamed disciple that Jesus body was not in the tomb and she did not know what had happened to it. John completely fails to mention the angelic appearances and the fact that Mary was informed by these various angelic beings that Jesus had risen from the dead and that he would meet the disciples in Galilee.

The narrative states further that Mary went back and informed Peter and another disciple that Jesus body was missing. They came and saw that he was gone and went home not yet realizing that the scriptures had been fulfilled. Mary stayed at the tomb and then two angels appeared in the tomb and so did Jesus himself! At first she did not recognize him and thought he was the gardener. She then told the disciples that she had seen Jesus and then Jesus later presented himself to them as well. Thomas doubted but 8 days later Jesus showed up again and let him touch his wounds to prove that it was him. According to John he appeared to the disciples 3 times after his resurrection. John then leaves the narrative there and goes no further.

The book of Mark 16:19 states that Jesus ascended up to heaven right after giving his disciples their final instructions to proclaim the gospel to the world. Luke 24:51 states something similar to what Mark narrates. Matthew and John don’t even mention the ascension of Jesus and the other two books state that it happened at a particular time within the narrative. None of them mention Jesus hanging around for 40 days or ascending to heaven in the sight of 500 witnesses as told by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

It is important to know that Paul was not a witness to any of the alleged occurrences regarding the resurrection of Christ. He had learned what he did through the testimony of others. He is the only one that claims that five hundred people had seen Christ ascend into heaven but this is obviously in disagreement to the synoptic gospels telling of this tale. Apologists love to disregard the discrepancies in the various narrations of this tale and state that they are irrelevant. They claim that the “fact” that Jesus rose from the dead is all that matters. But I disagree.

When I read the various narrative regarding this matter I am led to believe that the reason that these stories contradict each other so blatantly is that since they are based on oral traditions they never did happen. Keep in mind that none of the narratives of the gospels are firsthand accounts of the events they claim to report on. All four gospels are anonymous works trying to convey oral traditions and myths as fact.

This story would never hold up in a court of law and from a logical standpoint it makes no sense at all. You would probably get a more reliable witness of a crime from a crack head than you would from the gospels. Not to mention that any mention of the resurrection of Jesus outside of the gospels are also admittedly based on hearsay and not actual historical documents that would attest to them as facts. I invite all my readers to read the four narrations of the events of the gospels and compare them one to the other detail for detail. I guarantee that you would find it an insult to your intelligence to be expected to believe this nonsense.

There is no evidence outside of the gospels that provide strong enough support for the resurrection. The bible narratives all contradict themselves blatantly and the earliest of these was Mark and it was written approximately 65 to 70 CE about 32 or so years after the alleged event. Feelings of the presence of Christ etc. do not count as evidence since subjective evidence is not evidence of anything at all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Witness of the Spirit and Christ's Return

7 Still, I am telling you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.14 He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine. John 16: 7, 13, 14 (NJB)

The above are what Christians generally believe to be some of Jesus last words to his apostles before his trial, crucifixion, and death. As you can see by reading the above text these words contain yet another promise to the apostles specifically from their Lord. The word Paraclete is just another appellation for the Holy Spirit or as it is called in the King James translation of the scriptures the comforter. This is what many modern day believers refer to as the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that confirms to them the truth of what they believe. As I pointed out in an earlier post noted apologist William Lane Craig and others put much stock on this inner conviction over actual objective evidence.

According to the scriptures the Holy Spirit was sent by God and Christ to serve as a sort of intermediary between Jesus and his believers. His job was to comfort, lead, and instruct believers to all truth regarding the teachings of Christ and matters of a spiritual nature. As promised by Christ the Spirit was received on the day of Pentecost according to the book of Acts 2: 1- 4. As a result of this event, the apostles begin offering this so called “gift of the Spirit” to all those who would repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 38, 39).

One thing that is made clear by Christ in the gospel of John chapter 16: 17 is that he would be back soon. He also makes this abundantly clear in all three synoptic gospels that there were some among his apostles that would not taste of death before witnessing his return. You can read all about it in Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 specifically don’t forget to read the context so Christians can’t accuse you of misinterpreting what is said.

Not too long ago I had a debate with a couple of theists on the meaning behind these verses. Their pathetic defense for the failed prophecy was that Christ was actually referring to the transfiguration. They come to this conclusion because immediately after he speaks those words he takes Peter, James, and John with him to a mountain and is transfigured right before their eyes. The only problem with this interpretation is that that is a far cry from Jesus coming down on a cloud surrounded by angels. In its proper context all that occurred was that those particular apostles were given a glimpse of Christ's true divinity.

Following the above line of reasoning in the book of Matthew 24:34 Jesus is recorded as having said these words: ‘In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place.’ A generation was believed to be around 35 to 45 years in those days but if this is true it also means that Christ’s promise of returning in all power and glory never came to pass.

After the alleged death of Christ and the day of Pentecost it is evident that the apostles and their converts believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. They preached repentance and the imminent coming of the kingdom of God. Two thousand years later the Church has utilized one passage of scripture to try and make up for this huge and damaging discrepancy. In reference to his return Jesus states in Mark 13:32 that: 'But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’ If you believe and cling to this verse and others like it hard enough, then you can dismiss the fact by faith; that Christ’s prophecy about his return has failed.  

Two thousand plus years later Christians cling to the so called witness of the Holy Spirit to convince themselves that despite these discrepancies Jesus is coming back soon. They don’t see the absurdity of their beliefs, and choose to ignore the evidence against their beliefs as outlined in their own holy book. It should be of no surprise because I can tell you from experience that these are the symptoms or side effects of faith. Faith relieves you of your ability to reason and to think for yourself.

Being led by faith in any and all matters is a detriment to all those that choose this path. It’s akin to being blind folded and led by the hand by a complete stranger through a maze of uncertainty. It is delusional and untrustworthy as a source of information or facts, and keeps you from seeing and appreciating the real world for what it is.

I want my readers to know that although I cite the so called words of Christ often, it does not mean that I believe that Christ was an historical figure. In fact, I actually believe the contrary. I think that Jesus Christ was a mythological fabrication of the church and never actually existed nor walked this earth. I have my reasons for believing this and I will discuss that in the near future in another post.

In conclusion I have proven through the very texts used by Christians that Christ is not coming back, and that he was not talking to the church of today but rather directly to his apostles and their generation not ours. Also, I have shown that the so called witness of the Holy Spirit is not real nor trustworthy. In fact this “divine” experience is nothing more than a subjective and emotional response to the words of the bible inspired by ones own personal convictions and beliefs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Curse of Cain

In the book of Genesis chapter 4 verses 11-14 we are given a description of God's alleged curse that he put upon Cain as punishment for slaying his brother Abel. This citation is from the New Jerusalem Bible translation of the scriptures:
11 Now be cursed and banned from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hands.
12 When you till the ground it will no longer yield up its strength to you. A restless wanderer you will be on earth.'
13 Cain then said to Yahweh, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Look, today you drive me from the surface of the earth. I must hide from you, and be a restless wanderer on earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!'
15 'Very well, then,' Yahweh replied, 'whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.' So Yahweh put a mark on Cain, so that no one coming across him would kill him.

Before I get into dissecting and debunking the veracity of this text I would like to point out that the bible does not describe what was the mark that God put upon Cain. The mark of Cain has been written about extensively but quite frankly there is not a man alive who can tell you what that was, and if he is so inclined to do so be aware that anything said or written about the mark of Cain is nothing more than mere speculation.

Now let's begin with an analysis of the above mentioned texts and its final conclusions. According to the story when Cain had murdered his brother Abel he was later confronted by the omniscient (all knowing) God. But by reading the text we are given the impression that God did not know that Abel had been murdered yet. So much for omniscience and while we are at it we could add omnipresence (everywhere present) as well, because if he did not know then it also means that he wasn't there either. This is made abundantly clear when God confronts Abel in verses 9 and 10: 9 Yahweh asked Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' 'I do not know,' he replied. 'Am I my brother's guardian?'
10 'What have you done?' Yahweh asked. 'Listen! Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground.

Now that that is out of the way let's break down the the curse of Cain as pronounced upon him by God. According to verse 12 there were two specific things that this curse entailed; the first was that he was not going to be able to live off of the land because it would not yield up its crops to him no matter how much he tilled. Secondly, he would be doomed to a life of wandering the earth unable to settle down.

After having received his curse Cain states his concern to the Lord that someone would find him and kill him. In response to this God put a mark upon Cain to let anyone know that killing Cain was off limits. Verses 14 and 15 reveal a very important contradiction to the creation story: that there were more people on the earth and that Adam and Eve obviously were not the first. Note that the bible teaches that Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel and doesn't say that they had any more children till later on.

Now this is where the bible as it tends to do contradicts itself yet again. If you keep on reading chapter four a few more verses we  are finally told what was the fate of Cain. Verse 16 say's: 16 'Cain left Yahweh's presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.' So much for the wandering part of the curse. Not only did Cain settle down in the land of Nod but he also met his wife there! Verse 17 say's he had a son named Enoch there and also founded a city which he named after his son! Not bad for someone who was cursed by God huh?

Chapter four goes on to tell us about Cains lineage through his son etc. But before chapter four closes it can't leave without giving us one more contradiction to silence the skeptics regarding how many boys Adam and Eve had. Let's read it together: 25 Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth, 'because God has granted me other offspring', she said, 'in place of Abel, since Cain has killed him.' Yeah, you read right. Eve was granted a replacement son in Abel's stead. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Witness Of The Holy Spirit

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” William Lane Craig  ‘Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (1984). 

I was sitting around today trying to come up with a topic to discuss in this post, and then it hit me! I posted the above quote on a previous post from noted christian apologist William Lane Craig and I realized that I had a lot to say about it. First off it always amazes me at how much trouble atheists are having with refuting the claims of WLC for his arguments for the resurrection of Christ specifically. But this also extends to all of his other arguments in defense of theism.

The first thing we have to ask ourselves is what exactly does WLC mean when he refers to the so called "witness of the Holy Spirit?" From my experience as an ex fundamentalist I can only say that he is referring to that wonderful tingly sensation that you feel in your body when you read an inspiring passage of scripture or feel that somehow through that scripture you have been given a revelation as to its  meaning. Christians refer to this as being led by the Spirit and it is usually applicable to every aspect of your life depending on how much of a fanatic you really are.

Immediately after I left the church and renounced my faith in the teachings of Christianity, I began to research possible explanations for the so called feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have come to the conclusion that it is actually a psycho emotional sensation that you get that is akin to being inspired or moved by an emotional scene in a movie. The same feeling can be attained through music and various other forms of the arts and especially when you contemplate the beauty of nature. It is that same feeling of awe you may feel as you look down into the Grand Canyon or are amazed at the beauty that is Niagara Falls. 

I then began to try and bring that feeling up through the process of meditation, and not surprisingly I was able to duplicate that emotion just by concentrating on feeling energy flowing through my body. Because of my martial arts background I am an adept at Daoist meditation and am able to even meditate in motion (for example in a sparring match). 

In the case of WLC and others who are convinced in the veracity of the Bible and its various tales it is no surprise that he would feel the way he does. But to compare the so called witness of the Holy Spirit to "beliefs based on arguments and evidence" is an insult to reason. In actuality a gut feeling or emotional response can never take precedence over actual objective evidence. 

These emotional sensations or responses to the so called truth of the Christian faith are nothing more than subjective evidence that is powered by the believers presuppositions of the truths he has chosen or been conditioned to believe in.

This demonstrates clearly that Craig's arguments are not based on facts at all but are rather based on faith. Even his evidence claims that he chooses to call facts are not fats but his belief that they are based on his own convictions. Outside of the bible there is no objective evidence to verify that Jesus existed, the he was executed under Pontius Pilate or that he rose from the dead.