Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The meaning of the resurrection of Christ

I have seen several atheists authors of both books and blogs state that the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ was not really a sacrifice at all since he came back from the dead. They state that after he allegedly rose from the dead that he went to his imaginary abode in the sky to live happily ever after in all power and glory. I want to state from the outset that I personally don’t believe that the story of the resurrection is an actual historical event. In fact, I don’t believe that Jesus Christ was actually an historical figure. It is my intention in this post to explain in the simplest way possible what was the intended meaning of the resurrection.

Anyone who has taken the time to read the various accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ can attest to the fact that the stories are full of holes and contradictions. But the intent behind the death and resurrection served several purposes. For this post I am going to let the apostle Paul clarify and make plain the actual reasoning behind this so called historical event. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this never happened and that if it was in fact a part of God’s plan then he is an idiot who didn’t quite think this plan through.

In the book of Romans 5:10 Paul explains that the death of Christ was necessary to reconcile man with God. And it ends by stating that through his life (resurrection) we are saved. “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more can we be sure that, being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” 

The book of Hebrews chapter nine explains the purpose of the death of Christ and its necessity for believers. Hebrews 9:22 states the following “In fact, according to the Law, practically every purification takes place by means of blood; and if there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission." Comparing the system of redemption with the old Mosaic law Paul or Peter explain how and why the death of Christ was necessary. The shedding of blood was a requirement under God’s law. Hey it’s his game and his rules no matter how stupid they are.

The shedding of blood and subsequent death of Christ was the inauguration of a new covenant with God where Jesus was the high priest on behalf of man. “It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was merely a model of the real one; he entered heaven itself, so that he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24) In case you were wondering, this new covenant replaced the old covenant and covered all of humanity from Adam to the present and all future generations. This is clearly stated in Hebrews 9:15 “This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a death has occurred to redeem the sins committed under an earlier covenant, those who have been called to an eternal inheritance may receive the promise.” By the way the "promise" is eternal life (salvation).

According to the scriptures the fall of man introduced sin and death into the world and the only way to eradicate the effects of sin was with a perfect sacrifice requiring death and the shedding of blood. Now the meaning behind the resurrection is as easily explained as the death of Christ. Basically, death is one of the consequences of sin; this applies to both physical as well as spiritual death. So technically through his death he conquered sin and all its effects which include death.
Let’s see what explanation Paul gives us in 1Corinthians 15:21-22 “ As it was by one man that death came, so through one man has come the resurrection of the dead. Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life;” Remember Adam represents death and Christ represents life so Paul states that as he rose from the dead so will all those believers also have the same hopes of life in some future state. Remember Paul stated in 1Corinthians 15:14 “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith.”
 The reason I wrote this article is to educate and inform some of my fellow atheists about the meaning of the resurrection. When you argue that the death of Christ was overshadowed by his resurrection and thus made his death pointless it just makes you appear ignorant about Christian doctrine. This argument is embarrassing for former believers who are now atheists like myself and who know what it is they are arguing against. If you have never been a believer then you should educate yourself on what it is you are debating, otherwise you are just embarrassing yourself.

Note: All quotes from the bible are taken from the New Jerusalem bible. An online version of the New Jerusalem bible can be found here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The doctrine of original sin

If there is one doctrine in all of Christianity that I despise most, it would have to be the doctrine of original sin. Ever since accepting atheism as true and rejecting the Christian faith as myth, I have been deeply disturbed by the idea that all of mankind is born with this imaginary disease called a sinful nature due to the disobedience of one couple that supposedly lived around 6 or 7,000 years ago. Although the texts of scripture that narrate this tale blame Eve for being the first to be tempted and leading to the temptation of Adam and subsequently the fall of man in general; in the end, Adam is entirely to blame. 

In a nutshell the doctrine of original sin basically states here that “St. Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us that by Adam’s sin all men were convicted and now Christ’s obedience and passion redeem all men.” So basically, we are all guilty by default of offending God aka as sinning. Jesus made this abundantly clear when he said in the book of Mark 10:18 “Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” This, my friends is the default position! The bible teaches that we are inherently evil through no personal fault of our own and that the only way that we can fix it is through accepting Jesus as our Lord (master) and savior. 

I personally do not believe that Adam and Eve were historical figures so the whole tale of the fall of man in my opinion is invalid as is the so called redemption of mankind brought on by the so called sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross. Basing myself on logic and reason alone it is easy to take this myth and tear it to shreds. For instance, would you think it fair to forever condemn, torment, and torture all Germans because of the actions of Hitler? If you answered no then you are correct, if you answered yes then in my view you are outright insane and illogical. If this is the case, then how is God any different? How can he condemn all of mankind for the sins of one?

Many try to argue that this is not what the bible teaches even though Paul also makes this point abundantly clear in Romans 5:18-19 “One man's offence brought condemnation on all humanity; and one man's good act has brought justification and life to all humanity. Just as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience are many to be made upright.” The chapter makes abundantly clear that the one man that is being referred to here is Adam for the fall and Christ for the redemption. 

This brings me to another point that I think is pertinent to this issue. Many modern Christian scholars and apologists have come to the conclusion that Adam and Eve and the story of the fall is in fact a parable and not meant to be taken literally. I actually agree with most scholars on this issue as well, but I have to ask that if this is the case then why doesn’t Paul state that? Instead, Paul uses it in a more historical context as if the events described in Genesis chapter three actually were understood by him as a literal and an historical event.

If you took the time to read Romans chapter 5 in its entirety you will see my point. Not once does Paul mention that the fall of man through Adam was a parable. I too believe that the authors of Genesis whoever they or he/she was meant for the story of Adam and Eve to be taken literally for the simple fact that if this was not the case then what was the purpose of giving Adam a genealogy? Chapter 5 for instance speaks of Adams life and death and how many years he supposedly lived and traces his genealogy through his son Seth. In my opinion that is a lot of unnecessary information if all of this was simply meant to be a parable.

One thing I have noticed about the bible is that everything bad that has ever befallen man on this earth is man’s fault. God, the so called creator takes no responsibility for his part in this fiasco. The free will defense exonerates God for being stupid enough to plant the tree of good and evil in the midst of the garden. Considering the fact that we allegedly had no concept of good and evil I find it hard to believe that we could be tempted at all to disobey God. We were “created in his image” which means we were pure and sinless. Yet we are able to be tempted into disobedience by a talking serpent that should not have been in the damn garden to begin with. Is it starting to become clear to you how stupid this tale actually is? I certainly hope so.

Christianity’s number one proselytizing tool is instilling into its hearers their imaginary necessity for God due through a debt that we have incurred through no fault of our own. It’s a nice scam that has to this date had quite a lot of success because of the gullibility of man in general. Culture, tradition, and superstitions have played a huge part in the spreading of this religious myth. But anyone who takes the time to put their irrational fears aside and read, study, and analyze this story meticulously cannot help but come out with the same conclusion as I and many others have. That the fall as described in the bible is a myth and thus did not happen, that if that is true then Jesus redemptive act is just as fictitious, and that the god as described in the bible does not exist.

Note: All cited biblical texts are from the New Jerusalem translation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where was God?

Throughout our history we have had to deal with tragedies and natural disasters that are so devastating as to boggle the mind. People die every minute of every day; and when it comes to death there is no discrimination. Children are born stillborn at times so some of them never even make it out of the womb.

I have stated in older posts that all of these occurrences are best explained naturally and as an inevitable byproduct of life. To ask why certain things related to death happen is in my opinion an unanswerable question and a futile endeavor. To ask why a senior citizen who had suffered from alzheimers disease dies at an undetermined time is a ridiculous question. To rationalize his/her death by inserting Gods need to have that person with him in some imaginary realm of existence just complicates matters beyond all reasoning. Sure, it may serve some comfort to those the deceased have left behind but the reality of the matter is much more obvious and mundane.

Life in and of itself convinces me beyond the shadow of a doubt that God does not and cannot exist! Reality is a testament against the existence of God and what many theists are led to believe about him based on the many sacred texts that claim divine inspiration. Instead of asking why when tragedy strikes why not ask where was God? If he loves us so much and wants nothing but the best for us then why does a pastor get shot down right on the pulpit during church service? Why were 914 people in 1978 so easily duped and deluded to the point of death by suicide as in the Jim Jones incident in Guyana?

From a naturalistic perspective it is easier to come to terms with the idea that life comes with the consequence of death. Every living organism that has ever walked, crawled, flew, burrowed, or existed in some other form on this earth has died. People age and decay or are suddenly taken from us when tragedy  strikes, but this is just the reality of the world we inhabit. Unforeseen events happen all of the time.

When you try and make sense of the world from a theistic perspective it leads to all sorts of irrational conclusions. Any sort of conclusion or excuse you can make in Gods' defense is at best ad hoc since based on your own admission no one can comprehend or fully understand the mind of God. To relegate natural disasters or man made atrocity to the realm of theology is a grave error that cannot be reconciled with reality.

God was not around during any of mans worse moments not because he doesn't care or because he may be punishing or trying mans faith, he was nowhere to be found because he does not exist. Attributing all of these things to mans sinful nature is yet another step into the realm of irrationality since a sin is nothing more than something that offends God, which I have determined is impossible since he does not exist. Richard Carrier in his book entitled Why I am not a Christian cites as one of his reasons in the title of chapter 3 that "God is inert." In other words he does nothing to alleviate human suffering.

The problem of evil has been one of the apologists greatest thorns in their sides since the debate about Gods existence began. If there exists a God such as described in the bible then why does he allow so much suffering in the world? Why does he sit by idly watching the many tragic and disastrous events unfold without doing anything to thwart them? Mans so called sinful nature does not account for tornadoes, monsoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, avalanches, etc. These are all natural occurrences that happen regardless of man. When these events are seen as natural then the question of why makes no sense at all.

God is to the theist what that security blanket was to Linus in the Charlie Brown series. Although the blanket had no special powers or abilities it gave good ole Linus a false sense of security and helped ease his worries. I know it is hard but theists need to see the world as it really is and stop making up or imagining things that aren't. We are here now and this is the only chance we will have at life so enjoy it to the fullest and make the most of it. Forget about pie in the sky pipe dreams of eternity and realize and acknowledge that those things are nothing more than bronze aged ancient myths not unique to Christianity.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The bible condemns wisdom

The Sage dictionary and thesaurus defines wisdom as such: “The trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.” For a thinking man such as myself, this seems like a reasonable way to come to conclusions as to what to believe and accept as truths. But as I will demonstrate shortly the bible condemns wisdom and even differentiates between what it calls the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that comes from God.

From a more realistic and mundane perspective it is sensible to analyze any and all decisions about matters of importance. For instance, if you were offered a business deal that required you to invest a sizable amount of money, there are only two ways you can go about it. The first way would be to take the one making the offer at his/her word without asking any questions or doing any research. In other words you are going into this hypothetical business venture on trust (faith). It is because of that trust that you are taking the greater risk and stand to become the victim of a scam and or lose out on a lot of money.

On the other hand, a sensible investor would like to learn everything he/she could know about the business venture so that he can make an informed decision about whether or not he should invest his money and what he stands to gain or lose by doing so. When it comes to the question of life and death and eternity and God I would personally like to know that what I commit to will be worth whatever I sacrifice. When it comes to the question of God I have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no evidence for his existence. Sin is in my mind an imaginary concept which has no basis in reality. We as a species have no debt to an imaginary being who seems offended by our very existence which the bible claims he created.

There are several traits that are required for one to be a believer; gullibility, submission, absolute obedience. The bible calls the nonbeliever a fool; “The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' Their deeds are corrupt and vile, not one of them does right.” (Psalm 14:1) In fact, the bible equates evil with the denial of God. So now you know where theists get these crazy ideas about us nonbelievers being immoral. In fact, it is immoral not to believe in the imaginary guy in the sky, and if you don’t live by his rules then in the eyes of a theist it is impossible for you to be a good man/woman. Good is defined by your belief in God and not by your deeds. 

Here is how a believer defines wisdom; “The first principle of wisdom is the fear of Yahweh, What God's holy ones know -- this is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) As you can see fear is the driving component of religious belief. It is the foundation from which one is controlled and duped into accepting and believing in the absurd. In reality, it is the opposite of fear that leads to knowledge. Fear paralyzes and hinders the seeking of knowledge and wisdom. Fear is what drives the old and new superstitions to prosper off of the gullibility of the fearful. 

The bible takes it a step further by distinguishing between the knowledge of the “world” and the knowledge that comes from God. “Where are the philosophers? Where are the experts? And where are the debaters of this age? Do you not see how God has shown up human wisdom as folly?” (1Corinthians 1:20) And finally the bible reminds us where human wisdom comes from.

"But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or selfish ambition, do not be boastful or hide the truth with lies; this is not the wisdom that comes from above, but earthly, human and devilish.” That’s right folks, human wisdom comes from the devil! (James 3:14,15) Note that in this passage all of those things that God condemns in man he is guilty of himself as outlined in the scriptures. God is jealous by his own admission Exodus 20:5, he is ambitiously selfish Genesis 20:3, he is boastful Exodus 20:3, and finally, he has hidden the truth with lies 2 Chronicles 18:21. 

Once again the bible has shown exactly what the word of the Lord teaches: the do as I say and not as I do gospel. The relationship of this imaginary God with man is akin to that of a negro slave and his master. God is superior and we are constantly reminded how useless and inferior we are, he is all knowing and wise and we are dumb as dog shit. If wisdom were truly based on a belief in God that comes from fear then I would rather pursue true wisdom that comes from learning and experience.

Note: All bible quotes come from the New Jerusalem Bible
You can obtain a Sage dictionary and thesaurus for your desktop at http://www.sequencepublishing.com/thesage.html

Friday, December 7, 2012

A bad experience with a church

The following is  a very personal experience I had in the latter period of 1989 when I was residing in Las Vegas Nevada. I was 20 years of age at the time and unfortunately going through a rough patch in my young adult life. In those days I shared a room with a friend who ended up getting jailed for rigging slot machines in the hotel where he worked as a slot mechanic for jackpots for himself and others he was in with. Because of this circumstance I was unable to continue to make rental payments on time so I ended up getting evicted and eventually I became homeless.

I was homeless for about three months and literally living in a broken down car that belonged to the brother of one of my best friends. I was too proud to beg so I got by by doing small jobs around the neighborhood. If I saw a yard that needed to be cleaned or a lawn that needed mowing I would knock on the door and offer my services. Aside from that I had friends in the neighborhood who would bring me sandwiches from time to time and so I wasn't that bad off. My friends mom let me bathe in her home and she helped me retrieve a copy of my birth certificate and social from New York State. This enabled me to apply for a Nevada state id and I was able to apply for work while I was homeless.

A few days before thanksgiving a local baptist church had posted signs all over town that there was going to be a free thanksgiving dinner and that all were invited to attend. In those days I rarely had a complete meal so I decided to go. I was a believer but not a practicing Christian at the time and in those days God was the furthest thing from my mind: I was in survival mode.

On that day I showed up at the appointed time to partake of the free meal that was being offered and not surprisingly I saw that there were many homeless men and women who also attended. To my surprise I found that in order to partake of this meal you had to sit through an entire service. So I figured it cant be that bad, I've been to church before. The church was practicing what they believed was a mandate of God based on two texts of scripture in particular.

Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.'  Matthew 28:19,20

4 But he replied, 'Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'  Matthew 4:4

Based on these two texts of scripture they came to the conclusion that they must not only nourish our bodies but that they must also nourish our spirits with the word of God. In the end the service lasted for about 2 in a half hours! Here I was in a room full of angry homeless people who had grumbling stomachs and who themselves were grumbling under their breaths awaiting the distribution of a meal.

Although I appreciated the meal that day, I thought that they went about this in the wrong way. First they should have fed the people then let them decide if they wanted to stay for a service. I am considering the fact that some of those that were present have not had a decent meal in days in some cases. Besides the choice to believe in and to follow Jesus is a personal choice and should not be bartered in exchange for a meal. Either way their ruse did not work because everyone ate and left without Christ lol.

Realistically speaking, when it comes to survival all the prayers in the world will not fill an empty stomach. You can read the bible for inspiration till you go blind but that is not going to put food on your table or pay the bills or the rent. We are solely responsible for our own well being. If you don't work then you don't eat and if you don't eat then you will die.

When I give someone a helping hand in the streets with a meal or a couple of bucks which I don't do very often since there are so many scammers out here in New York City,  I do so without expecting anything in return. I don't give them sermons about life or try to play the role of the counselor, I just feel good about myself when I can help someone else. What can I say I am a do gooder by nature: I am that guy that will help an old lady with her walker down a flight of stairs, or help a blind person cross the street. I am never in such a hurry that I can't take a moment to help someone out no matter how trivial the matter.

There is no God, there is only you and the rest of the world to help one another when we are called upon. One good deed does more than a thousand prayers for an individual; especially, when that good deed is done not for gain but out of the kindness of ones heart. Using charity events to proselytize in my opinion is just wrong.

Where I currently reside there is literally a church of one denomination or another on every other corner in either direction. If I feel that I need some false comfort and security one day, then I will turn to the church for their useless assistance. But when I feel that I need some real help such as a job and a means of getting back on my feet, I will seek out the aid of the local non-religious free community services and resources available.

I would like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from Frederick Douglas who was a former slave that managed to escape and obtain his freedom: "I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." In other words: he took action and ran for his life. If he would have waited on God he probably would have been just another slave to die and fade into obscurity like the many before and after him.

Note: All scripture quotations come from the New Jerusalem Bible