Monday, August 19, 2013

The Gospel as propaganda

Propaganda

1capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions
2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect 
 
The above citation comes from the online Merriam Webster dictionary. I thought it would be important to define the word before I lay out my argument regarding Christianity as propaganda. For the purpose of this article we will not be utilizing the first definition given as it is irrelevant to this post. The second and third definitions on the other hand are very much alike and in fact get right to the point about the matter. 
 
It is my contention that Christianity is not based on facts but rather on carefully devised stories based on popular myths and superstitions of the time from which it arose. A careful reading of Christian literature specifically the gospels demonstrates clearly that this belief system is based entirely on propaganda. Christians work hard at disparaging society at large and the social order and offers in its place its very own beliefs and ideologies. 
 
 Christianity claims absolute truth and everything else is a lie and a deception.
 
One of Christianity's most popular citations is in reference to the so called truth of its doctrines and beliefs.  
 
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16
 
In this one verse there are several claims made without evidence. The first and most important claim is that God; specifically the god of the Jews, Yahweh exists. Next it says that Jesus Christ is his son, and finally it promises perdition or eternal life contingent on your believing all of the above mentioned statements on faith alone. One thing atheists fail to understand is that the Bible and belief are not based on evidence, but rather on faith. Faith is literally hoping that what you choose to  believe is the truth. In fact, often times God is said to have taken offense at anyone who dares question him and his authority. 
 
"Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'The potter has no hands'? Isaiah 45:9

 
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' Romans 9:20

The very preaching of the gospel is a form of propaganda that offers the members of society a choice not based on facts but rather based on faith. The gospel is preached and presented to a potential convert and after having heard it he/she has the choice to accept it or reject it. If you accept it you are promised an eternal life of bliss and joy, but if you reject it you are sure to be judged and possibly tormented eternally for your sins while living on the earth. Remember that sins are literally considered to be anything that God finds offensive although to date his existence has yet to be proven.

Christians like to lead you to believe that God gives us all a choice for good or evil, and that we have the free will to choose which way to go and to face the consequences of our choices. But the fact of the matter is that this choice is one that has no solid evidence to back it up and thus is not a viable choice at all. There is no evidence for the imaginary guy in the sky, nor the realms of heaven or hell, nor that Jesus if he existed was indeed the son of God or God incarnate. 

The reason that there are so many discrepancies in the scriptures and self contradictory texts is because it was written by so many different people with different beliefs and ideologies. In both the Old and the New Testament you can see as you read the individual books the variance in beliefs by its authors as compared to one another. Each book was a work unto itself until they were eventually combined and canonized by the church. It is also because of this that Christians are forced to cherry pick the Bible to promote their ideology.

Ideology :a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture 
 
There is absolutely nothing divine about the Bible. It is as I have often said a work that was written, edited, and produced by man. Gods themselves are the creation of the fertile imagination of man as the history of religions so ably demonstrate. Science has and continues to push back the ignorance caused by the many superstitions of mans ancient past. 
 
Contrary to what Christianity wants us to believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. As science has shown the more we learn about the world, the universe, and our origins, truth is often subjective. It is subject to evidence and that evidence itself is not absolute either. It too is subject to change due to the discovery of better evidence and observations.  

Christianity promotes Jesus as the one and only way to redemption with God and thus eternal salvation. 

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

The New Testament is full of this sort of propaganda, it is nothing more than mere self-advertisement. All religious movements tend to claim the same things. They all say that their system of belief is the way to  enlightenment, nirvana, one with the universe, one with some particular god or gods. What they don't tell you is that they are all obviously the inventions of men and nothing more. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures and all word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online which I have linked to in the appropriate places as needed. 

30 comments:

  1. A Christian once told me that the reason there are two genealogies for Christ is that one was for Hebrew converts and one for Greek converts -- which leads to the obvious question: if the gospel writers tailored that to specific audiences, how can any of it be accepted as fact or history?

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    1. I've heard a couple of excuses for this common discrepancy. Propaganda explains it best actually.

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  2. I've heard them say one is for Joseph, the other for Mary. But shouldn't the paternal just be God---->Jesus?

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    1. I've actually heard that same theory too Matt. That is just another pathetic apologists attempt to smooth out an obvious contradiction in the scriptures.

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  3. There are no contradictions within the line generations as written down in Matthew and Luke. Matthew just goes back to the time of Abraham whilst Luke goes a degree further, back to Adam. However, to go into this a little more, Matthew is also probably only tracing the main genealogy of Jesus’ line. Luke is much more expansive, by maybe taking note of unusual marriage considerations within the lineage. In any event, there is another different aspect separating the two accounts. Matthew is tracing the line from Joseph. The importance of Matthew highlighting the line of Joseph seems to have completely passed this post by, so for balance I will stress the scriptural explanations pertinent to this circumstance. The genealogy of Joseph includes one King Jeconiah, or Coniah, also known as Jehoiachin (Matthew 1:11). This king is key in the revelation of a curse documented in Jeremiah 22:24-30, which fundamentally meant that no physical descendant of Jeconiah could ever be a king. So if Jesus were the physical son of Joseph, He would have been ineligible for the role of Sovereign King right from birth but, as we know, Jesus was not the material son of Joseph. You can't just ignore all these details just to sate the appetite of bible mocking.
    Regards
    Terence

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    1. "So if Jesus were the physical son of Joseph, He would have been ineligible for the role of Sovereign King right from birth but, as we know, Jesus was not the material son of Joseph."

      So in order to make Jesus eligible we make up the story about the Holy Spirit impregnating Mary? Good strategy indeed. Thanks for commenting and sharing that information with us.

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  4. To declare the situation with Mary is a made up story means you are setting yourself up as a 'god' who is all knowing. The pregnancy of Mary involves a very delicate procedure. Virgin births for example have been known to happen so it is not unique. What is unique is Jesus. Where virgin births have occured the baby has always been female. A virgin birth of a male is absolutely impossible. And there are several other crucial factors involved with Mary, which stands up to scrutiny. I am not a 'god' either, so I cannot declare anything and I don't wish to be confrontational. I just feel this post needs balancing.

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    1. "To declare the situation with Mary is a made up story means you are setting yourself up as a 'god' who is all knowing."

      First of all I don't believe in gods of any kind so to think of myself as a god would be contradictory. Secondly there is no evidence for the existence of gods and this includes the blblical gods. Thirdly none of the witnesses to Jesus so called divine conception were there to write about it 35 to 40 years after his death.

      The entire life of Jesus is constructed from the Old Testament regarding their hopes for a future King and Messiah of which Jesus was neither. Many quotes attributed to Christ are taken from the O.T. out of context and put in his mouth as if they were spoken by him. These are all tell tale signs of myth making.

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    2. "Where virgin births have occured the baby has always been female. A virgin birth of a male is absolutely impossible."

      Despite the fact that I don't agree with your statement that virgin briths have been known to happen and are not so unique I also have a question about the quotation above.

      Suppose that for arguments sake virgin births were possible. What difference does it make if it is a male or female?

      Here's the process in baby talk

      At conception, gender is determined by chromosome characteristics - and it will be the male
      (or rather the male's sperm) that dictates whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.

      Prior to conception, the unfertilized egg carries an X chromosome while the sperm can carry either an X or a Y chromosome. The gender of the baby comes down to one simple event:

      If the sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, a girl will be conceived.

      If the sperm carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, a boy will be conceived. http://www.baby2see.com/gender/

      The only difference with the Mary myth is that her baby had some miracle sperm. Or God just skipped this step altogether and miraculously had inseminated Mary with a fertilized egg. Does this make sense to you? It doesn't because it's based on mythological thinking.

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    3. This subject is impossible to answer in such a short area as a blog. The problem with your post is the same as any post of mine; the whole thing is just glossed over. I understand your comment of course but it should be noted that if Mary had given birth to God, she would have been literally blown apart. So here is my humble opinion on how, if of course God & Jesus exist, things may have worked.

      You are correct about the chromosome characteristics of sperm, however there was no sperm involved here, as I am sure you know. Jesus had to be fully human so He did of course need human DNA. The term DNA may be pretty well known to us all, but there is also something that is called Mitochondrial DNA which is not so well publicised. We cannot live without any mitochondria, in which the Mitochondrial DNA is located. A newly forming baby exclusively inherits this Mitochondrial DNA from its mother. Although all fathers do have the MtDNA in their seed, it is normally always totally lost during the fertilisation of the egg. This is because it resides in the tail of the sperm, the part that is really only used for propulsion. The Conception must have been tweaked to allow for Mary’s MtDNA, so brushed with the Holiness of the Holy Spirit, to work alongside the key ingredients of the Commission of God. The resultant complete God – complete human ratio found in Jesus is something for geneticists to work out but a human baby was the only way to protect Mary. (It would have been simpler for God to have just turned up but no one can survive His Presence) So it has to be Jesus the Son of God and a human being. Can you be 100% of one thing and 100% of another? Yes. If you are female then you are 100% female, 100% human and 100% atoms. Jesus was 100% human plus 100% atoms and 100% God. Jesus had to be human at the same time as being 100% God so that He could be looked upon and approached. Any other combination, in my view, would have just made Jesus as a man with special powers or just an exceptional person.

      By the way, thank you for letting me express my views.

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    4. "The Conception must have been tweaked to allow for Mary’s MtDNA, so brushed with the Holiness of the Holy Spirit, to work alongside the key ingredients of the Commission of God."

      The only problem I have with this is that this is all speculation. Considering that all we have as evidence of the virgin birth ever happening as it did is the narratives in the gosples which in my opinion are not entirely reliable. None of the gospel writers were first hand accounts of what they narrate. Also, trying to make sense out of something that allegedly happened around 2BCE (a guesstimate) using modern day knowledge is ridiculous.

      "(It would have been simpler for God to have just turned up but no one can survive His Presence)"

      1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Genesis 18:1

      The Lord apeared to Abraham in human form along with two angels in Genesis 18 so if you are to take the Bible as the truth then this refutes your previous claim.

      But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Exodus 33:20

      I don't mind you expressing yourself here and having your say. In fact, I welcome it as long as the discussion remains civil and doesn't degrade to insults and name calling. I enjoy rational discussion so you are as welcome as anyone to join in.



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  5. "Virgin births for example have been known to happen so it is not unique"

    Bullshit.

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    1. I cannot find my notes on this at the moment but I did get the information from a science forum or maybe a skeptic site. It certainly was not from a Christian source!

      I agree it does sound false but the claims are out there..somewhere

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    2. Maybe in simple creatures, but not in humans. Unless a virgin is artificially inseminated - no sex so she's still technically a virgin.

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  6. No sperm no baby! I agree. All we have is a mythological tale told in the gospels regarding the so called birth of Jesus the Christ. As we know artificial insemination was not yet discovered. Back the as is evident in both the Old and New Testament's the belief was that all babies came directly from God. He is said to make women fertile and infertile at times throughout the scriptures.

    Having those beliefs a virgin birth is not that big of a stretch if you accept that nothing is impossible for God. But this would be a miracle and there is no way that miracles that allegedly happened so long ago can be verified.

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    1. Objections against the validity of the virgin birth are based mostly on preconceived notions - in the main, that the miraculous is impossible. There is no reason, other than pre-conceived bias, to reject it as historical; and to be fair, no reason other than faith to accept it as such. It simply depends on our starting point.

      It is interesting that we are often asked to believe in scientific miracles. Science of course does not use the word miracle but uses the word paradox. Examples are black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, time travel, after the Big Bang the Universe expanded billions of times faster than the speed of light, tachyons (which move faster than light but backwards), alternate universes, parallel universes etc etc etc, none of which have been seen or proven. But, because of science fiction and hollywood, all this stuff is portrayed as real.

      Just a thought

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    2. Those things have been observed directly or indirectly multiple times - though some aren't how you say. Not miracles, scientists have pretty good explanations - though it's difficult to comprehend. For the miracles in the Buybull we have... the Buybull. That's it.
      Science certainly doesn't believe time travel possible. The universe expanding faster than the SOL makes sense because it's only objects with mass that can't travel at the SOL or faster - space itself can expand faster. Wormholes are just a hypothesis for now. Tachyons don't move faster than light. Remember much of SF has little to do with actual science.

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    3. Stephen Hawking says time travel is possible (although not backwards in time).

      No one has seen a black hole, only an area in space that seems black that has a power to warp light. Who knows if it is a hole?

      With regard to tachyons, I only quoted scientist John Gribbin but maybe I have it wrong. As I said, scientists will not use the term miracle as it sounds to God-like, so the term paradox is used, which often means the same thing. Virtual particles that pop into existence from nowhere is something else that springs to mind.

      So biblical miracles are out but scientific miracles are in. Well, that's how it seems to me.

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  7. I thought that the early Universe was full of all the stuff required to sustain it, such as atoms, gases, quarks and all that. So am I right to think atoms dont have any mass (excuse my ignorance - just trying to get a handle on it)

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  8. A "balck hole" ISN'T actually a hole - it's an extremely dense, massive object - created when a large star collapses.

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  9. "Objections against the validity of the virgin birth are based mostly on preconceived notions - in the main, that the miraculous is impossible."

    Terence, when I was a believer miracles were a great part of my belief. The problem with miracles is that you can't confirm them you have to literally take them on faith which is basically believing without requiring evidence.

    I no longer believe in miracles nor can say I've seen one that I could not explain as naturally or psychologically. I have never seen an amputee grow a limb. A lot of the so called miracles we see in our charismatic churches today are due to psychosomatic disorders, mental illness, etc.

    To accept a miracle requires a negation of logic and reason. Why do you think that the Bible puts so much emphasis on faith? Because most of what it teaches cannot be confirmed empirically nor investigated objectively. You have to believe that the narratives of the Bible and its authors were truly inspired by God. I can't believe that anymore and feel that anyone who honestly reads the Bible from cover to cover will come away disgusted and appalled.

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    1. Like I said, faith is required. The difficulty in answering your points is that its a bit like trying to fit a thousand words onto a postcard, it can't be done. In its place, brief answers run the risk of being shot down.

      Nevertheless, the idea that anyone who reads the Bible in an honest fashion will come away disgusted and appalled is an error. For example I am almost certain that I have read Scripture in a different way than you have.

      To accept a miracle requires, more often than not, the same applied logic as you do when considering a paradox. If a scientist says something is a paradox, he is saying that it is a miracle. This is because a paradox is a thing that exists but at the same time also contradicts its existence and therefore cannot exist; but it does exist. However, as its existence is self-contradictory it therefore does not exist. If a paradox is observed, then it is by its own admission a miraculous image, which is either there or not there. When it is there it is a miracle, when it is not there it is a miracle, because it should be there! A miracle is something that is inexplicable by the laws of nature. A paradox is something inexplicable by the laws of nature. Science cannot accept the word ‘miracle’ because it is a word so strongly linked to God. However, the word ‘paradox’ is fine because it is not readily associated with anything supernatural. Have it in mind always, that if a scientist says something is a paradox he is saying it is a miracle that the thing exists at all. Anything that is paradoxical should not exist but it does.

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    2. On your first point there are only two ways to read the bible in my opinion. The first is with reverence and awe with your judgement clouded by faith. That is how I read it the first time around. The second way is without fear but in a more analytical and critical way. That is how I've read it the last three times.

      Of course there are the various ways you can interpret the scriptures such as literal, allegorical, metaphorical, etc. But the fact that it is so pliable and open to interpretation works against it being divinely inpired in my opinion. There are over 35,000 Christian organizations or sects worldwide! If you look at is as 35,000 individuals that didn't agree with thier chuches interpretation of the scriptures and decided to start their own sect then this number becomse more significant.

      On your second point regarding paradoxes and miracles there is one important factor that you mentioned in your description of a paradox that is significant.

      "If a paradox is observed, then it is by its own admission a miraculous image, which is either there or not there. When it is there it is a miracle, when it is not there it is a miracle, because it should be there!"

      The key word in this whole sentence is "observed." God has never been observed by anyone. The problem I have with faith is that faith is not a reliable means of discovery. This relates to what Thomas Paine said about personal revelations. Keep in mind that the Bible is supposed to be authored by men inspired by God and is thus based not on facts but on several authors claims to have had personal subjective experiences such as divine revelations, visions, and in some cases hearing the voice of God!

      "It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication- after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him." The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine

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  10. Why don't you now read it from God's Perspective. And from such a viewpoint comes the realisation that God (if He exists) is trying to deal with billions of children in His family. 35,000 differing Christian organisations in chicken feed. The other thing that will come to mind is that you realise how much God can't do!

    Thomas Paine had a view, which you can agree with or understand or refute. Just a man like you and I. He would have been influenced by his time and what happened to him in his personal life. I am sure that has been the case with yourself, with some significant happenings changing your view about a God. As with me too, things have happened in my life that have strengthened my view of a God.

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    1. I have read it from the perspective of a believer in awe of God's greatness. What I now call reading the scriptures while blinded by faith. But it was exactly this view that led me to lose all love and respect for the biblical god. He does not seem like a loving god but rather a moral monster. More on this later it's time for Ufc.

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    2. The quote I used by Thomas Paine is a statement of fact whether you accept it or not and applies to all times not just his. A person claiming to have had a revelation from God is the only one who has received that revelation. When he tells it to someone else and it is transmitter by that person it then becomes hearsay. It's only a revalation to the one who claims to have had it. It is up to the persons who hears it to believe him and accept it. But he is not obligated to accept it on his word.

      The entire New Testament is based on hearsay. None of the gospels were first hand accounts of the so called earthly life of Christ. There is nothing revealed in the Bible that is so extraordinary that it screams divine revelation. In fact, the opposite is true. It is the work of many authors and for the most part has been written long after the events they narrate.

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    3. I don't agree with what you say. The unfortunate thing is that I cannot really compete with your statement in an atheist arena. For example, if I said I had a revelation the first thing you would do is mock me.

      However, those that know me would trust me. This is what is missing, I believe, in your argument; the concept of trust.

      The term 'hearsay' is ambiguous. To say the entire New Testament is based on tittle-tattle is what is really extraordinary here. In fact I am at odds with your second paragraph over so many issues that your whole post seems false. Again though, as I have said previously, it is quite insufficient to oppose some viewpoints within the limited availablity of a blog.

      What is the point of deriding the Gospels as if they were written by idiots? So what if there were several authors? Written long after the events, have you studied the events they do write about?

      It is very easy to write vitriolic posts when you feel you have been completely misled over many years and you must feel very angry. Nevertheless, if you can be calm then a measure of balance in your posts would be for sure, more captivating. Copying large quantities of Scriptural passages down - for atheists to read - is possibly a useless blueprint; especially as most atheists have probably never read the Bible or have any idea of context.

      The points I raise are only my reserved opinions and I hope they are met with good grace. I also accept that you probably know the Bible much better than I do. That said, for me, sometimes, what you say does not add up.

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  11. "For example, if I said I had a revelation the first thing you would do is mock me."

    I wouldn't mock you. I just wont accept your "revelation" as a fact. It is not valid evidence because it is not something that can be tested and empirically verified. If I could honestly kneel down and pray for the same revelation and have God confirm it to me then I would give it more ocnsideration. it's only a revelation to you.

    "Written long after the events, have you studied the events they do write about?"

    Actually I have and have discovered that outside of the gospels Jesus is practically nonexistent.

    "It is very easy to write vitriolic posts when you feel you have been completely misled over many years and you must feel very angry."

    Why do you make this assumption? I was over being angry years ago. I am simply pointing out the many errors in fact and contradictions in the scriptures.

    "especially as most atheists have probably never read the Bible or have any idea of context."

    Yet another bad assumption! You'll be surprised how many atheists know more about the Bible than theists.It was actually the reading of the Bible in its entirety that drew me away from a belief in its divine origin and towards atheism.

    "What is the point of deriding the Gospels as if they were written by idiots? So what if there were several authors?"

    I never said the Gospels were written by idiots. But this contention is in my view irrelevant. It's the facts that matter and when it comes to the stories in the Gospels about Christ the facts contradict the claims.

    "sometimes, what you say does not add up."

    Feel free to call me on it and I will gladly clarify myself as best as possible.








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    1. There is more proof of Jesus than anyone else from ancient times. Even 'Wikipedia' who's neutrality on the subject is disputed says "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed".

      I may take you up on that offer of direct contact, We are in different time zones, which may be difficult. I will try and e-mail during the week.

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    2. "There is more proof of Jesus than anyone else from ancient times."

      I hear this all the time but I have yet to see any. Also, what wikipedia forgets to mention is that most of those scholars are Christian apologists. It is an undeniable fact that during the alleged lifetime of Jesus not a single solitary historian of the time wrote one word about him. Outside of the gospels and Christian literature the secular evidence is scant and dubious at best.

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