Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Sodom and Gomorrah


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

This story is an indictment of the entire book. It is a microcosm of all the things wrong with the Bible: The lack of concern for historical accuracy, the inverted moral structure whereby horrific things are better than other things which are really just a culturally conditioned prejudice, and a fabricated tale of judgment and destruction meant to make us afraid for our own lives lest we disobey the dictates of an invisible deity whose mind can only be known through the communications of ancient people long since dead.

Honestly you shouldn’t have to read any further. This tells you everything you need to know about the Bible. …

godlessindixie lots-wife

John Martin: The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 1852 painting


Paul as a Midrashic Creation


(Vridar) – Neil Godfrey:

The Book of Acts is written to tell several stories, one of which is the gradual replacement of the Jews by the gentiles as God’s people.

The author’s use of Saul as the precursor or first-life of Paul was chosen to advance this theme of Jews being gradually replaced by the gentiles.

Saul represented the first glory of the Jews, a majestic king and conqueror. But he failed to listen to God’s message through his prophet, Samuel, so was replaced by David. Before that replacement took effect Saul became a persecutor of David, and even killed the priests of Nob, both men and women (I Samuel 22).

According to Maurice Mergui‘s Paul à Patras: Une approche midrashique du paulinismePaul the persecutor as per Acts 8 was worked up from the life of Saul. …

vridar paul midrashic-creation

Maurice Mergui: Paul à Patras: Une approche midrashique du paulinisme

Adventures in the Bible Belt


(Patheos::Daylight Atheism) – James A. Haught:

For many years, I was my newspaper’s religion reporter and, believe me, I met some amazing denizens of Appalachia’s Bible Belt.

Consider Clarence “Tiz” Jones, the evangelist-burglar. He had been a state champion amateur boxer in his youth, but succumbed to booze and evil companions, and spent a hitch in prison. Then he was converted and became a popular Nazarene revivalist. He roved mountain communities, drawing big crowds, with many coming forward to be saved.

But police noticed a pattern: In towns where Jones preached, burglaries happened. …

daylightatheism adventures

Snake Handling

Christian Nationalism vs. Gun Control


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

Because Christian nationalists believe the Second Amendment is a sacred, God-given right, they won’t be convinced by gun control advocates’ appeals to public safety or by statistics about how the U.S. experiences more firearm-releated deaths than other high-income countries. For Christian nationalists, the gun violence epidemic is a spiritual crisis that requires spiritual solutions ― and returning America to its perceived Christian roots. …

tippling nationalistic christianity

Horsey: At the NRA Altar of America's True Religion

The Coming Secular Era


(Patheos::Daylight Atheism) – Adam Lee:

The apologists seem confused, and well they might be. There’s no single cause driving this, but a variety of factors: better education, superior secular alternatives to services that churches used to provide, anger at religious acceptance of bigotry and immorality. In short, the world is moving beyond religion, and that’s a change for atheists to celebrate. …

daylightatheism secular-era

Interior of Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore in Maastricht

Jesus Was Wrong About the End


(Cross Examined) – Bob Seidensticker:

Prophecies are a big deal in the Bible. For example, Matthew claims that Jesus’s virgin birth fulfilled a prophecy made in the book of Isaiah. (It didn’t, because there was no such prophecy in Isaiah.)

Showing that the Bible has an error is a pretty good argument against Christianity, but we have bigger fish to worry about. Jesus, the omniscient second person of the Trinity, predicted the end of the world in the lifetime of his audience. Two thousand years later, we can safely say that that prophecy failed. Jesus being wrong is a silver-bullet argument against Christianity. …

crossexamined about-the-end

Robert B. Seidensticker: Cross Examined

It’s Not Just a Phase, Mom!


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

Anyone with the nerve to “come out” as an atheist to religious friends and family knows how much it grates to be told:

“We all go through periods of doubt. It’s just a phase. You’ll come back around.” 

When you look up the word “patronize” in the dictionary, this comment should be one of the first examples they give.

But then again, Christianity has never been very good at respecting personal boundaries. …

I think it would help to consider the possibility that the person giving you the most grief about your departure from the faith does so because he or she is teetering on the edge of their own faith as well, whether they realize it or not. You’ve simply become the focal point for their struggle.

Would that make you more patient with them? If so, consider viewing them through that lens for a while. See if it helps. It certainly helps me. …

godlessindixie not-just-a-phase

I Read the Bible

Not Even Christians Take Their Religion Seriously


(Cross Examined) – Bob Seidensticker:

Christianity makes bold claims: that prayers are answered. That God protects his own. That Jesus heals disease. It’s one thing to blithely support these claims, as some Christians feel obliged to do, but it gets messy when those claims crash into real-world facts. …

crossexamined part-7

Jesus Struck by Lightning

Real Jesus Hiding in the NT?


(Debunking Christianity) – David Madison:

It’s standard practice for art dealers to provide documentation that the works they sell are the real thing; ideally there will be a paper trail showing ownership back to the original artist. At the end of movies there are several minutes of rolling credits, hundreds of names, of all the people who helped make the film. At the end of any biography, the reader can find the sources used, commonly hundreds of them: this is where the information comes from – and any curious researcher can find them as well.

A couple of hundred years ago, Bible scholars began to grapple with the inconvenient truth that the gospels – those iconic titles, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – have no such anchors: No documentation, credits at the end, or identified sources. They seem to position themselves as history, but what’s the evidence for that?

So, without the documentation, any list of credits or identified sources, just what are the gospels? Yes, they are theology, but what if the gospel of Mark – which all the others copied, referred to and modified – was never even intended as history? R. G. Price’s 2018 book, Deciphering the Gospels Proves Jesus Never Existed, presents the case for that. Price, a software engineer and data analyst, demonstrates his skills as a detective, looking behind the façade of the gospels to get at what really happened. His book is highly readable, and can help laypeople grasp why a real Jesus is subject to doubt. …

debunking real-jesus-hiding

R. G. Price: Deciphering the Gospels - Proves Jesus Never Existed

There Are No Atheists


(Debunking Christianity) – Franz Kiekeben:

Instead of answering atheists’ arguments, some believers just deny that there is such a thing as atheism. On their view, everyone knows that there is a God, and so-called atheists simply block out that fact because they don’t want there to be someone who makes moral demands on them. (As everyone knows, we atheists just want to be able to do whatever we feel like, morality be damned — which explains why we are always robbing banks and torturing puppies.) But what reasons are there for thinking this is the case? Several have been suggested. …

debunking no-atheists